Welwyn youngsters bow out of county league's cup in thrilling finale against Ware Sports
- Credit: KARYN HADDON
Welwyn Garden City's hopes of reaching the last four of the Herts Senior County League Premier Division Cup were ended in a thrilling clash at home to Ware Sports.
The two teams both entered the final group game of the competition with six points and knew that a win would guarantee them passage to the semi-final.
Welwyn's U23 side had the advantage of knowing a draw would also suffice, they having the better goal difference, but despite drawing level with 12 minutes to go, a winner with seven minutes remaining proved decisive and gave Ware the 3-2 success.
It was a match that was lit up by the quality of all five goals.
The visitors had started the stronger and brighter so it was against the run of play that Harrison Cage picked up a square pass 20 yards out and hit a cross-shot that foxed Ware keeper Salmon and found the corner.
The visitors responded immediately and Welwyn were indebted to central defender Ashley Rex for hacking the ball off the line as Rick Brown burst down the middle.
Charlie Payne brought a fine parry from Salmon after a powerful shot but Ware were soon level, Billy Skinner thumping the ball into the far corner.
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It remained that way until the second half, Rex wasting WGC's best chance by volleying a Cage free-kick over the bar.
It took a while for the final goals to come with frequent misplaced passes and some reckless tackles.
Welwyn keeper Aaron Bull pulled off an outstanding point-blank save to keep out a close-range Skinner header and at the other end Taysu Hussein volleyed past a post.
Sports took the lead on 64 minutes when a free-kick was whipped in low and Mason Ellis stuck out a leg to divert it into the opposite side of the net.
But Welwyn clawed their way back into pole position 14 minutes later.
Joe Bennett cleverly slipped a challenge to deliver a pinpoint cross that was nodded home by substitute Charlie Jones and they just needed to hang on for the remaining time.
But the winner was a beauty, Ellis split the WGC defence with a ball through to the dangerous Connor Bancans through and from 30 yards he hit an unstoppable effort that gave Bull no chance and sent Sports in the next stage.