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Blues through in shoot-out

Blues joint manager Steve Smith had praise for his makeshift side as they reached the Velocity Trophy semi-final with a 4-1 win at Mertsham, on Wednesday.

Smith’s side were without Luke Callander, Nick Brown, Ben Sampayo and Ryan Henshaw who were all cup-tied, while top scorer Jamie Cureton was unavailable.

With Callum Kitscha having been released, Smith drafted in goalkeeper Arthur Janata who joins on work experience from Leyton Orient and also added Ben Worman a winger from Cambridge United on youth loan.

“I was very proud of all the lads last night, Arthur and Ben both did really well having been signed at 2.30 yesterday afternoon

“I thought they had a lot of the ball without really hurting us we kept good shape but they scored from a set piece but second half we changed it due to Hainsey [Mark Haines) getting a dead leg putting Alex [Warman] in the middle and brought Haaroon [Belaid] on down the left and we got ourselves back in the game and got deserved equaliser and finished the 90 minutes the better side.

“The penalty shoot out went the right way for us with young Arthur pulling off two great saves .

“We’ve now got a semi-final to look forward to but first we have got a big game on Saturday against Tonbridge Angels and then Watford at home Tuesday night in the last eight of the Herts Senior Cup, so the games are coming quick and fast.

“Thanks for your support and hope to see you all on Saturday and get behind the boys.”

Blues fell behind in the 36th minute when Ollie Cook scored, but Belaid levelled 14 minutes onto the second half, before the visitors continued their remarkable run in the competition in the shoot-out.

Hector Kyprianou, Isaac Nkosi and substiture Lewis Bryne-Hewitt all converted from the spot for Blues, with Olly Miles missing, but a pair of saves from debutant Janata sent Stortford through without the need for a fifth spot-kick.

Blues: A Janata, J Renee, C Gregan, M Haines (H Belaid 46), I Nkosi, S Robbins, B Worman, J Thomas (L Bryne-Hewitt 79), O Miles, H Kyprianou, A Warman. Unused sub: A Mason.