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Welwyn Garden City 1 Blues 2

chris dfgfgdA much-changed Stortford side progressed to the Herts Senior Cup second round with a hard-fought win against the Citizens at the B.P.Mitchell Stadium.
The direct style of play of the hosts had the Blues under pressure at times during the contest but a goal eighteen minutes from the end of normal time by substitute Ryan Charles proved to be the winner and they now face Baldock Town at home in the second round towards the end of next month.
Regular starters Sam Robbins, Ryan Charles and Jack Thomas were on the bench while Alfie Mason played for at Barnet in the FA Youth Cup tie at Barnet scoring Blues’ only goal in a 3-1 defeat. The roles were reversed as far as Marcus Crowther was concerned as the young central defender played at Welwyn having played in all the previous FA Youth Cup ties. Joint boss Jamie Cureton rested himself with 16 year-old Olly Miles, who had created a favourable impression when coming on as a late substitute at Merstham the previous Saturday, starting the tie partnered up front by Ike Nzuruba, who played in a couple of the Blues pre-season friendlies and more recently appeared for Evo Stik club Barton Rovers. Jordan Wescott was the Stortford skipper on the night.
The hosts, who play in the Evo-Stik Southern Division One Central, included Stuart Zanone a striker who is dual registered with Stortford’s next-door neighbours Takeley.
The hard working Citizens were on the front-foot from the off and causing a few problems. Nick Elliott shot into the side-netting in the eighth minute whilst Blues stopper, Patrick Ohman,  produced a good save from Josh Bronti and then an excellent block midway through the half when Jon Clements was through on goal.
There was an escape for the Blues in the 33rd minute as following a cross from Bronti, Zanone hit the bar and shortly afterwards the same player was just wide with a free-kick. Elliott then found the net but was ruled offside.
Stortford had put together several useful attacks in the first half without creating any clear chances and it was against the run of play that they took the lead in the first minute of added time. In a move up the left flank between Sam Baffour and  Wescott the ball broke to Chris Gregan who fired a 25 yarder at goal. The ball bounced wickedly in front of keeper Dan Green and flew high into the net off the stopper for Gregan’s first Stortford goal
Clements had a chance for City early on after the restart but lobbed the ball weakly straight at Ohman. The Blues were more of a power in the midfield but Ohman excelled again in the 64th minute when he dived to keep out a shot from Elliott at the foot of his left-hand upright. However, a minute later, the hosts equalised.  A cross on the left from Jon Clements eventually fell to the far side where Zanone gained possession and drove into the net via the far post.
Within seven minutes Stortford netted the winner. An excellent move finished with Miles slipping the ball out to the right for Dan Humphreys to cross low across the six yard box and Charles  to net from close range
Before the final whistle although Clements was close with a shot over the bar from distance it was Stortford who could have scored more goals. Charles, Wescott, substitute Haaroon Belaid and Nzuruba were all close to adding to the tally.
STORTFORD: Patrick Ohman; Dan Humphreys; Chris Gregan; Jordan Wescott; Marcus Crowther; Isaac Nkosi; Sam Baffour (Ryan Charles 58); Johnville Renee (Jack Thomas 82); Olly Miles (Haaroon Belaid 78); Ike Nzuruba; Lewis Byrne-Hewitt.
Unused substitutes: Sam Robbins and Caleb Afoke.
WELWYN GARDEN CITY: Dan Green; Jay Rolfe; Jonny Sexton (Ashley Kersey 75); Ben Spaul; Lee Close (Josh Holmes 46); Dave Corran; Josh Bronti; Billy Bishop-Hodgkins (Sean Brettell 60); Stuart Zanone; Nick Elliott; Jon Clements.
Unused substitutes: Sam Willis and Tony Williams
Referee: Stephen Bates
Attendance: 114