Welling United’s U18s battled their way to victory in the FA Youth Cup preliminary round on Thursday evening, beating K Sports 3-1 at Cobdown Stadium.
The young Wings put on an impressive, dominant display, but were made to fight for their place in the next round with the home side defending astutely throughout.
Indeed, Welling found themselves a goal behind early in the second half, but goals from Kamau Henry, Deandre Williams and David Kamara eventually saw them through.
The young Wings made a bright start to proceedings on a rainy evening in Kent, coming close to an opener with just 20 seconds on the clock when Stephen Ogunrinde headed narrowly over.
Welling enjoyed all the possession as they patiently looked to break down their hosts in the first half. A number of half-chances came and went before Semilore Abodunrin drew an outstanding point-blank save from the K Sports stopper with a header on the hour mark from a raking cross-field pass into the box.
The visitors continued to apply pressure, but could not find a breakthrough ahead of the half-time whistle and despite the Wings’ dominance, it was K Sports who took a surprise lead shortly after the restart when a looping volley found its way over Sonny Penney to spark wild scenes of celebration for the home side.
Undeterred, Welling reacted in perfect fashion, bagging an equaliser less than a minute after going behind. With the ball falling kindly to Henry in the box, the defender made no mistake in rifling home from close range.
With that, the young Wings continued their onslaught, but once again found themselves up against a resilient home defence, while the K Sports custodian pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the men in red out.
Then, in the 68th minute, an incredible goal-mouth scramble saw the hosts somehow keep the ball out of the net with skipper Donald Macaulay unable to turn the ball in on the line, before the ‘keeper punched the danger clear.
With eight minutes remaining, Welling finally got their breakthrough to go in front. Substitute Griffin let fly from distance and his shot took a wicked deflection which the keeper was equal to, but Williams was on hand to turn in the rebound.
That goal brought relief and eased the pressure, leading the Wings to grab a third just two minutes later from the penalty spot. Williams was involved again, this time being felled in the box, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Kamara stepped up and made no mistake, sending the keeper the wrong way to safely see his side into the next round of the competition.
Welling U18s: Penney, Williams, Abodunrin (Morgan 77), Church, Henry, Macauley, Maloney, Ellington (Griffin 46), Ogunrinde (Godziemski 46), Ward, Kamara.
Subs (not used): Smith, Gumbrell, King.
Goals: Henry 53, Williams 82, Kamara 84 (pen)