It took extra-time, but Cheltenham Town’s under-eighteens progressed to the third round of the FA Youth Cup after dispatching Welling United at the LCI Rail Stadium.
Will Dawes tapped home during the opening stages of extra-time, before impressive substitute Ben Hailwood scored a wonderful second to seal Cheltenham’s place in the third round.
The Robins will now face either Wigan or Bury at home following the outcome of their game.
Highly regarded forward George Lloyd came close early on for the Robins after he chested a brilliant long-ball down from Grant Horton, but Welling goalkeeper Diumannis Gossemna pulled off a brilliant one-handed save to deny him.
Welling were penned back in their own half for much of the first-half, and Lloyd continued to cause problems for the Welling defence when he beat the offside trap before hitting the side-netting.
Welling’s lack of communication at the back allowed Lloyd in yet again and Gossemna thwarting the striker proved to be the keeper’s final act of the night, as he was stretchered off following a collision with one of his own defenders.
Despite half-an-hour of pressure from the home side, the visitors started to make their mark on the game when forward Ethan Grant drove an effort across goal, but Clayton collects comfortably.
It was Welling who ended the half the stronger and came closest to breaking the deadlock when Ethan Brown’s shot from the edge of the box had Lewis Clayton looking relieved in the Town goal, as his shot flew just past the post.
The action-packed first-half was anything but relatable to the second, as chances were few and far between for either side.
However, the away side were the ones quick out of the blocks and it was the visitors who came close to scoring again.
Following some good build up play between strike partners Ethan Brown and Ollie Milton, the latter cleverly deceived Cheltenham’s centre-backs before effort glanced inches wide of the left post.
Will Dawes and substitute Finley Clift’s failed attempts proved to be the last meaningful acts of normal time, but both were vital in winning the match for Cheltenham in added time.
Clift did well to head across to Lloyd in the six-yard-box and his deflected effort ran through for Dawes who had the luxury of tapping into an empty net sixteen minutes into extra-time.
Another substitute, Ben Hailwood, came close to capping off an impressive display, but despite being left unmarked in the area with the goal at his mercy, he shot straight at Brown.
He made amends however by consolidating the win for the Robins with two minutes remaining, when his beautifully placed shot nestled into the top corner past the stranded Brown to send Cheltenham through to the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
Cheltenham Town: Clayton; Handley, Horton, Hunt, Davis, Llewelyn(C), Brennan, Duncan, Price, Dawes, Lloyd. Subs: Beardsell, Grimshaw, Hailwood, Scott, Clift.
Welling United: Gosssemna; French, Raines, Hughes, Edwards, Fullbrook, Hart, Hever, Milton, Grant, Sobeh. Subs: Mampono, Brown, Ohene, Newman, Belcher.