Academy Under-18s Manager Pete Haynes praised a patient performance from his young Robins as they overcame a stubborn Welling United side 2-0 in the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup on Thursday night.
The Robins had swept aside AFC Totton 9-0 in the opening round of the competition, but found a hard-working Welling outif ta more difficult opposition and were taken to extra time in an entertaining clash at the LCI Rail Stadium.
But goals from Will Dawes and Ben Hailwood in the 106th and 118th minute respectively helped finally set up a Third Round home tie with either Wigan Athletic or Bury.
“I’m delighted for the players to get to the Third Round,” said Haynes, Lead Professional Development Phase Coach in the Academy set-up.
“They worked extremely hard, battled and kept patient. We are really happy that they were able to show that strength against adversity.
“Welling defended really well with a deep five and block so we had to be patient to break them down. We’re chuffed we could do it – it’s a shame it wasn’t in 90 minutes, but we will take the extra time win.
“The first 20 minutes we started the way we wanted to. But after a break in play it took us time to try and get back that rhythm and tempo. We had to stay patient and stay strong.”
Captain Lee Llewelyn also praised a battling display from the Robins and admitted the players had enjoyed playing at the LCI Rail Stadium.
“They sat back at times and made it difficult for us," he said. "The first ten minutes we played good football and they didn’t really adjust to how we were playing. But after that it became harder as they sat back.
“We were told to stay patient by Pete at half-time and the goal finally came in extra time. Words can’t describe how much I was buzzing when Will (Dawes) scored.
“My whole family was here to watch and lots of other fans too. It was great playing under the lights on a good pitch, we all loved the experience.”