Royston Town edge county cup tie in seven-goal thriller with valiant Welwyn Garden City

Jordan Watson scored one of Welwyn Garden City's three goals in the Herts Senior Cup loss to Royston Town.

Jordan Watson scored one of Welwyn Garden City's three goals in the Herts Senior Cup loss to Royston Town. - Credit: PETER SHORT

Welwyn Garden Cup lost their second cup match of the season to Royston Town but produced a valiant effort in a seven goal thriller.

Just a month earlier, the Crows had won the Southern League Cup tie 1-0 and there was just one goal between the two sides this time but a whole lot more goals, Royston snatching the win late on 4-3.

Nick Ironton's side had to play 65 minutes with just 10 men, Jack Vasey sent off for use of an elbow, but they came within an ace of forcing a penalty shoot-out.

The score was tied at 1-1 when the striker received his marching orders and had already lost new signing Will Murphy to a hamstring pull as well as starting without the services of Jesse Walklin, Jon Sexton, Lee Close and Jordan Kinoshi.

Royston were ahead in six minutes, Matt Bateman’s shot parried by keeper Charlie Crowley but not held, and  top scorer Brandon Adams pocketed the rebound.

George Ironton had a fine effort just wide of the post and Royston responded with another Bateman effort suffering the same fate.

City were level on 22 minutes, Carl Mensah netting his third goal in two games, with a powerful, flicked header into the far corner from an Ironton corner.

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Three minutes later they were down to 10 men and 10 minutes after that, were 2-1 down, Scott Bridges finishing off a slick move with a shot past Crowley from close in.

But the Citizens wouldn’t be cowed and four minutes from the break got on terms a second time, Ironton feeding Jordon Watson, who escaped several Royston challenges to drive in a low shot into the far corner.

Elliot Bailey replaced Ironton just before the hour and on 68 minutes Royston were awarded a penalty for Jay Rolfe’s challenge on home substitute Makai Murray.

Charlie Crowley pulled off a sensational save, actually catching Adams’ effort.

But it was a short reprieve. A minute later Crowley pulled off another fine save to turn away Bateman’s spectacular hooked volley but before WGC could regroup, Adams cut in from the left, to drive an effort between Crowley and defender Ryan Doherty on the line to restore the Royston lead.

Still WGC weren’t finished. Matty Campbell-Mhlope replaced Greg Adinna and with 12 minutes left, the Citizens were on terms for a third time with a second Mensah goal – now up to four in two games.

This time Doherty got the header from an excellent Dave Keenleyside corner. Royston blocked it in front of goal, but Mensah was first to it, to crash the loose ball home.

But it was last laugh to Royston. They escaped down the left, put over a inch-perfect cross and ex-Stevenage defensive legend Ronnie Henry, now plying his trade with the Crows, rose unmarked to head home the decisive goal in seven and win the tie.