Welch injury dampens St Albans City’s cup progress

Luke Allen has a shot from the edge of the penalty area. Picture: Leigh Page

Luke Allen has a shot from the edge of the penalty area. Picture: Leigh Page - Credit: Archant

An injury to goalkeeper Joe Welch marred a 2-1 victory for St Albans City over Ware in the Herts Charity Cup.

Welch was substituted in the 79th minute after clashing with Nana Asamoah and had to receive treatment on the pitch. Tom Coulton replaced Welch for the remainder of the game.

“He took a knee to the face,” said joint manager James Gray after the game.

“He felt a bit groggy afterwards and he’ll probably have a bruise on his cheek but he should be fine for Saturday.”

It’s very good news for City who needed last season’s player of the year to be at his best against a Ware side that posed more problems than expected.

Marut Karagul put Ware in front in the 18th minute with a similar tap in but from there on out, Welch covered his area and beyond superbly. In truth, he had little in the way of goalbound shots to save but he was quick to cut out crosses, both on the ground and in the air, and off his line.

Kieran Bishop and Rod Young, both of whom were on trial at Clarence Park this summer, had their chances to beat Welch but neither had much in the way on end product, justifying the club’s decision not to sign them.

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The first half was fairly non-descript from the Saints until the equaliser in the 34th minute. Theophanous made a run towards the near post and glanced a Lee Chappell corner towards goal. Jack Smith, the Ware goalkeeper, couldn’t hold it and Allen followed up to level the game.

Theophanous did eventually get his goal, in the 54th minute, and he took it very well. Jack Green whipped in a cross from the right and Theophanous, in acres of space, picked his spot and headed past Smith.

Ware enjoyed a dominant 10 minutes after the hour mark, with Bishop and Young getting in behind the full-backs but each time their crosses were too close to Welch.

City finally found their calm, passing game with 20 minutes to go. It cost at least two chances as they opted for a slow approach rather than a swift counter, but they looked a lot more comfortable on the ball, albeit sporadically.

Welch’s substitution in the 79th minute was the last talking point of the game as St Albans saw out the 2-1 win and booked their place in the semi-final.


St Albans City: Joe Welch, John Kyriacou, Lee Chappell, Kayode Bola, David Longe-King, Scott Thomas, Luke Allen, Jack Green, Louie Theophanous, Billy Medlock, Lewis Hilliard. Subs: Darren Locke, Sam Corcoran, Simon Thomas, Tom Coulton.

Ware: Jack Smith, Paul Cooper, Alaa Qudi, Danny Charles, Ben Crilly, Jack Fowler, Rod Young, Nana Asamoah, Kieran Bishop, Anthony Thomas, Murat Karagul. Subs: Marco Tuzzeo, Jez Johnson, James Manlove, Victor Osobu, Charles Yexley