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Wellington Colts seal 1-0 HFA Junior Cup win over Fownhope Reserves
Fownhope Reserves 0 Wellington Colts 1
GOALKEEPER Rob Wilson says Wellington Colts must stay on the spirits to taste end-of-season champagne in the HFA Junior Cup.
The 30-year-old produced one of his best displays to single-handedly guide Wellington into the semi-finals of the competition.
Wilson superbly tipped over a volley on the stroke of half time and dived to keep out second-half strikes from Eden Ransome and Dan James.
And Wilson revealed afterwards that he - along with a host of other Wellington players - had celebrated their assistant manager's 30th birthday into the early hours of Saturday morning.
"None of us were feeling too great because it was our assistant manager, Andrew Martin's 30th birthday last night and we all had a bit of a drink in Saxtys," said Wilson.
"We were a bit worse for wear this morning, so we did well to go through. A lot of us were drinking until the early hours but perhaps it might have helped us.
"It was tough out there - but we ground it out. It would be good to reach a final. It would only be my third final in all the years I have been playing."
The HFA Junior Cup quarter-final tie at Fownhope was the sole football fixture last Saturday in Herefordshire which survived the wet weather.
Wellington's Nick Britton scored the decisive goal after eight minutes when he finished off an excellent through-ball from Jamie Quinlan.
But lower-graded Fownhope Reserves created a host of chances on a slippery surface and should have pulled off a cup upset.
Man-of-the-match Wilson, a former Civil Service player, made a host of superb saves, while Fownhope's James cracked a shot against the bar in the fourth minute and referee Tom Jones denied Eden Ransome a clear-cut penalty in the closing stages.
The unfortunate Eden Ransome was booked for diving after he rode two clumsy challenges in the area and was then felled by a third foul.
The two club chairmen - Wellington's Phil Smith and Fownhope's Roy Ovel - certainly felt a spot-kick should have been awarded.
Goalkeeper Wilson admitted: "It was a clear penalty and even our right-back, who made the foul, said it was a penalty. I feel sorry for the Fownhope player because he got booked for diving."
James and Rob Read headed first-half chances wide for Fownhope, while Craig Forsyth was denied by the reflexes of Wilson, who starred after the break.
James was sent clear by Marlon Ransome in the 51st minute but the striker rushed his shot and pulled it wide of a post.
For Wellington, Nick Price was foiled in the first half by goalkeeper Neil Marshall and Sam Bowcott - a third generation player for the club - prodded wide in the 72nd minute.
The win should lift Wellington, who reached the semi-finals last season but are second bottom in Herefordshire League Division One.
Wellington boss Richard Palmer said: "It was sloppy and I don't know how we won that game. Fownhope have got a great, young side and we appreciate playing good opposition and they were superb.
"We sat back for the whole game and we had to cope with wave after wave of attacks.
"But Rob Wilson made some fantastic saves and it was him who won the game."
Wellington travel to bottom of the table Kingstone Rovers this Saturday.
Palmer said: "As much as it's nice to be in a cup semi-final, I would preferred it to have been three points in a league match. Hopefully, we can now kick on and climb the table."
Fownhope Reserves boss Chris Bounds said: "If we had got one goal, I think we would have gone on to win.
"We didn't take our chances but I was very pleased with the work-rate.
"As soon as we lost the ball, we were back in battling to get it back.
"Wellington's goalkeeper kept them in the game."
"Dan James our top scorer this season but he's had one of those days when it didn't go for him.
"He was through on goal in the second half and would normally have buried it. He also hit the crossbar."