Extra time drama ends Dons' FA Youth Cup run
Milton Keynes Dons under 18s were bundled out of the FA Youth Cup tonight by Ware following an eventful period of extra time.
Despite having more of the play and clearer chances during the regular 90 minutes, Dons were hit by a straight red card and two goals in the first period of extra time by the Hertfordshire side.
Dons under-18s dominated the first half starting brightly and they created the first chance when a shot from Josh Bailey from 25 yards out was parried away for a corner in the 14th minute.
Four minutes later Dons created another opening when a through ball into Jamie Robinson saw his first-time shot go just wide of the near post.
Ware gradually settled into the game at Stadium MK and had the clearest opening just before the 20 minute mark as a free-kick was headed over from around 12 yards out.
The half's big talking point came in the 25th minute when Ware keeper Daniel Weaver was booked for wiping out a Dons number nine James Holmes on the edge of the box when he appeared through on goal.
Chances continued to come Dons' way with Rio Deall's near-post header from captain Finn Brennan's cross forcing the Ware keeper into a save just before the half-hour mark.
Five minutes before the break a set-piece gave Dons another opportunity as after an initial free-kick hit the wall, the rebound came to John Freeman whose dipping first time half volley from the edge of the area went just wide of the right post.
Dons also had the last chance of the half when Robinson hit a first time shot from 25 yards out, but it proved a comfortable save for the keeper.
Early in the second half, the side from the Eastern Junior Alliance League created an opening when a ball across from the right by Sam Hicks was pushed away from in front of goal by Dons keeper Tom Carter.
A minute later Deall's close range header went just wide of the right-hand post after a cross from the left from Dons sub Malaki Black.
Another chance came Dons' way with ten minutes to go as Deall's looping header was fumbled and then regathered by the Ware keeper.
Dons continued to press for a winner in the late stages as the game became increasingly stretched and it almost came their way when a through ball found Robinson whose right-footed shot from just inside the box was saved by the keeper.
In front of 400 fans the match went to extra time on an increasingly chilly night and within five minutes of the start of the additional period, Dons were reduced to ten men.
Deall was given a straight red card for reacting by pushing an opponent in the chest following a foul tackle by a Ware player.
The visitors posed an increasing threat with the extra man and sub Joe Abe hit a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Moments later the side from Hertfordshire took the lead when from the edge of the area Abe lobbed Carter to give the visitors the advantage, sparking wild celebrations from Ware supporters, players and coaching staff.
Ahead of the midway point of extra time, a Ware free-kick was headed towards goal from close range by the visitors' captain Alfie Campbell.
The ball hit the post and despite Carter's best efforts the ball rolled agonisingly over the line to put the game out of Dons' reach.
After Dons had a penalty appeal for what appeared a clear handball waved away, the visitors broke up the other end and almost put the game to bed however Carter saved from a one-on-one situation.
The under-18s return to league action at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning when they play Gillingham in the Youth Alliance League (11am ko).