WELWYN GC might have earned themselves a Herts Senior Cup home tie with Premier League Watford in early January, as a result of this outstanding recovery performance at Ware in the competition’s second round.
The Citizens put all the heartbreak and tribulations of their FA Vase exit at the hands of Biggleswade FC three days before, behind them, as they totalled dominated Ware from a league above them, to make the last eight of the county’s premier competition.
There they will meet Southern League Premier side Kings Langley or Premier giants Watford, who meet in their second round tie next week.
Ware, struggling in the bottom four of the Bostik (Isthmian) League North, a division that WGC aspire to if they can win promotion from the SSML, were totally outgunned and overpowered by a display from a Clarets team that made five major changes from their Vase defeat.
Manager Adam Fisher rested a quartet of first choice players for this tie, leaving out skipper Danny Payne, Yasin Boodhoo and John McGrandles from central defence and Ben Spaul from midfield. He also had Josh Bronti (hamstring), sidelined injured, while Jon Clements and Jay Rolfe were on the bench.
On the plus side, Jon Sexton had his first outing in over two months after a ligament injury, Carl Mensah, his first-team return after almost two years plagured by injury and Reggie Ross was drafted in as makeshift right-back. All did particularly well in a fine team performance.
WGC began on the front foot with a Charlie Rome free-kick in two minutes being fumbled by young Ware keeper Butler and Mensah’s follow-up effort deflected for a corner.
Then on 12 minutes, the Herns Lane side were ahead. From a right-wing corner, Ashley Kersey soared above the home defence and planted a solid header on the Ware crossbar.
When the effort bounced down, Paul Marks, who went on to have an outstanding game, collected but had his legs swept away by a Ware defender, referee Loe immediately awarding the spot-kick.
Teenage midfielder Rome stepped up and put away a confident penalty for 1-0.
Charlie May had to make a sharp save from Ware’s Brown, also from a long distance free-kick and Karagual put a home chance of an equalizer past the near post, as Ware looked for a quick response.
But it was WGC who quickly re-establised dominance and Daniel Bond’s powerful pace was clearly troubling the Bostik League side.
Bond broke completely clear and should have made it two on 27 minutes, but took it too close to the keeper and Butler made a save.
On the stroke of half-time, the WGC forward was put in again by Kersey’s fine pass, but the move had the same outcome as Butler raced off his line to save.
Mensah picked up a yellow card after being put in difficulties by a poor May throw-out at the start of the second-half, but WGC were quickly back on top, as a Rome free-kick kicked up off the turf and Butler only managed to keep it out at full stretch.
At the other end, May timed a run from goal to perfection to block a Karagual effort, to preserve the WGC lead, minutes before the visitors netted a second to make the tie more secure.
Marks broke up a Ware attack for the umpteenth time and played the ball to George Ironton who split the home defence with a fine crossfield ball to Bond, who this time, neatly lifted it over Butler into the far corner - for his fourth goal in as many games.
He also the ball in the net eight minutes from time, when WGC’s front three, that now included substitute Jon Clements, broke through again and from Kersey’s fine crossball, Bond struck it beautifully into the bottom corner, only for an offside flag to rule the effort out.
WGC completed the emphatic win with a second penalty three minutes from time.
Kersey collected and played Clements in and as he attempted to round keeper Butler, the youngster pulled the WGC striker back to earn himself a red card.
Clements took the second spot-kick himself and drove it with pace past Tom Coulton, the replacement keeper, for 3-0, to complete a highly satisfying win after the previous week’s traumas.
WGC: May, Ross, Mensah, Corran, Sexton (Rolfe 65), Marks, Rome, Ironton, Brettell (Clements 73), Bond (Budge H 85), Kersey.