WELWYN GC turned a routine home win into a first-half goal rout in their meeting with 15th placed Holmer Green on a Herns Lane pitch passed fit by a morning inspection.
This five goal romp was secured by an outstanding show in the first 45 minutes, in which the Citizens took a stranglehold on the game, scored four times before the interval and turned the second-half into something of an academic exercise.
Their Bucks visitors improved after half-time and narrowly came close to securing a consolation goal, as WGC predictably took “their foot off the pedal”, but overall, it was a fairly easy afternoon’s work for Adam Fisher’s promotion chasers.
The side were depleted defensively with both Dave Corran (one game) and Paul Marks (three) serving suspensions and John McGrandles unavailable.
Manager Fisher gave Under 25’s player Reggie Ross a second outing at right-back, switched skipper Danny Payne to defence and played regular full-back Jay Rolfe in midfield.
Rolfe was straight into the action, playing a good through ball into the path of Ashley Kersey, but the big striker couldn’t control it and keeper Gastner saved at his feet, in the opening minute.
That set the tone. WGC attacked from the off, Dan Bond and Jon Clements breaking away in unison. Bond fed Clements, who delayed his shot allowing Gastner to make a good save with his body in eight minutes.
The one-way traffic continued. Bond hit a snapshot on the turn that Gastner needed two attempts to save, before WGC achieved their breakthrough after 16 minutes.
A Jon Sexton corner was cleared out to Ben Spaul, who struck a drive hard and low past the keeper from 20 yards, to break the deadlock.
Holmer Green responded immediately and midfielder Dan Hunt was played into the home area only to lose control at the vital moment, allowing skipper Payne to get in a good challenge.
Then a sloppy back-pass from Ross let in the visitors’ Lancaster, but keeper Charlie May was quickly out of goal to make a vital block and keep WGC ahead.
Just before the half-hour WGC doubled their lead, another Sexton corner was placed perfectly onto the head of raiding defender Yasin Boodhoo, whose powerful, downward header made it 2-0.
Six minutes later WGC looked out of sight as they added a third. Payne’s astute ball down the right saw the outstanding Bond outpace the Holmer Green back-line and lift it over Gastner, for his third goal in two games, in 34 minutes.
Five minutes later Bond turned provider. Again he outpaced the visitors’ defence, this time crossing over the face of goal, where Kersey had an easy tap-in for his 50th goal for the Citizens and a 4-0 half-time lead.
Holmer Green began the second-half in lively fashion, despite the deficit and from an early corner, hit the WGC crossbar twice in the same attack.
James Britnell rose to the corner and powered a header against May’s crossbar. When the rebounded bounced back to him, the Holmer Green skipper saw his second headed effort suffer the same misfortune.
WGC made changes as they rode their luck at the start of the half and Fisher introduced Charlie Joy, Carl Mensah and Charlie Rome for scorers Kersey, Boodhoo and Spaul, during the course of a much more pedestrian half.
May was called upon to make his second sharp block of the match, when Holmer Green substitute Summerell played striker Kotwica through, but again May’s legs kept WGC’s clean sheet in tact.
Bond got away again and crossed over the face of goal again, but no one was on hand to touch in the fifth, which finally came seven minutes from time.
Substitutes Joy and Rome combined for the latter to thread a good ball through to George Ironton, who slipped his shot around keeper Gastner and into the far corner, to complete WGC’s nap hand.
WGC; May, Ross, Boodhoo (Mensah 63), Payne, Sexton, Spaul (Rome 75), Rolfe, Ironton, Bond, Kersey (Joy 57), Clements.