NEW striker Daniel Bond scored his first Welwyn GC goal after coming on as substitute, to ensure the Citizens’ passage into the third round proper and the last 64 nationally of the FA Vase.
Bond, signed only the previous week from Bostik League Hertford, came into the action with 25 minutes, of a close, strongly contested tie, left and made his mark with a memorable strike.
Played through with a penetrating ball from Ben Long, he stepped inside a challenge from Newport Pagnell full-back Olly Wilkinson and curled an unstoppable rising effort around keeper Mark Osbourne to put Adam Fisher’s side two up in the tie,
Their Bucks opponents, currently top of the notoriously strong United Counties League, had been struck a further blow nine minutes previously, when they lost central defender Adam Pryke to a red card.
He was sent packing by referee Cannon for following through on a challenge on Citizens’ defender Dave Corran, long after the ball had gone. Pryke had previously hauled down Ben Long in full flight to earn a yellow card early in the first-half.
But despite their depletion, Newport Pagnell pulled back a goal with just three minutes of normal time remaining, when a cross from the left was hooked in over keeper Charlie May by forward Luke Emery to give WGC an anxious final few minutes.
But, in general, WGC fully deserved their victory. They always carried the game to their visitors and could have been ahead in two minutes.
Mr Cannon played advantage when Long was pulled down in WGC’s opening move. Josh Bronti raced into the area and pulled back a low
cross that was just behind Jon Clements, while winger Charlie Joy couldn’t turn it home from close range, despite several attempts.
That was the move that earned Pryke his yellow, a caution that was to have consequences for the visiting Swans later in the game.
Joy flighted over a fine cross just past the quarter-hour mark that found skipper Danny Payne lurking at the back post. He drove a low centre across goal, but none of three WGC players could get the vital touch.
Having been on the defensive for the opening 20 minutes, Newport Pagnell proved their quality when midfielder Greg Ling brought May to an outstanding save with a first-time volley from a clearance.
The Bucks side then went close a second time, Taylor Orosz getting the better of Corran to drive a low effort past May, but fortunately for WGC, inches past a post as well.
Then when a goalless opening half looked inevitable, WGC got a precious goal a minute into first-half stoppage time.
Bronti crossed flanks to retrieve a ball way out on the left and dropped in a long cross perfectly for raiding, central defender Yasin Boodhoo to meet with a sweet volley low past Osbourne - a decisive moment in the tie.
Newport Pagnell opened the second-half in determined mood and had the ball in the home net through Tom Liversedge in the early minutes of the half, but were ruled offside.
Keeper Osbourne did well to touch around a Bronti effort, cleverly headed back to him by Clements, before manager Fisher introduced new man Bond with 25 minutes left.
The ex-Stotfold man had an almost immediate impact to secure the Herns Lane side’s place in the third round proper draw.
It’s a feat that equals WGC’s best achievement in the most prestigious competition in which they play, in recent seasons.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Payne, Boodhoo, Corran, Marks, Long, Spaul, Bronti, Clements (Kersey 84), Joy (Bond 66).