THIS wasn’t the titanic clash that was billed.
WGC, unbeaten in their last 17 games and second top of the Spartan South Midlands League, a point less from a game less than leaders Berkhamsted, against the Essex Senior League leaders Takeley.
But after an impressive opening 10 minutes from the visitors, WGC utterly dominated this FA Vase first round proper clash, once they had taken the lead just inside the first quarter of an hour.
So dominant were they, that WGC keeper Charlie May didn’t have a single effort on goal to deal with, as the Citizens adapted to a blustery wind and difficult conditions so much better than their visitors.
Takeley began in lively style, but in WGC’s first attack on five minutes, they hit the post. Jon Clements set up Josh Bronti, whose shot was turned onto the post by an excellent save from visiting keeper Ronnie Yates.
Just before the quarter-hour mark, WGC were ahead with a beautifully judged goal. Clements’ pass put Ben Spaul through. Keeper Yates raced from goal and made a fine block, but found himself stranded 20 yards from goal.
Charlie Joy collected the loose ball and lobbed an excellently judged effort into the unguarded goal, just over defender Powell’s despairing attempt to clear off the line.
From that point, WGC never looked back. Joy almost had a second on the half-hour. Clements was fouled just outside the area and Joy clipped a fine free-kick over the defensive wall and inches over the bar.
WGC lost skipper Danny Payne with a hamstring injury moments later, replaced by Charlie Rome and it was the talented youngster who doubled the lead two minutes into stoppage time at the end of the half.
The goal owed much to a fine Clements run into the box and then a smart back-heel into the incoming Rome’s path. The young midfielder then struck a fine cross-shot across Yates and into the bottom corner, for a vital second.
The same combination lit up the start of the second-half with a flowing move that ended with Rome’s cross headed just wide by Clements.
Paul Marks, having a fine game in midfield for the Citizens, met a right-wing corner to power another just over before Takeley skipper Jason Todd went down in the area, to be booked by referee Kadir for simulation.
This sparked anger amid the frustrated Takeley bench, but once order was restored, WGC settled any doubts with a third with 13 minutes left.
Clements was again fouled on the edge of the area and took the free-kick himself. He blazed it into the defensive wall, but when it rebounded out, Bronti was quickest to react to hit a rising effort over Yates and secure WGC’s place in the next round, to be played on November 11.
Manager Adam Fisher took the unusual step of replacing substitute Charlie Rome with fellow sub Ben Long for the final 15 minutes, the dynamic Long having his first outing for a month.
WGC: May, Rolfe, Boodhoo, McGrandles, Corran, Payne (Rome 32, Long 75), Marks, Spaul, Bronti, Clements (Kersey 82), Joy.