Welwyn Garden City booked their place in the first round qualifying draw by avoiding an FA Cup banana skin at Romford.

The Citizens are one step higher than their hosts but went into the game on the back of two Southern League defeats and nine goals conceded.

Romford meanwhile sit top of the Essex Senior League after four wins and a draw from their five fixtures.

But an efficient and professional performance, together with goals from Dernell Wynter, Bailey Stevenson and Lucas Jordan, gave them a 3-1 win and passage to the next stage.

True, the Citizens were given a huge leg-up in the opening six minutes.

Three minutes had elapsed when Brad Wadkins was pulled back while contesting a high ball, Wynter rifling the ensuing penalty high into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later and Welwyn's perfect start continued with the home side reduced to 10 men, full-back Darren Phillips dismissed for a tackle on Wynter.

Wynter should have got his and Welwyn's second on 10 minutes but after collecting Charlie Crowley's long goal kick and bearing down on goal, he shot wide of the target.

The man advantage though allowed WGC to keep a grip on the game and they rarely lost that over the piece.

An outstanding save from home keeper Jake Anderson saw him turn a fierce effort from Wadkins onto the far post and then he produced a double save to deny Bailey Stevenson.

But the second did eventually arrive just before half-time.

Zak Guerfi slipped a neat through ball to send Stevenson away and this time the young striker made no mistake, firing low beyond Anderson into the far corner.

It wasn't the final goal of the half though as Romford gained a lifeline.

A shot from Bruno Gomes smashed against Yasin Boodhoo, stood just feet away, with the ruling being it was stopped by a hand.

Charlie Morris slotted in a fine penalty to reduce the arrears at the break.

WGC manager Marc Weatherstone introduced Alex Harris at left-back for the injured Josh Bryant at the start of the second half, a period that began with a Guerfi effort deflected off a defender and onto the post.

Ethan Kessel became WGC’s second substitute, replacing James Kaloczi, and on the hour he produced the pass of the match, a beautifully curling ball inside the full-back to send Wadkins racing clear.

The big striker also used bend to put his clever effort wide of keeper Anderson. The woodwork though once again came to Romford's aid, the third time in the contest.

The busy Kessel then had a free-kick cleared out to Guerfi but his fellow midfielder blazed well over with the rebound effort.

It was to prove his last contribution, as Guerfi was replaced by Jordan soon afterwards and with his first involvement, the young striker settled the tie in Welwyn's favour.

Put away down the left by a good ball from Harris, he slipped his full-back and homed in goal before rolling his effort beyond Anderson and into the far corner.

The draw for the next round is released at 1pm on Monday with the fixture taking place on Saturday, September 2.

WGC: Crowley, Brown, Boodhoo, Doherty, Bryant (Harris 46), Mulley, Kaloczi (Kessel 51), Guerfi (Jordan 82), Stevenson, Wadkins, Wynter.

Subs (not used): Jones, Pollock, Steele, Green.