FA Cup: Welwyn Garden City through after victory over Saffron Walden Town

Welwyn Garden City hosted Saffron Walden Town at Herns Lane in the FA Cup preliminary round.

Welwyn Garden City hosted Saffron Walden Town at Herns Lane in the FA Cup preliminary round. - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Garden City got rid of an unwanted monkey on their back with a 2-0 victory over Saffron Walden Town in the FA Cup at Herns Lane.

You had to go back to 2017 for the last time Welwyn Garden City won a cup tie in one of the three national adult FA competitions and one year before that for the last win in the FA Cup.

They were expected to win, the Southern League side one division above their Essex Senior League visitors, but first-half goals from Robbie Buchanan, on his debut, and Carl Mensah means the Citizens will be able to look forward to a cup draw at last.

For Walden there will be positives. They competed well and caused one or two moments of worry in the home defence but perhaps didn’t test the keeper enough.

Welwyn just about shaded the first half, and they took the chances that came their way.

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It wasn’t always so comfortable mind you as the Bloods had plenty of time on the ball and inside the Citizens’ half.

The biggest problem they had was testing Charlie Crowley in the home goal.

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Kamarl Duncan had the game’s first chance when he met an Alfie Hinton corner but his header went mere inches wide.

A second chance fell to George Pullen on 15 minutes but he hooked his volley wide when under pressure.

By that point though they were a goal down.

A sumptuous and deep cross from the left from Jon Sexton fell perfectly for Buchanan to prod home.

Walden kept pressing though and Jay Rolfe and Mensah both had to make blocks and important headers to clear a couple of bits of danger.

But it was WGC who were still finding the better chances.

Jack Bradshaw let fly from range with an effort that dipped over the bar and there was almost a carbon copy of the goal when George Ironton’s cross again found Buchanan. This time though the young winger couldn’t find the right contact.

A second did arrive before half-time though and it showed football is a simple game that is often over-complicated.

Ironton fired in the corner from the City left and Mensah rose at the back post to nod it down and in.

The second started with Welwyn looking to press home their advantage and wrap things early.

They didn’t test Paine though although the keeper can perhaps count himself lucky to have only seen a yellow card raised and not a red when he handled outside the area.

Mensah too went into the book for a handball, although that seemed unfortunate as it bounced off his knee and hit hat the hand.

The subsequent free-kick though almost brought a goal as it deflected off the wall and went wide. The corner was then headed wide by Duncan.

The ball did find its way into the net on 70 minutes but this time the referee ruled it out for a foul on goalkeeper Charlie Crowley.

Luke Wilson went into the book this time in the aftermath.

Walden had their tails up after this but it allowed space in behind them.

They almost conceded a third when Mensah nodded an Ironton free-kick this time back across goal and just over the bar and then a bit of magic from Eusebio Da Silva saw the ball just running away from him at the final moment.

Fellow substitute Jo Takai then forced Paine into a good save.

The final chance for Walden fell to Ross Adams, his header from a deep free-kick drifting over, while Welwyn’s final effort was Da Silva’s powerful drive that Paine had to beat away.

But at the final whistle the cheers were all for the home side.

Welwyn Garden City: Crowley, Bradshaw, Sexton, Walklin, Mensah, Rolfe, Buchanan, Ironton, Bailey (Da Silva 76), Opoku (Close 69), Podier (Takai 58).

Subs (not used): Keenleyside, Tshikala, Steele.

Goals: Buchanan 12, Mensah 39

Booked: Buchanan 55, Mensah 66, Nick Ironton 88

Saffron Walden Town: Paine, Riley, Durrant (Adams 83), Wilson, Pethers (Carvell 55), Duncan, Hilton (Frodsham 76), Noble, Francis, Pullen, Cockman.

Subs (not used): Soutar, Skelton, Finch, Culver.

Booked: Hinton 25, Paine 58, Wilson 71

HT: Welwyn Garden City 2 Saffron Walden Town 0

Attendance: 173

Referee: John Perry (Tring)

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