Saints cruised to a 3-0 victory at Worcester City where goals from Steve Diggin, his sixth goal of the season and his fourth in three games, David Pitt and Jack Bowen, his first for the club, ensured a smooth passage into Monday’s draw.
If Worcester City’s recent midweek win at St James Park was arguably Kevin Wilkin’s side poorest performances of the season, this was one of the best.
Saints dominated the first half taking a 25th minute lead into the break after Diggin reacted first when keeper Ryan Boot failed to collect Gareth Dean’s cross. Diggin calmly picked his spot to give Saints the early advantage.
Only in the dying moments of the half did City threaten as they earned a first corner but Dean’s close attentions meant veteran Lee Hughes’ header was off target.
The second half was even more one-sided with Saints keeper Laurie Walker a mere spectator. Pitt pummelled the ball into the net from close range after Boot dropped Jimmy Armson’s 51st minute corner kick and the only question remaining was how many Saints would score.
Glenn Walker hit the post direct from a corner, Luke Graham’s goalbound header was diverted over the bar and Shane Byrne’s 25 yard effort brought a fine save by Boot as Saints pressed for further goals.
Magical work by Glenn Walker dribbling into the area from the left wing set up a chance for substitute David Moyo but his shot was deflected wide and Bowen’s delicate lob went close with almost his first touch after coming on.
But it was Bowen who got the third goal, which epitomised Saints’ play on the day. Adam Walker and Byrne, commanding in midfield, won the ball and fed Ellis Myles, always eager to drive forwards, and the young wing-back beat Tyler Weir and fired the ball low across the area where Bowen arrived to stab the ball home, the clinical finale to an incisive move.
The FA Cup is renowned for producing thrilling games and nail-biting finishes. This cup tie did not live up to its billing but that will not concern Saints who are comfortably through to the next round of this most famous cup competition.