Wanderers and boss Ian Evatt ended their FA Cup hoodoos with a comfortable win over Solihull Moors to book their place in round two, writes Pete Oliver.
The Whites hadn’t won an FA Cup tie in four years and Evatt was still seeking his first success in the competition as a manager.
But the wait will go on no longer after Wanderers eased past their National League opponents to make it seven wins in eight games to maintain their interest in another competition.
Moors are sitting third in their division as they challenge for promotion to the EFL but never looked likely to cause an upset as the no-nonsense Whites did what they had to do to put their name in the hat for Sunday afternoon’s draw.
Captain Ricardo Almeida Santos got the all-important first goal before half-time before Paris Maghoma, Will Forrester – with his first goal for the club – and substitute Dion Charles got themselves on the scoresheet after the break to emphasise the gulf between the sides.
The margin could have been even greater had Charles not seen a penalty superbly saved by Solihull star man Tommy Simkin but Wanderers’ top scorer still made sure he would move to 11 for the season as the Whites stayed on a roll with another emphatic win.
Wanderers made five changes to the side that had started the win at Charlton a week ago when they made it three victories on the spin in League One.
It was still a powerful line-up sent out by Evatt, though, as he tried to change his and the Whites’ FA Cup fortunes.
Not surprisingly Wanderers dominated again a side two divisions below them in the league ladder and spent increasing periods of the first 45 minutes camped in the Solihull half.
It appeared a case of when, rather than if, Wanderers would score but they still needed that first goal to make it a more comfortable afternoon.
Maghoma went as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock in the opening half hour as the on-loan midfielder saw an early effort saved by Simkin before the keeper made an even better save to deny him again as he touched a curling effort onto the crossbar.
Gethin Jones nodded the rebound wide but then forced Simkin into another tidy stop after Maghoma’s deep cross had picked out the Wanderers’ wing-back at the far post.
The busy Simkin had also turned an effort from Dan Nlundulu round the post but Wanderers’ pressure finally paid off six minutes before the break with the opening goal from the skipper.
Not renowned for his goals, Almeida Santos had scored this season in the EFL Trophy and repeated the measure with another header as he met Aaron Morley’s corner with an effort he coolly nodded down and into the corner of the net to ease any potential nerves.
With a busy workload ahead and not too long back from injury, that was then Santos’ work done for the afternoon as he was replaced at the break by Eoin Toal.
And it was virtually game over five minutes into the second half when Wanderers went 2-0 up.
Nlundulu intercepted a pass from James Clarke to tee up Jon Dadi Bodvarsson for an effort which Clarke managed to clear off the line but only as far as Maghoma who beat a defender and cleverly made space to drill home a shot inside the near post.
Big striker Mark Beck had the chance to offer a quick riposte but from the visitors’ best chance of the game headed wide at the far post as Moors enjoyed their brightest spell.
And it was soon normal service resumed as Simkin had to go full length to keep out another effort from Morley and Joseph Newton did well to clear a Bodvarsson cross from in front of goal as substitute Cameron Jerome waited to tap in.
That only delayed the inevitable, though, as Forrester met the corner that followed with a thumping header to make it 3-0 and allow Evatt to keep making changes from the bench.
Charles almost scored with his first touch but from close in couldn’t direct Morley’s driven cross past Simkin, who then denied him again as he superbly saved Charles’ spot-kick with just under 10 minutes to go.
The penalty had been earned by substitute Luke Matheson, who was tripped at the end of a surging run forward in another bright cameo from the youngster.
There was still time for Charles to get his goal with a thumping shot on the turn after Cameron Jerome’s shot had been blocked to make it 11 for the season.
And it looked like there should have been another opportunity from the penalty spot when Jerome was upended in the box as Solihull waited for the final whistle and Wanderers completed a job well done.
Wanderers: Baxter; Forrester, Almedia Santos (Toal HT), Iredale; Thomason; Jones (Matheson 76), Morley, Maghoma (Mendes Gomes 66), Williams; Bodvarsson (Charles 71), Nlundulu (Jerome 66). Substitutes: Hutchinson, Sheehan, Dacres-Cogley, Adeboyejo.
Solihull Moors: Simkin; Clarke, Morrison, Stearman; Mafuta; Craig (Brogan 70), Maycock (Stevens 56), Labadie (Warburton 56), Osborne; Beck (Ryley 76). Substitutes: Flahavan, Gordon, Kelly.
Booked: Labadie, Craig, Osborne
Sent off: Osborne
Attendance: 5,523 (Solihull 441).