Watford Ladies secured a fourth round tie at home to Leeds United in the FA Women's Cup with a confident 4-0 victory away at Northern Premier League side Derby County.
On a challenging surface the Hornets were in dominant mood and were soon in their groove as they opened the scoring and delivered the first blow in the fourth minute.
Sarah Wiltshire battled to win possession in the middle of Derby’s half and found Irene Martin Garcia’s run on the left.
The Spanish midfielder put the ball low across the box which found Wiltshire’s run and under strong pressure from the defender the ball was flicked to Megan Wynne who made no mistake at the far post.
The Golden Girls had further chances to double their early lead in the first quarter of an hour.
Jo Wilson ran through clear on goal but was forced to place her shot wide of the far post by the Derby keeper and Wiltshire made space for herself to fire in a shot that was saved.
The slow-starting home side were then able to enjoy a spell of possession and fashioned a chance of their own as an awkward ball wasn’t dealt with and the Derby striker found herself one on one with Lauren Davey.
The England Under-23 keeper was equal to it though and made a great stop to prevent any equaliser.
Fliss Gibbons went extremely close with a shot from inside the box that beat the keeper but not the defender on the line who cleared into the path of Wiltshire who curled in a vicious cross that only just evaded both Martin Garcia and Wilson’s sliding efforts.
After 37 minutes however, Watford got the second goal their performance had deserved.
Wiltshire linked up well again with Martin Garcia and the latter’s clipped ball over the top was raced onto by Wilson who slotted home comfortably.
As half time loomed, another ball in behind to Wilson almost contributed to add to the scoreline as she latched on to the pass and was forced wide.
Her ball back across found Wiltshire, who evaded her marker well and her shot was hit with venom but went just over the crossbar so the score remained 2-0 at the break.
The second half continued much like the first, with Derby threatening on the counter attack but the away defence dealt with it well and Watford were in firm control of the match.
It should have been 3-0 midway through the second half when Wynne’s superb cross into the box was met first time with a guided side foot volley into the far corner by Wiltshire before the linesman’s offside flag ruled it out.
Amends was made a few minutes later however, when Martin Garcia turned provider again and Wilson found herself free in the area from the midfielder’s pass and she made no mistake rolling the ball home.
The Golden Girls wrapped up the game in the final minutes when Wilson was felled from behind in the area, with the referee pointing to the spot. Cally Rowell stepped up to fire her penalty into the top corner.
Manager John Salomon was a happy manager after his team bounced back in the best possible way from the previous week’s League Cup exit.
He said: "We’re really pleased to have bounced back from last weekend in such a positive manner.
"What we have worked on in training this week really showed, with more intelligence in our attacking play and that’s reflected in the score line.
"It's also encouraging that we can rotate our starting line up and still record such a convincing victory, highlighting the quality of depth to this squad.
"We’re all excited for the fourth round draw, but focus now turns to a really important game for us away to Man City next weekend, and this win is great preparation for that."
The Golden Girls next round match against Leeds will be played on Sunday, February 24 at Berkhamsted FC.
Team: Davey, Mays, Hector, Gunn, Butterwick; Gibbons (Green), Rowell; Wynne, Wiltshire (Natkiel), Martin Garcia; Wilson (Knell)