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31st August 2002 - Friendly Match - Langborough Rec., Wokingham

Wanderers wore their new red away shirts as they faced Division Four side Bracknell Aces in their second and last pre-season friendly.


Once again injury and absence forced players to play out of position as a new-look defence of Mark Devenny, Scott Ford, Dan van der Laan O'Donnell and Jamie Ryall stood in front of Alan Mellor.


Alan Pearce started on the right of midfield with Oliver Bambrough making a rare start on the left.  Stuart Palmer and Lewis Trusty lined up in the middle of the park.  Anthony Prior and Tom Soane continued up front.


As in their last match, Wanderers started promisingly and took an early lead.  Tom Soane touched Bambrough's pass into the path of Prior and he finished with a low drive from 25 yards out.


Wanderers could have extended their lead soon after as Bambrough found himself in space but his angled shot was easily saved.


Aces then scored an undeserved equaliser when Ford and Ryall's failure to clear was punished by a clever lob over Mellor.


This goal changed Wanderers game as Aces grew in confidence.  Wokingham found themselves playing the same long ball style that their opponents had adopted.  


Wanderers should have led at the break when they were awarded a penalty.  Ford volleyed Pearce's corner towards goal only for the shot to be handled away by an Aces' defender.  Prior stepped up only for his shot to be saved and the rebound hit over the bar. 


In the second-half Wanderers raised their game.  Another Pearce pass released Tom Soane who was pulled back in the area.  This time Soane stepped up and blasted his kick straight down the middle to give Wanderers the lead.


This goal saw a barrage of Wokingham pressure.  Soane ran down the right and beat two men before squaring for Prior to score his second of the game.


Minutes later Prior evaded the offside trap to centre for Soane, who scored with a low left-footed shot.


In an exciting spell Wokingham attacked with menace.  Devenny and Ryall provided support from their full-back positions as Prior, Palmer, Soane and Trusty all came close to adding to Wanderers' advantage.


With two minutes left Aces pulled a goal back with a lucky Nayim-like lop which drifted over Mellor's head and dipped just under the bar.


The result was expected but it did give Wanderers a welcome foundation of two successive victories to build on when the league campaign starts next week.  The second-half performance was encouraging and the play of Devenny, Ford, Ryall and Bambrough in unfamiliar positions is testimony to the versatility and spirit within the Wanderers' squad. 


SQUAD: Alan Mellor, Mark Devenny, Scott Ford, Dan van der Laan O'Donnell, Jamie Ryall, Alan Pearce, Stuart Palmer, Lewis Trusty, Oliver Bambrough, Tom Soane, Anthony Prior, Simon Bennett.