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25th January 2004 - Division 3 - Langborough Rec, Wokingham

After their disappointing performance against Rides United the previous week, Wanderers were ready for battle as they faced a young Finchampstead side.

Chris Orbell started at left-back in place of Jamie Ryall, while Kieron Sherwood took Alan Pearce's place on the right-wing.

 

In the first-half Wanderers showed dogged determination and were successful if reducing the league leaders to only one early chance.

 

The Blues thought they had taken the lead when a fine move involving Prior, Orbell, Scott Ford and Matthew Elliott released Tom Soane who finished clinically.  A controversial offside decision denied the Blues though.

 

Wanderers fell behind five minutes later when a Finchampstead corner was only cleared to the edge of the box and a low shot through the mass of bodies gave Mellor no chance.

 

Lewis Trusty almost grabbed an equaliser just before the interval, but his long-range shot was tipped around the post by the Finchampstead 'keeper.

 

Wanderers could reflect on a spirited first-half performance, during which every single player had given their all.

 

Unfortunately all of this hard work was undone in a disastrous fifteen minute spell.  Within a minute of the restart Finchampstead broke through and the ball was slotted underneath the exposed Mellor.

 

In their next attack a high ball into the box saw a free header and a third Finchampstead goal.  Minutes later it was four as Mellor was again left one-on-one and the fifth came when the Finchampstead forward got to the ball before Mellor and tapped home.

 

As a shell-shocked Wanderers tried to recover, they conceded a sixth.  A ball to the feet of the Finchampstead forward saw him turn and shoot in from fifteen yards out.

 

At this point Wanderers introduced Alan Pearce and Jamie Ryall and they started to regain their confidence and battling spirit.  This was epitomised by Matthew Elliott, who was lucky to escape a yellow card and photographic evidence when he unleashed a vicious "bitch" slap, the sound of which could be heard by worried regulars in the nearby Duke's Head.

 

Wokingham managed a consolation goal when Pearce found Elliott, who picked out Anthony Prior with a lofted pass.  Prior controlled and lashed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the area.

 

A second almost followed when the impressive Edward Townsend combined with Prior to release Tom Soane down the left wing.  Soane's low cross was almost converted by Blues' captain Scott Ford but the 'keeper just managed to deny him.

 

For seventy minutes Wanderers had played as well as they have done at any time this season but were left regretting a nightmare spell during which they were punished by some good finishing.  They can still take a lot into their next game against Bracknell Strikers and will look to end a run of five games without victory.

 

TEAM: Allan Mellor, Chris Hillsdon, Clint Falcus, Dan van der Laan O'Donnell, Chris Orbell, Kieron Sherwood, Scott Ford, Lewis Trusty, Anthony Prior, Tom Soane, Matthew Elliott.

SUBS: Alan Pearce (for Sherwood), Jamie Ryall (for Orbell) and Edward Townsend (for Trusty).