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29th February 2004 - Division 3 - Chestnut Park, Wokingham.

Boosted by two spirited performances, Wanderers faced bottom side Wokingham Cricket Club at Chestnut Park.


With Kieron Sherwood absent, Matthew Elliott started up front with Anthony Prior on the right-wing.


Wanderers started well and produced an early chance for Tom Soane which was blocked by the Cricket Club goalkeeper.  Minutes later the ball fell to Jamie Ryall in the six-yard box, but his effort was also saved.


Cricket Club were playing a long-ball game from the outset and following a rare first-half attack they were denied by Chris Hillsdon, who cleared to find Anthony Prior. 


Prior took the ball past one man before hitting a low pass to Tom Soane, who was bundled over in the penalty area and a penalty-kick was awarded.  Prior stepped up to score with a shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.


Five minutes later Wanderers extended their lead.  Ryall took on two players and crossed low from the left wing.  Prior nipped in front of the defender to hit the balll across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner from eight yards out.


Cricket Club had little answer to the powerful Matthew Elliott and the smart running of Tom Soane.  Soane was bundled over on the right-hand side and Prior's free-kick was headed behind for a corner.  Ryall floated the ball to the near-post where Dan van der Laan O'Donnell rose superbly and headed powerfully beyond the 'keeper.


Into the second-half and Wanderers needed only two minutes to extend their advantage as Soane battled past two defenders and finished with a left-footed shot from the edge of the area.


A fifth Wanderers goal arrived soon after and killed off the match.  Scott Ford did well to play in Soane who took the ball around the on-rushing 'keeper and tapped home.


As complacency seemed to inevitably set in, Cricket Club pulled a goal back following a cross into the box.  The Cricket Club forward won the header which was diverted beyond Mellor's dive by van der Laan O'Donnell.


Wanderers introduced Alan Pearce in place of Ryall and Darren Wakeley came on for the solid Clint Falcus.  Elliott moved back into defence, Prior into attack and Wakeley moved onto the Wanderers' right.


In the remaining twenty minutes Wanderers had enough chances to reach double figures.  Lewis Trusty had two headed efforts, Prior shot wide from the edge of the box and Wakeley headed over following a Ford free-kick.


There was time for some showboating as Wanderers regained their rhythm, with Alan Pearce impressing on the left.


Tom Soane's tireless running almost saw him claim a hat-trick, but he was twice denied when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.


As Cricket Club looked for another consolation goal in the final minutes Wanderers maintained their high level of effort.  Chris Orbell was in fine form as he turned defence into attack with some strong tackling.


The 5-1 scoreline did not flatter Wanderers and was deserved reward for their performances over the last three weeks.  With matches against Downshire Arms, Tin Hut Acot and Finchampstead B to come it will be interesting to see if the Blues can cause some upsets and have a say in the destiny of the title.


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

SUBS: Alan Pearce (for Ryall) and Darren Wakeley (for Falcus).