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4th April 2004 - Challenge Cup 1st Round - Finchampstead Memorial Park.

Wanderers took on second division Finchampstead Sunday Athletic A for a place in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.


Wokingham started well and had an early opportunity when Lewis Trusty found Tom Soane, who shot wide from a tight angle.


The Blues were making full use of the wide pitch and producing some superb football at times.  They were unable to find the goal which their play deserved and Soane was frustrated time and time again by the Finch linesman.


Wanderers' next chance fell to Soane as Anthony Prior beat a man on the right and delivered a low cross towards the Blues' striker, however a Finch defender reached the ball first and cleared the danger.


Against the run of play, Finch took the lead.  A high ball into the box caught in the wind and as it bounced loose it was shot towards goal.  Allan Mellor seemed to have the shot covered but the ball took a cruel deflection and flew beyond Mellor and into the net.


Before the interval Jamie Ryall and Scott Ford came close with free-kicks but it was Finch who undeservedly led at the break.


In the second-half Wokingham continued to play flowing, passing football but Soane again was questionably ruled offside with every attack.


Midway through the half the Blues' saw two headers cleared off the line first from Dan van der Laan O'Donnell and then from Clint Falcus.


Alan Pearce and Owen Holland were introduced and the fresh legs on both wings aided Wanderers' attacks as they linked up well with Chris Hillsdon and Chris Orbell respectively.


Matthew Elliott almost sealed his impressive performance with a goal, as he twice came close from distance with powerful shots.


With just five minutes remaining yet another Wanderers' attack saw a Finch player handle in the box but there was no decision from the referee.


As Wanderers searched for the equaliser Allan Mellor came up for an injury-time corner and the ball broke loose to the Finchampstead winger.  Tom Soane and Anthony Prior chased back but with an open goal the ball was rolled into the net to clinch the victory for Finch.


At times Wanderers played some of their best football of the season and the defeat was cruel and undeserved.  With one league game left Wokingham must focus on next season and maintaining this standard of football.


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

SUBS: Alan Pearce (for Trusty) and Owen Holland (for Falcus).