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Wokingham Wanderers F.C.
Downshire Arms 4 Wanderers 3
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18th April 2004 - Division 3 - Harmanswater Road, Bracknell.

In their final match of the season, Wanderers faced a Downshire Arms side that needed a victory to maintain their title challenge.

Wokingham started well and were more than a match for Downshire.  Midway through the half though, they fell behind as far post header looped over Allan Mellor and into the corner of the net.

 

This could have seen Wanderers collapse but they continued to fight and scored a deserved equaliser through Tom Soane.  Clint Falcus took a free-kick just inside the Downshire half and it was flicked into the path of Soane, who coolly lobbed over the goalkeeper.

 

Mellor was called into action twice more in the first-half and produced excellent saves on both occasions.  At the other end Soane was causing the Downshire defence more problems, with only their linesman able to deal with him with some questionable offside decisions.

 

Within five minutes of the start of the second-half the Blues were ahead.  Good work from Chris Stu Orbell saw him link up with Ryall and the ball ran to Soane who finished well with a low drive into the bottom corner.

 

Wokingham then enjoyed their best spell of the match and the referee was showing great inconsistency in calling Soane offside at one end, while ignoring Wanderers linesman Owen Holland at the other.

 

Downshire piled on the pressure but could not get past a solid Wanderers defence and an inspired Allan Mellor who enjoyed his finest game of the season. 

 

Soane looked to have broken clear as the last Downshire Arms defender missed with his challenge, however the referee somehow deemed this to be a foul and play was brought back.  His decision-making was no better a few minutes later as Soane was fouled in the box, only for play to be waved one.

 

With less than twenty minutes to play, Downshire equalised after Mellor had made yet another outstanding save.  The rebound was struck towards goal and touched in by the Downshire Arms forward, who looked to be offside.

 

Shortly afterwards, Wanderers fell behind as a low corner was swept into the net at the near-post.

 

There were only five minutes remaining when Wanderers looked to have grabbed a point which their performance more than merited.  A loose ball in the box was seized upon by Orbell who tucked the ball low into the net from close range, his first goal for the Blues.

 

However one man was determined to have a say in this closely fought contest referee Tom Slaughter.  With two minutes to go he awarded a penalty after the Downshire forward tripped over his own feet in the box.  Matthew Elliott was booked for his protests and Downshire regained the lead as Mellor was beaten.

 

In injury time Chris Orbell made a superb goal-line clearance after Mellor was beaten.  A fifth goal would have been very harsh on the Blues.

 

There was not sufficient time for Wanderers to score again but Slaughter still found seconds on the watch to frustrate the Blues even more, as Anthony Prior was booked following a clean tackle which Slaughter saw as a foul.

 

This was a good game of football and one of Wanderers best matches of the season.  Unfortunately it will be remembered for the referees abysmal performance, which suggested that he may have staked a large sum of money on Downshire winning the title.

 

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.

SUB: Owen Holland (For Trusty).