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25th August 2002 - Friendly Match - Cantley Playing Fields, Wokingham

An expectant crowd gathered at Cantley as Wokingham Wanderers played their first ever match, against Division 4 promotion rivals Wokingham Cricket Club.


From the first whistle Wanderers set about playing an attractive passing style, with good touches and accurate passes from all players.  Within minutes they reaped the rewards as Alan Pearce ran on to a through ball from Jamie Ryall and taking advantage of some hesitancy in the Wokingham C.C. defence, he rounded the goalkeeper and lofted the ball into the empty net.


For the next twenty five minutes Wanderers had a lot of posession and there were chances for Pearce, Mark Devenny and lone striker Anthony Prior.


Despite this, two lapses in concentration enabled Wokingham C.C. to score twice before the interval.  The mood in the Wanderers camp remained up-beat as they focused on the many positives which had come out of their first 45 minutes as a team.


Clearly boosted by their goals the Cricket Club put Wanderers under more pressure and goalkeeper Alan Mellor responded well when called into action.


The Blues managed an equaliser around the hour mark as Clint Falcus cleared from defence and found Prior in space.  He turned past two defenders and unleashed a rising right-foot shot high into the net.


Throughout the match manager Lewis Trusty continued to rotate the side and must have been encouraged by the response of his players, who performed to a high level even in unfamiliar positions in some cases.


Good work by Phil Soane, captain Stuart Palmer and Pearce saw a cross come in from the left hand side where Mark Devenny challenged two defenders.  The result was a richochet back across the goal to the grateful Prior, who smashed home his second to put the Wanderers back in front.


Minutes later Ryall held the ball up well in the box and enticed a challenge from the defender, who duely obliged.  As Ryall fell, referee Mr Sherry had no hesitation in awarding the spot-kick.  Anthony Prior stepped up to drive a powerful shot low to the keeper's right.  4 -2!


Andy Kinch, trialist Andy Corless and Oliver Bambrough contributed to an effective midfield in the latter stages and there were chances for Palmer, Ryall and Bambrough as Wanderers again took control.


However a sloppy five minute spell saw the Cricket Club pull a goal back and come close with two more efforts.  Good work from Ed Townsend, Trusty, Soane, "Stu" Orbell and central defenders Falcus and Dan Van der Laan-O'Donnell helped keep the opposition at bay.


The Wanderers held on for a victory and it should serve as a massive confidence booster for the start of their league campaign and with more matches, they can only improve.


SQUAD: Alan Mellor, Mark Devenny, Clint Falcus, Dan Van der Laan-O'Donnell, Phil Soane, Jamie Ryall, Stuart Palmer, Lewis Trusty, Andy Corless, Alan Pearce, Anthony Prior, Chris Orbell, Edward Townsend, Oliver Bambrough, Andy Kinch.