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Wokingham Wanderers F.C.
Barn Rangers 4 Wanderers 4
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Barn Rangers win 5-3 on Penalties

23rd February 2003 - Gowrings Cup Second Round - Elizabeth Road, Wokingham

Over three months later than originally scheduled, Wanderers finally got to face Barn Rangers for a place in the Quarter-Finals of the Gowrings Cup.


Following their impressive performance against Tin Hut, the starting eleven was unchanged.  Mark Devenny joined Lewis Trusty and Phil Soane on the substitutes bench.


The Blues started well with Tom Soane flashing a shot wide and Anthony Prior forcing the goalkeeper to push a header over the bar.  Wanderers were displaying a dynamic and direct style to which Rangers had no real answer.


Wanderers took a deserved lead when Van der Laan-ODonnells long clearance sent Prior free to hit a powerful drive beyond the Rangers keeper. 


Minutes later Rangers were level when failure to close the opposition down saw a shot loop beyond Mellor into the far corner.


It was at this point that the Blues started playing some of their best football this season.  A second goal arrived when Scott Ford released Prior to drive the ball into the bottom corner for his and Wanderers second.


Five minutes later, Alan Pearce found space on the right to deliver a perfect cross for Tom Soane to head his eighth goal of the season to put Wanderers 3-1 ahead.


Straight from the re-start Andy Kinch won a tackle, skipped past his man and sent a blistering 30-yard drive just over the cross bar.   The Blues were dominating the play but could not add any further goals before the interval.


In the second-half Wanderers were unable to find the same quality and With twenty minutes remaining, Rangers pulled a goal back when Mellor diverted a cross-shot into the net.


The introduction of Mark Devenny, Phil Soane and Lewis Trusty saw Wanderers improve and they seemed to have clinched the tie when Trusty picked out Prior who neatly finished for his hat-trick.


However complacency and fatigue saw Rangers grab two goals in the last ten minutes to send the game into extra-time.


Wanderers produced very little in the next thirty minutes, Tom Soane had a shot saved and a Prior effort went wide of the goal.  At the other end Rangers went close and should have sealed victory when a free header was sent over the bar when it looked easier to score.  The match looked destined to go to penalties and so it proved.


Rangers one the toss and elected to take first, and they scored with a well-hit effort to Mellors left.  Anthony Prior then stepped up and his low shot just went under the goalkeepers body.  Rangers scored again as Mellor got a hand to the effort and so Scott Ford had the chance to level again.  His weak effort was saved by the Barn keeper.  Another converted penalty by Rangers put the pressure on Tom Soane but he produced a superb penalty which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net.  Rangers scored their fourth kick which meant Alan Mellor had to convert his kick or Wanderers were out.  The Blues keeper blasted his effort beyond the keeper to put the pressure back on Rangers.  Barn scored and went through 5-3 on penalties.


Despite their eventual defeat Wanderers can take heart from the fact that they have taken a second division side to penalties.  Their performance deserved much more and on this evidence their league position is unjustified.


TEAM: Alan Mellor, Chris Hillsdon, Clint Falcus, Dan Van der Laan-O'Donnell, Chris Orbell, Jamie Ryall, Scott Ford, Andy Kinch, Alan Pearce, Anthony Prior, Tom Soane.

SUBS: Phil Soane (for Ryall), Lewis Trusty (for Kinch), Mark Devenny (for Ryall)