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Wokingham Wanderers F.C.
Wanderers 4 Downshire Arms 7
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24th November 2002 - Division 4 - Langborough Rec.

Wanderers went into this match expecting the win, despite the injury crisis which had ravaged their squad.


Clint Falcus (Hernia) and Andy Kinch (Calf) joined Jamie Ryall on the sidelines.  Chris Hillsdon stepped in to make his debut in the centre of defence, Alan Mellor returned in goal.

The Blues made the prefect start when after two minutes a fine Mark Devenny run released Tom Soane through the middle.   His shot from the edge of the box was saved but Anthony Prior was first to the rebound and tapped home to give Wanderers the lead.


Minutes later a clever Scott Ford pass found Prior who beat his man but was cynically brought down.  The foul looked to be outside the box however the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.  After a strange delay caused by an undisciplined dog, Ford stepped up but his penalty was stopped by the Downshire keeper low to his left.  However the ball was unbelievably blasted back into the net by a surprised Downshire defender, to give Wanderers a deserved two goal advantage.


From the restart Tom Soane chased down a weak pass and bravely slid in to knock the ball under the keeper for 3-0.


Just when it seemed Wanderers would extend their lead, Downshire produced a neat passing move which was well closed down but the loose ball was placed past a despairing Mellor.


Wanderers then lost the services of captain Phil Soane who went down twice with a worrying leg injury.  The Blues looked shell-shocked as Downshire scored twice more before the break, one of which was a Ford own goal following a corner.


What followed in the second half will haunt Wanderers for a long time to come.  From a position of strength in the first half they found themselves trailing 7-3.  Mellor could do little as Downshire players went unchallenged and shots flew beyond his helpless dives.


Five minutes from time Wanderers regained some dignity when Prior raced clear to score his tenth of the season and the 100th of his senior career.


The only player to emerge with any credibility was Tom Soane.  The youngster put everyone else to shame with his persistent hard work.  He challenged for every ball and won most tackles, even those when the opposition player was the clear favourite.


TEAM: Alan Mellor, Chris Orbell, Dan Van der Laan-Odonnell, Chris Hillsdon, Phil Soane, Mark Devenny, Scott Ford, Tom Soane, Alan Pearce, Lewis Trusty, Anthony Prior.
SUBS: Andrew Trinder (for P Soane), Oliver Bambrough (for Devenny), Craig Colman (Not Used).