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Wokingham Wanderers F.C.
FC Bracknell O B Res. 3 Wanderers 5
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30th March 2003 - Division 4 - Farley Centre, Farley Wood

Wanderers took on FC Bracknell Reserves at the Farley Centre without the services of Alan Mellor, out for two weeks with a back injury.


Mark Devenny volunteered to step in between the sticks, with Chris Hillsdon, Clint Falcus, Dan Van der Laan-ODonnell and Chris Orbell in defence.  Alan Pearce, Scott Ford, Lewis Trusty and Jamie Ryall made up the midfield with Anthony Prior and Tom Soane in attack.


Wokingham started brightly and took the lead following a Ryall corner.  The ball fell to Prior who headed beyond the Bracknell keeper.


Minutes late Prior capitalised on a defensive lapse to cross for Tom Soane to guide his shot into the net.


The Wanderers defence proved an effective barrier and served its purpose in protecting rookie goalkeeper Devenny, who made a couple of decent saves.  It was however breeched on one occasion when a ball to the far post found the FC Bracknell wing-back unmarked and he knocked the ball past Devenny to pull a goal back.


Throughout the course of the season Wanderers have suffered due to heads dropping when goals are conceded.  This time it looked as though that might change as Fords shot from another Ryall corner was cleared off the line only to be volleyed back into the net by Clint Faclus.  They nearly scored a fourth before the break as Prior flicked on a Ford free-kick to pick out Alan Pearce.  Pearce made up some thirty yards and his shot went narrowly past the post.


The half time team talk saw Wokingham reflect on an encouraging first half.  Minutes into the second half Bracknell reduced the arrears again as they put the ball in the net following a long range shot which beat Mark Devenny but came back off the crossbar.


Wanderers again showed resilience as they were quick to regain their two-goal advantage.  Scott Ford took a throw-in close to the corner flag and found Prior who returned the ball to him.  Ford hit an accurate cross to the far post and Tom Soane volleyed superbly into the top corner.  4-2 to the Blues.


A further goal looked likely as Tom Soane had an effort wrongly disallowed for offside and Prior hit the Bracknell crossbar.


The whole of the Wokingham team were putting all their effort into holding on for victory and they showed the spirit which has been evident in recent weeks.  FC Bracknell did score again as a ball into the box was misread by Devenny and bundled into the net from close range.


Once again Wokingham responded quickly.  Clint Faclus cleared the ball from defence to Prior who had his back to goal on the halfway line.  He turned sharply past the Bracknell defender and headed towards goal with pace.  As the Bracknell goalkeeper came out Prior lashed a low shot into the bottom corner to put Wanderers 5-3 ahead and bring a superb victory a step closer.


With less than ten minutes remaining an appalling referee decision almost cost Wanderers dearly.  Falcus had clearly been fouled by the Bracknell forward but no free kick was given.  To make matters worse the same player tripped over the fallen Falcus and the referee awarded a penalty for Bracknell.


The kick was going towards the left hand corner but Devenny superbly blocked the effort and then claimed the ball at the second attempt.  This clearly was going to be Wokinghams day.


In the final minutes Wanderers went in search of more goals and were aided by some skilful attacking play from substitute Oliver Bambrough, on for the impressive Trusty.  However the final score was 5-3 to the Blues in a game which saw one of their best performances of the season.


TEAM: Mark Devenny, Chris Hillsdon, Clint Falcus, Dan Van der Laan-O'Donnell, Chris Orbell, Alan Pearce, Scott Ford, Lewis Trusty, Jamie Ryall, Anthony Prior, Tom Soane.

SUBS: Oliver Bambrough (for Trusty) Phil Soane (Not Used).