Newbury FC 1 Wokingham & Emmbrook FC 5By John Ansell
October 28, 2009
A first half hat-trick from Richard Bland wrapped the game up early against a Newbury side that were made to look very ordinary at Faraday Road on Saturday.
In midweek, Bland was the target of offers from both Sandhurst Town and Reading Town, but the striker turned them both down stating he wished to remain with the Cantley Park side.
It is good to see there is still some loyalty in football.
On paper this looked to be a difficult encounter, but from the start Wokingham looked to be up for it.
With Luke Lee serving a one-match ban, manager Wayne Wanklyn elected to move Darren Thorne from his defensive role to play alongside leading-scorer Bland.
Wokingham also welcomed back both David Bellis and Alex Walton into the side.
The home side started on the front foot, but Wokingham recovered and from their first real attack Thorne cleverly released Bland on goal and only a fine save by Newbury keeper Richard Stewart denied the striker.
Wokingham took the lead in the ninth minute when Shaun Wanklyn’s free-kick from inside his own half bounced in the Newbury penalty area, and a total mix up ended with Tom McLean heading past his own keeper.
From this point Wokingham tore into the home side and a long clearance by keeper Stuart Harris released Bland through the middle, but again Stewart denied him.
It was obvious that there were more goals to be had and Bland obliged in the 15th minute.
Poor defending allowed Bland to race into the right of the area, under pressure he kept his cool to drill the ball in low from an acute angle.
With Chris Byrne, Bellis, Jack Broome and Alex Luis knocking the ball around confidently, Wokingham threatened every time they went forward and Thorne and Bland both went close.
On the half hour it was 3-0 when a clever turn by Thorne in the area saw him lay the ball into the path of Luis and his first-time effort hit the back of the net in the blink of an eye.
Three minutes later it was 4-0 as again Wanklyn was the supplier, sending a long ball to Bland who controlled and rounded Stewart before slotting home.
Bland went on to complete his impressive hat-trick on 40 minutes as Luis’ ball over the top allowed Bland to race into the box before squeezing his shot past Stewart.
As the sides disappeared down the tunnel there seemed to be a scuffle between the players with a couple of home supporters getting themselves involved too, totally unnecessary and not wanted in football.
With calm restored the second half got underway and the home side had what turned out to be their best spell for the opening 20 minutes.
With the points in the bag Wokingham took their foot off the pedal and Bland was replaced by Shane Cooper-Clark in the 50th minute.
Poor marking by the visitors presented Newbury with a consolation goal as sub Kalief Madden rose unchallenged to head home at the far post.
The goal lifted the home side and Darren Jones tested Harris low down.
Manager Wanklyn made his second change in the 58th minute with Nicky Bateman, who returned to the club in midweek after a spell at Bracknell Town, replacing the hard-working Broome.
Twice within 10 minutes the home side hit the crossbar.
Firstly Campion looped a header on top of the bar and then the same player hit it again from well outside the area.
This seemed to shock Wokingham and although not looking so dangerous when going forward, they slowly regained their composure in midfield.
Wokingham’s best chance of the second period fell to Thorne in the 80th minute as good work by Walton on the right saw him cross into the area, but Thorne couldn’t convert.
This impressive performance leaves Wokingham still eight points clear at the top.
It was a good afternoon all round for Wokingham with second-in-the-table Henley Town going down 4-0 at home to Eton Wick and with other title contenders Holyport and Thame fighting out a 3-3 draw.
“What looked to be a difficult encounter on paper turned out to be very comfortable,” said boss Wanklyn.
“We have done something that had been on the cards for some time, in the first half we converted nearly all the chances created, that was pleasing.
“The second half seemed to fizzle out and this allowed them a period where they hit the bar twice, but overall I was pleased with the performance, although slightly disappointed not to keep a clean sheet.”
Wokingham now turn their attention to cup action over the next fortnight.
First up this coming Saturday is a Hellenic League cup tie against Hellenic Premier side Hook Norton at Cantley Park (2.30pm kick-off).
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Harris, Lewin, Luis, Byrne (Stairmand), Wanklyn, Tranter, Walton, Bellis, Thorne, Bland (Cooper-Clark), Broome (Bateman). Sub not used Hanson, Pilcher.
— Wokingham & Emmbrook will now face title rivals Holyport away on Saturday November 14 (3pm kick-off).