Wokingham & Emmbrook FC 3 Hook Norton FC 0By John Ansell
November 02, 2009
Wokingham & Emmbrook cruised into the first round of the Blue Fin Insurance Brokers Challenge Cup, against Hellenic League Premier side Hook Norton at Cantley Park on Saturday.
With promotion the main aim this season, Wokingham chose to give several squad players an important run out.
With Sam Duffelen, due to go travelling, playing his final game until spring, it was important for the fringe players to stake a claim for a starting place.
With the emergence of young Alex Luis, Chris Byrne and the return of Nick Bateman, Wokingham seem to have plenty of cover for Duffelen’s temporary departure.
Wokingham set off on the front foot with Luke Lee and Shane Cooper-Clark going close.
Eric Laborieux’s header was the closest Hook came.
Wokingham deservedly took the lead in the ninth minute as Duffelen signed off with a goal.
Winning possession in the visitors’ half he drove forward before unleashing a low, well-struck effort from just outside the area that took a slight deflection, wrong footing keeper White.
With Wokingham dominating Lee almost forced Ashley Prentice to turn the ball past his own keeper before the home side increased their lead in the 24th minute.
Andre Stairmand produced a peach of a pass to release Bateman, and after his first effort balloon up into the air off the keeper, he kept his composure and headed in at the second attempt.
Wokingham poured forward but couldn’t make their dominance pay in the remainder of the half.
The game was made safe three minutes after the break, however, when Bateman’s cross from the right was turned into his own net by Danny Poole.
Assistant boss Roger Herridge brought on top scorer Richard Bland for the hard working Lee and Bland almost got on to the score sheet in the 72nd minute when a long clearance from keeper Stuart Harris released the speedster, but he was denied by a good tackle from Laborieux as he prepared to shoot.
Minutes later keeper White denied Bland with his legs and Wokingham played out the rest of the game without being seriously troubled by the Premier Division strugglers.
Assistant boss Roger Herridge was pleased with the performance.
“I thought it was comfortable throughout with very little to worry us, we controlled it from start to finish,” he said.
“I thought Richard Pilcher did well at the back and Chris Byrne showed great composure in midfield.
“It is important to give all your squad a game in these matches, it keeps them sharp, you can train as many times as you like but you can't beat match fitness.”
This victory sets up a difficult looking fixture in the next round with Wokingham & Emmbrook having to travel to Wantage Town who sit in the top six of the Premier Division.
Next Saturday sees Wokingham in cup action again as they turn their attention to the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup with a home game against Reading League side Unity.
With Cantley Park set to be used for their annual Firework display the game has been switched to Lowther Road (1.45pm kick-off).
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Harris, Broome, Stairmand (Gomez), Pilcher, Hanson, Lewin, Bateman, Duffelen, Cooper-Clark, Lee (Bland), Byrne (Luis). Subs: Wanklyn, Thorne.