Saturday 24th October 2020

Woodley  2 –   Wraysbury Village  4

(Sillah, Dewhurst, Dunstall, Andrews)

Despite lacking a full capacity squad, Wraysbury continued their unbeaten start to the league season after coming from behind early on against a young Woodley United Royals side to ground out a fine victory on a windy Saturday afternoon.

We travelled to Woodley with only 15 players available due to injuries, suspensions and general life happenings which saw us hand first starts of the season to Matty Hursey, Ben Landi and Sam Sillah and adapted our formation to work with the narrow pitch.

Unfortunately, we failed to get out of the blocks early and within the first 5 minutes Woodley already had two shots on target. The first was well held by our number 1 but the second shot there was nothing Matty Bonnett could do to stop the shot nestling in the bottom corner. One down, and could’ve got worse if it weren’t for a great diving save from Bonnett to stop a Woodley free kick going in. But whilst pushing for that equaliser, things did get worse when stand in skipper Paul Reed pulled up with a hamstring injury. Paul Abbott came on in his place for his first outing in a Wraysbury shirt, with the captain’s armband handing over to Bonnett.

Despite the struggles of the strong wind against us we got that goal to bring us level when George Dewhurst slipped a ball through for Sam Sillah who seemed to be beaten to the ball by the defender, fortunately for us the Woodley defenders’ clearance cannoned off Sillah’s shin past the goalkeeper. 1-1! Things were starting to look up for us, especially after some great defending by Gary Currell on our byline to dispossess their striker, he then ran out of defence with the ball beating a couple of players before releasing it on the halfway line. Mitch Dunstall, who had been strong in midfield all half slotted through a pass to George Dewhurst whose shot did enough to beat the keeper for his third of the season. 2-1 up at half time.

We were now on top and had the wind with us in the second period, the afternoon was surely going to be positive. Despite the best efforts from Sam Sillah cutting in on his right to curl a shot against the bar and Matty Bonnett attempting from his own area to catch out their goalkeeper with the help of the wind, that third goal wouldn’t come for us. Then came pressure from Woodley, and again despite more heroics from our keeper, his attempt to palm away a Woodley shot from inside the box was adjudged to have gone over the line by the assistant referee. 2-2.

All square again but it was us who still looked the likely to score again and their keeper tried his best to help that when the other assistant ref noticed he failed to release the ball out of his hands before leaving his area. Free kick from Dunstall though was palmed away, but resulted in Dunstall pulling a back muscle in the process. He soldiered on for a few more minutes, and it was a good thing too, when great defensive play again from our backline released the ball up top to Dewhurst, he slotted though to Dunstall to dink it over their goalie to reinstate our lead. 3-2! 7 minutes left. This was to be Dunstall’s last action as he was replaced by Macka Bermingham and it would be the substitute who would make an instant impact, when only a few minutes after coming on, his clearance found Dewhurst once again who, with his back to goal, chested and lobbed a pass over the Woodley defence for Matt Andrews to run through and make sure all three points were heading back to TW19! All players and staff went mad celebrating in the corner! 4-2 with 3 minutes left to play, we used our remaining subs taking off Andrews and Hursey, who worked hard all afternoon, for first appearances of the season for club captain Elliott Woodham and Dan Stock. Woodley tried their best to get something in the last few minutes but with the superb Codie Sumner winning back everything in the middle of the park, dictating the play with ease and Ollie Pitt commanding all shown at him from right back, it wasn’t to be. The full-time whistle blew and our unbeaten start was still intact.

The scenes of jubilation after the fourth goal went in may have seemed a bit far-fetched at this early stage in the campaign, but with so many players out and having to adapt to a change in formation from what we have been practicing since preseason began, it just showed the strength and depth we have in our squad and shows the togetherness and drive to get results. We have an exciting season ahead of us.

Man of the Match goes to goalkeeper Matty Bonnett today whose first half save from the free kick and inch perfect tackle inside his own box in the second half kept the Woodley score down…oh and for having the most shots on target which is some achievement for a goalkeeper.