Saturday 10th April 2021

Wraysbury Village 2 Richings Park 0

( Dunstall, Fairhall)

Wraysbury Men’s side bounce back after last week’s defeat with a hard-fought win in East Valley derby.

In terms of fixtures, it wasn’t long ago we faced our opponents but it’s been four months since the reverse fixture which in fact was our last league win and our first league game at home since the opening weekend of the season back in October. Ultimately our drive this week was to put last week’s result behind us and get back to winning ways.

There were a couple of changes to the starting 11, with Ben Landi coming in for the injured Josh Christopher. Gary Currell was away so Sam Sillah moved in to the back three and Alfie Fairhall returned to the starting line-up at right wing-back. Mitch Dunstall also returned from injury to take the number 10 role.

The game started a lot better for us this week then last, which was good to see but knowing Richings Park, they weren’t going to back down. The best chances fell to Stan Anum who was twice put through on goal but failed to get his shots off early enough to break the deadlock.

Park also had their run of chances, when a couple of times they broke the offside trap but again failing to take advantage.

Then on 15 minutes came a heart in the mouth moment when Richings Park again got in behind our defence. It looked like it was Bonnett was going to be favourite to gather the ball first but their number 9 had some pace on him and suddenly it was a cat and mouse chase to who would get there first. The Richings Park striker won the race and was taken out by our goalkeeper. Fortunately, it was outside the area and going away from goal so the ref only showed Bonnett a yellow card. The resulting free-kick didn’t come to anything.

Then on 20 minutes, the break though came when Anum went through on the right and this time squared it across to Mitch Dunstall in the box who eventually scrambled the ball over the line to give us the lead. 1-0!

The football played was good at times, much better then last week, with Sam Sillah putting in a great shift at the back alongside Reed and the solid Dewhurst, but a lot of the time we were struggling to keep possession, and with that we were let off so many times as Richings Park could not finish.

Then right on half time, disaster! Sillah couldn’t manage to hold off their striker to shepherd the ball out and lost the ball, with that the striker headed towards goal with Sillah chasing behind desperate to win it back. He stuck a foot in on the edge of the box and the striker went flying 5 yards inside the box. It was just outside, but the dive seemed to deceive the ref who pointed to the penalty spot! No way! It was definitely outside the box cried Sillah to the ref, as did the rest of the team. Then after a minute the ref changed his decision to a free-kick on the edge of the box. Right call. Lucky, but right. Again, the free kick came to nothing and the half time whistle blew. One up at the break and rode our luck at times but deserved.

Second half again started spritely in the first 5 minutes but it didn’t last, as possession kept being lost and Park were gaining more momentum. Chances came and went and even a corner for them went straight across the box to be then cleared off the line.

For us though, Alfie Fairhall was shining down that right flank beating their full back for pace every time, and at one stage got to the byline to pull back for Anum who again couldn’t get a shot off. It just wasn’t happening for him in front of goal today.

Then on 70 minutes came that second goal cushion when Anum collected the ball on the edge of the box where he found Dunstall on the right. He then beat his man to get in the box and unselfishly squared it across the box where Fairhall had got in. It looked like he was going to go with his left but took it earlier with the outside of his right and slotted it home for his first of the season! Relief for the Stags.

There were still chances for Park to get themselves into the game but Bonnett’s catching was second to none today. Last ten minutes and Black and Pitt came on for the goalscorers. Within minutes it looked Black was through on goal and looked like he could go on but the defender got back to dispossess him. That was to be the last real chance of the game as full time arrived. A repeat scoreline to that at Richings Park and another 3 points towards the top.

Man of the Match went to Alfie Fairhall. He was determined to make up for last week and that he did. His runs down the right wing and pace to beat their defence created chances and equally got back to assist his defence, then to top it off with a goal. Superb.

The Stags (3-5-2): Bonnett; Sillah, Dewhurst, Reed (c); Fairhall (Pitt 80), Sumner, Landi, Homes, Hart; Dunstall (Black 80), Anum.

Unused Sub: Abbott, Rawlings, Stock

Goalscorer: Dunstall 20, Fairhall 72

Booked: Bonnett 15