The Late Late Stags Show Stoke Poges Saints 0 – 1 Wraysbury Village EBFL
Report by Ross Clark
Wraysbury Lined up in the now familiar 4 2 3 1 formation with the starting line up as follows;
Randall, Hopkins, Williams, Nicholls, Pitt, Harvey, White ©, Woodley, Hewitt, Hughes, Pikulak
And the substitutes were: Stock, Scarlett, Mallard, Quelch and J Bermingham.
In what was a horrid mid-autumn day, conditions were not at all favorable to the passing style of football Wraysbury have looked to play in our opening few games. With the high winds and constant rain, on top of a very crumbly pitch Wraysbury took the 1st 10 minutes of the game to settle in and get a rhythm in place. Wraysbury were seeing a lot of the ball but a good back line from the Saints were holding firm. Inside the first quarter of an hour the Saints had a couple of corners which were either met by Wraysbury heads or dealt with confidently by Goalkeeper Chris Randall. 25 minutes into the match, some good link up play by Pikulak up front lead to an exchange with Woodley before he was chopped down leaving the Stags with an excellent free kick chance, which was ultimately blazed over the bar by Hughes.
Wraysbury were controlling the ball now in the match and leaving Stoke Poges to resort to counter attacking football but the next major chance again fell to the Stags, Hopkins whipped a dangerous ball in from the left hand side, which was scooped over the bar from skipper White. This passage in play led to a succession of corners which were headed wastefully over by White and Williams. Half time. Nil – nil.
The 2nd half kicked off with the weather really starting to affect the play. Passing had to be highly accurate otherwise the ball was simply moving too fast off the surface. This led again to a settling in period for both sides however after an hour Wraysbury opened up the SP Saints back line and Lewis Hewitt drilled a low shot across goal which agonizingly clipped the outside of the post. The resulting goal kick led to a turnover by Harvey which set Hughes through on goal, he lifted the ball over the keeper and watched it trickle just wide!
Wraysbury’s first change introduced John Mallard in Central midfield in place of Alex Harvey, who had ran himself into the ground, Mallards impact was almost immediate as from a corner he Ghosted into the box unmarked and smashed his header off the bar. Missing headers from corners was turning into the theme of the day for the Stags.
However it all changed when in the 85th minute a deep free kick was aimed into the box by Hopkins, the Saints keeper came a long way and challenged substitute Dan Scarlett for the high ball, which resulted in either a small nick from Scarlett or them box missing it and the ball ending up in the net, sparking jubilant celebrations both on the pitch and on the Wraysbury bench along with a few hardy travelling supporters. Full time a hard fought but well earned 1 – 0 win for the Stags.
Speaking after the match, Assistant Manager Scott Bright said;
“This was a Superb win against an organized Stoke Poges Saints Side. This was a win that showed we can win games by not playing our usual style and was very much a title contending win. We knew the pitch didn’t play to our strengths and so had to play another way to get the result. The lads battled well and played football in the right areas and in the right moments.
We dominated the game in terms of chances and could have had the game won early on, however we were patient and took the chance when it came along.
Every player can be proud of how they played and fought for that win but special mentions go to Colin White who was an absolute rock in the centre of the park and Danny Nicholls who added a level of calmness and organisation at the back. But Ollie Pitt was my man of the match being solid once again in his new adopted right back role. We will look to keep building on this performance and keep the momentum going.”
Frost Partnership Man of the Match – Ollie Pitt
Debuts – John Mallard, Dan Scarlett