With no league game to play yet again this weekend, Wokingham & Emmbrook FC U14 “Oranges” (who are sponsored by Wokingham Decorating Services) played a hastily arranged friendly against AFC Aldermaston amid light snow on Saturday. In temperatures which struggled to get above freezing, the Division 6 leaders put in an impressive performance against a team currently a whole division above them in the East Berkshire Football Alliance table, but sadly didn’t come home with a victory on this occasion.
But there was much to be positive about in the performance, and it could be argued that the away side had marginally the better of the first half, and deservedly went a goal up after 13 minutes when captain Kai Evans met Oliver Vickers’ long diagonal ball and fired his team ahead. Both sides created chances, but the score remained 0-1 until the break.
Sadly two Wokingham players came off sick – one at half time and one shortly afterwards – and Aldermaston made the most of the situation, scoring three goals in a fifteen minute spell early in the second half. But as the game wore on the Oranges battled back into it and played some great football in all departments across the pitch, and deserved more for a great team performance. James Starkey had an outstanding last half hour on the left wing, causing his marker no end of problems and linking up well with Vickers and Matt Rogers. The back four of Gofton, Hamblin, Turner and Johnson were well organised and disciplined throughout, and Vickers put in a dominant performance in the heart of midfield, supported by debutant Will Mears, who gave a good account of himself playing his first ever competitive match. But the man-of-the-match award went to the Wokingham ‘keeper George Watkins (pic), who made a number of key saves and grew in confidence as the game went on.