Can there be another set of local non-league enthusiasts who have suffered more than the good burghers of Wokingham over the past twenty years or so? Losing their long held Isthmian League status, losing their quaint old ground and losing for a long period even the ability to host football in their home town.
On the evidence of Tuesday’s night’s decisive win in an all-Berkshire affair at Holyport it seems at least that even at this early stage of the season that the Satsumas have a punchers chance of regaining Step 5 soccer in these embryonic days of their fifth straight season at Step 6. Joint managers Dan Bateman and Matt Eggleston, however, will be far too savvy to contemplate a return to the Hellenic Prem at this stage, let alone a return to Wokingham’s glory days of the 80s and early 90s.
In front of 72 impressed spectators on a sultry evening at Summerleaze the visitors gave the hosts a lesson in finishing. No mean feat also to keep a clean sheet against a ‘Port side who looked well set for promotion last season before Lockdown.
The sides exchanged chances in a cagey opening to this derby. Marcus Guest stabbed a presentable opening wide at the near post from a Sumas corner before Gus Burton cut in from the left and let fly for the hosts with a curling effort palmed over by Sean Woodward.
Sumas led inside twenty minutes. Jake White allowed a pass to come onto his right foot before sending a splendid first-time effort into the top corner. White then shot over the top after a pull back from the right and the busy Sumas frontman saw his near post header kept out by a smart save by former Maidenhead United ‘keeper Warren Carter.
The Port ended the half in the ascendancy. Firstly they had loud shouts for an apparent handball in the area waved away before Sam Whitfield smashed an effort over the top after Josh Waldron had headed back across goal. Alan Akerman saw a goalbound shot deflected over on the half time whistle but that momentum dissipated barely two minutes into the second half when a Wokingham corner was bundled into the Holyport net by an unfortunate Holyport player – captain Adam Sharp looking like the guilty party.
Midway through the half the game was up when Luke Scope was released one-on-one to finish expertly and there was still scope for a further goal by Luke at the death as he capitalised on an unfortunate fumble by Carter.
See the latest Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One East table here. You can read up on Woodley United’s defeat to Chalvey Sports here and a full scores and scorers round up is here.