Aaron Brown and Lewis Workman stun Wantage Town at Watchet Lane
By John Anderson
6-0 away defeat turned into two-goal home win against title-fancying team
In the eight weeks since these teams met at Alfredian Park, and the “Freds” won by six unanswered goals, the fortunes of these two teams could not have been much more different. Holmer having just finally won a second game since then to go with seven defeats, and Town having dropped less points than any other team in the division thus far. Added to this was the fact that Wantage fielded nine of their starting line-up from the first game, while The Greens were missing Crawford, Lancaster, Burrell, Cox, Riley, Lines, and West.
The evening did not start well for the visitors. On arrival they found that they had brought their Green and White kit instead of the expected and agreed Red. A red and white kit from a local Sunday side was eventually procured for Wantage to wear, and the game finally kicked off at five past eight!
Wantage took no time to settle down, and within 5 minutes had struck the Holmer post. Displaying similar superiority in passing and marking to the first meeting, which had earned them four first half goals. The Greens were having to fight fires, and put their finger in their dyke so to speak, to prevent being overwhelmed. On 23 minutes the inevitable mistimed tackle in the area led to Town properly being awarded a penalty. Jackson stepped up and hit his shot pretty well and low towards the corner. But Aaron Brown saved to his left, and made several other fine saves before the interval, as Holmer continued to dig in. HT 0-0
Holmer begun the second half better, and it was the visitors that had a let-off on 48 minutes. Their left-back who had been cautioned for a foul in the first half, one which looked “borderline red” made yet another such challenge. The Referee chose to award only the free-kick to the surprise of many in the larger than usual crowd. Wantage were still looking much better than the home side at this time, and again struck the post on 54 minutes. Holmer did fashion a chance at the other end on 57 minutes, but Lewis Workman surprisingly squared the ball when only having the goalkeeper to beat, and the chance was gone. Mason Scott, having sustained an injury while being in action all over the pitch trying to close down the visitors, was replaced by Matt Wooster. After Brown had again denied the visitors twice, lady luck finally smiled on The Greens. The full- back who was fortunate to be on the field made a hash of a headed clearance. Tom Fifield sized up the situation immediately, and headed it straight back in to the danger zone. Workman finally displayed the alertness and accuracy that brought him success at Aston Clinton. He quickly seized on the ball, and slid it home despite the despairing lunges of the ‘keeper and two defenders. With Pawel Kotwica replacing Fifield, the visitors kept up their efforts. Although their frustrations did lead to a caution for dissent for defender Cox. After being saved by an offside flag on 72 minutes, Holmer stunned Wantage and the crowd by scoring a second. Just three minutes after the offside escape Kotwica made a terrific right-wing run. Which ended with Workman sweeping in the second goal. Town immediately fashioned a headed chance, but it went straight at Brown. Kotwica repeated his dribbling skills on 78 minutes, but his shot from ten yards did not offer the same level of ability. With further Wantage pressure being applied, they were again awarded a penalty when James Britnell held onto an opponent for more than long enough to be spotted as a free kick came into the box. Different penalty-taker, Robertson, but same result. Brown dived low to his other post to parry the ball away. That was on 82 minutes, and he was soon in action again saving from a well-struck volley. Dean Powles came on for Britnell, for only his second substitute appearance since the game at Wantage. As 90 minutes came up, the Wantage defender who had been cautioned less than 20 minutes earlier brought Dan Hunt heavily right in front of the Referee. Again just a free-kick, but by now the visitors realised that their night in Bucks would reap no reward. Indeed it ended just after a third caution for their ‘keeper. Who tripped Workman as the eager home forward sensed a possible hat-trick and nicked the ball off the custodian’s toes while he was dealing with a pass-back with a pass-back. Only the fact that Workman was moving away from goal, probably prevented a red card from finally being shown.
As I said in the match report for the game eight weeks ago, occasions i.e., wins like this, need to be savoured. Huge odds can be overcome with resolute displays if our opponents have problems of their own
Team: Brown, Oscar Harrison, Michael Duffy, Curtis Stone ©, Dean Munday, Ryan Parsons, Fifield, Hunt, Britnell, Scott, Workman.
Substitutes Used: Wooster, Kotwica, & Powles.
Substitutes Not Used: Joffy Cox, & Tom Wilson (GK)