A MUCH-CHANGED Woodcote/Stoke Row side crashed to their second Reading League Senior Division defeat of the season at Sandhurst Devels on Saturday.
The visitors took the game to Sandhurst in a bright opening spell in which Frank Dillon was prominent and James Worsfold missed a gilt-edged chance with a free header from a corner.
With the visitors’ superiority not being turned into goals, Sandhurst gained in confidence and took the lead on 22 minutes when keeper Mark Pearson misjudged the flight of the ball and allowed a speculative shot to bounce over his head into the empty net.
After a stern half-time lecture from manager Pete McAlister, the visitors still struggled to find a foothold in the game in the second half.
The hosts increased their lead on 60 minutes when Woodcote gave the ball away in the Sandhurst half and then allowed Tom Evans to run through four tackles and finish low and hard past Mark Pearson.
At 2-0 down Woodcote started to create chances. Frank Dillon continued to find space on the left flank and one cross could have been headed home when Paul Knox beat the keeper but headed over the bar.
Moments later Knox went on a mazy run beating three players in the box but screwed his low shot just wide of the far post.
After 68 minutes Woodcote reduced the arrears when a right wing cross from Adam Burgess was controlled by Jake Dillon with his back to goal. In one movement he swivelled and lobbed the keeper with the ball hitting the far post and bouncing in to make it 2-1.
This goal gave the visitors new belief and chances started to come with Jake Dillon, James Worsfold and Adam Burgess all having strikes on goal.
Woodcote were once again undone by their own ineptitude and a little bad luck. Gareth Evans decided to pass back to his keeper and woefully under hit the pass, Mark Pearson sprinting out could only kick the ball at the onrushing Sandhurst player, it bounced off his shin and trickled all the way back into the unguarded net for 3-1.
In desperation, Woodcote mounted a series of attacks and another bit of Jake Dillon skill earned a penalty which he coolly dispatched.
In the remaining five minutes Sandhurst were forced to defend in numbers but they held out to take all three points.
lWOODCOTE/STOKE ROW RESERVES’ first experience of the Maidenhead Norfolkian Cup proved short as they were dumped out of the competition losing 5-0 in the Reserve Section to BARKHAM ATHLETIC.