Having picked up only one point over the Easter period, the Greens again made changes to the squad by recalling Paul Jones
, whilst giving debuts to Southend United youngsters Jack Paxman
and Ryan Auger.
Both teams came into the game desperate for the three points - Soham to secure their League status whilst Wakering had a slender chance of staying up. It was a quiet opening to the game with no real goalmouth action at ever end and the majority of the play was taking place in the midfield. Neil Andrews
was the first to attempt a shot at goal in the 16th minute, but Godwin-Green easily held his shot from distance before Cotton dragged Ogbonna’s cross narrowly wide of the far post. The hosts broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when Captain Michael Simpson
turned Cotton’s corner home from six yards out with the ball going in off the underside of the bar. However the lead didn’t last for long with Rovers equalising with their first meaningful attack a minute later when Jay Nash followed up after Bircham had parried Hawkins’ shot from the edge of the area. After this, Auger did well to get back into his own area and make a last ditch challenge to deny Johnson, whilst up the other end, Ogbonna had a strike blocked and Paxman fired low into the side netting. But with eleven minutes of the half remaining, Wakering took the lead when Billy Johnson curled a shot from the edge of the area wide of Bircham. There was still time before the end of the half for the visitors to nearly further their lead as Trenkel headed over from Stanley’s freekick, whilst Hawkins had a low shot at Bircham after cutting in from the wing.
The scores were level again two minutes after the restart with the same pairing combining as the first goal as Simpson scored his second when he headed in Cotton corner. Just before the hour mark, Motley cleared Nash’s effort from in front of his own line, whilst Holmes cleared off his own line minutes later up the other denying Simpson his hat-trick from another Cotton corner. Bircham tipped Johnson’s freekick from wide on the right over his own bar before Wakering scored for the third time midway through the half when Manager Dan Trenkel powered a shot past Bircham after the keeper had punched a clearance into his path. Both keepers then tipped shots over their own bar from Paxman and Holmes before Simpson headed wide and Brown had a shot pushed round the post by Godwin-Green. But with two minutes of the game remaining, the Greens were awarded a penalty by the linesman when he indicated a defender had handled Cotton’s delivery into the area. After a short delay, during which time Hawkins was cautioned for dissent, Dan Cotton
powered his spot kick wide of Godwin-Green who guessed the correct side - This was the attacker’s tenth goal of the season. Soham nearly snatched a dramatic late winner in injury time, but the keeper came rushing off his line to clear from in front of substitute Davis.
This late goal was not enough to secure Great Wakering’s League status and have been relegated. Soham now have to beat Ilford, the side directly below the Greens in the table, next weekend or Maldon and Tiptree on the final day of the season to make sure they remain at this level next season.
Soham Town Rangers
D. Bircham, P. Jones (S. Davis 84), JP. Duncliffe, M. Bromwich, J. Motley, M. Simpson, D. Cotton, N. Andrews, D. Ogbonna (J. Brown 81), J. Paxman (J. McCabe 81), R. Auger
: A. Fernandez, L. Shipp
Great Wakering Rovers
L. Godwin-Green, J. Gibson, J. Carlile, L. Sparrow, N. Skelton, D. Stanley, D. Trenkel, J. Nash, A. Hawkins, B. Johnson
: J. Okai, D. Williams, M. Drury, A. Webb
: (1-2) 3-3
: M. Simpson (21, 47), D. Cotton (Pen 89)
: J. Nash (22), B. Johnson (34), D. Trenkel (66)
: B. Johnson (Foul 69), A. Hawkins (Dissent 88)