Firsts Win At Fairford
Hard Fought Win
Wantage travelled to bottom club Fariford on Saturday but were unable to reproduce the performance of the Highworth win as they struggled to get past some dogged defending and had to come from behind to claim the points.
Neither side was able to craft an opening of note in the first 20 minutes or so, Fairford pulling one shot wide being the best chance of that period.
As Wantage struggled to find any rhythm to their game it was fairly inevitable that the hosts would take the lead, which they duly did in the 23rd minute when new signing Dan Bailey headed home from a corner.
It was probably the stick in the ribs that Wantage needed and they started to grow into the game. Steve Robertson had a half-heated penalty claim waved away in the 26th minute, and Mark Flanagan fired wide from a corner three minutes late.
The Wantage pressure was definitely building with further efforts from Flanagan, Robertson and Jim Glover either blocked or saved, and the equaliser finally came a minute before the interval. Glover pounced as Fairford dallied on the ball, and having won possession set Robertson away who held off his marker before rolling the ball past keeper Josh Langley.
The momentum remained with the away side in the second half, but the home defence were in no mood to allow them free passage. Robertson saw his shot from a Jack Dunmall cross blocked, and Flanagen could only fire the rebound over the bar on 47 minutes.
Nick Thorne’s persistence won Wantage a couple of corners on the trot on the hour mark that came to nowt, Glover had a well-struck shot held by Langley four minutes later, and Ben Willoughby put wide in the 67th minute.
It was starting to look as though it was going to be one of those days, but then Wantage manged to take the lead on 79 minutes. Substitute Jack Powell, who moments before had switched out to the right wing, cut inside and met a Dunmall pass in from the left to fire low past Langley.
Powell came close again on 88 minutes when he controlled a Robertson cross on his chest before volleying goal-wards, only for Langley to tip over his crossbar.
The third goal came a minute later, Dunmall also controlling with his chest with his back to goal before swivelling and firing a hook-shot over Langley who couldn’t react in time.
Overall Wantage made hard work of the win, even though by the end of the game it was well deserved, and the three points were enough to move them up to fourth in the table.
Next up is a home game with Longlevens on Tuesday, 7:45pm kick-off, before the second round of the FA Vase on Saturday at home to Melksham.
Wantage: Curtis Meare, Dan Comer, Paul Alder (Jack Powell 62), Ben Willoughby (Mark Threlfall 76), Chris Jackson, Brad Cox, Nick Thorne, Jim Glover, Steve Robertson (Jack Heap 92), Jack Dunmall, Mark Flanagan. Subs n/u: Dan Gardner