New manager Tom Broad got his first win tonight, with a good performance away at local rivals Letcombe. After a lot of rain, Camp Bassett was in near perfect footballing conditions, the ball zipping around a flat surface, the cooler evening helping a couple of the lads still getting up to match fitness. Wantage started this game at much the same pace as our first friendly, good football, creating chances, end product in the final third letting us down. Owen Shaw tested the keeper early with a low left footed shot, with the ball falling to Jordi Davies who couldn’t adjust his feet quick enough to put the rebound in from just a couple of yards.
The Letcombe keeper, Danny Joyce, came to the rescue a few times, notably after Harry Broad broke away down the left and squared a ball to Owen Shaw, his strong right footed shot saved by Joyce who also got up to smother the rebound from Kieran Kerby. Letcombe defended 5 or 6 corners well, before Dan Timbrell surprised them by taking the ball short, and hit the bar with a cracking strike from outside the box. Jack Badger missed the target after a really good solo run in from the left wing, and Kieran Kerby had another shot well blocked after a similar run in from the right. At the other end, the back 4 were defending well, Harry Whitehead making a brave claim from a corner and Tom Eatwell won what we’re quite sure was his 23rdheader of the game. Before the half Jared Jones had another glorious chance to put the visitors ahead with a completely free header at the back stick, unfortunately putting the ball wide.
Within 3 minutes of the second half it was an unlikely candidate to break the deadlock, after a few passes around the back line, Harry Broad galloped forward like a young John O’Shea, played a tidy one-two with Jack Badger and drove into the box, drilling his left footed finish low into the bottom right hand corner. Jordi Davies was unlucky not to double the lead, which didn’t last long. The Letcombe number 11 weights-ed Jack Heggie, the ball falling kindly to the home side, with his strike partner coolly passing the ball into the bottom corner from near the penalty spot. The score 1-1, goalkeeper Harry Whitehead was still confident enough to Cruyff-turn their striker on two separate occasions. Still playing some decent football, still creating chances, still not taking them. Their keeper made a couple of excellent saves after both Kerby and Davies seemed to be clean through, and again after some good footwork and cross from Harry Broad found Jordi Davies, his volley tipped wide for another corner.
On another occasion Jordi rounded the keeper, only to see his cross/shot cleared by a defender. It was going to have to take something special to win this game, and we had to wait until the 75thminute. An Owen Shaw corner finding Luke Stone, another strong header from today’s skipper, beating his man and the keeper. The ex-Letcombe man held back his trademark rolly-polly celebration, out of respect for the club and their fans, who had given him so much previously in his career. Jordan Parrott impressed up top, covering a lot of ground and carving out a few chances. He was unlucky not to make it 3 after closing down the keeper, the resulting tackle/shot going just wide. Luke Stone nearly put the cherry on top of a fine display, cushioning the ball well from a Ben Hummel cross, and trying to finesse a lobbed volley into the top left bin. The ball going just over. Overall some good football, some good chances, pleased with the first win of the campaign.
Man of the Match Harry Broad, looked poor in the warm up, but to be fair, was solid defensively, 2 or 3 really good runs, created a few chances, scored a good goal, thoroughly well deserved.