The visitors for the First Round of the Buildbase FA Vase on Saturday were Cheltenham Saracens from Division 1 West of the Hellenic League. Dan Bateman and Matt Eggleston had a full squad lined up and must have instilled positive ideas into the team because they set off with determination from kick-off and earning a big 4-0 win.
Although Saracens took an early goal kick and reached the host’s penalty area, the Sumas quickly returned and put the defence under pressure in their penalty area and when there was a man down, Sumas appealed for a penalty but play continued with Dan Carter in a crowd close up easing the ball over the line in the third minute. Saracens found themselves back in the Sumas’ half and Sean Woodward made a useful save.
Sumas worked their way back into opposition territory with Jake White close to goal and with some space around him, he was toppled over by Luke Hitchman. White converted the penalty from the spot in the 10th minute. Saracens seemed somewhat subdued but edged up into the Sumas and Paul Holmes picked his target, missing by inches with his mid-distance shot at the top corner of the near post.
Marcus Guest took a free-kick which Sumas chased along the right-wing as Joe Cummuskey rose to meet the incoming ball, he was beaten to it and Sumas took a corner kick. Somehow the Saracens continued to counter but Woodward was in the right place to clear and the visitors were forced back into the middle of the field but countered once again with Iain Sercombe rising for a header which went direct to Woodward who was injured in the next approach by Saracens following a free kick to them.
Sumas advanced busily down the right-wing then Chris Byrne was clear of defenders and took a shot at the Saracens goal but missed. Sumas concluded the first half when a free-kick was steered behind by a defender for a corner kick. With a 2 goal lead at half-time, Sumas had to anticipate sustaining similar pressure for the second half.
Saracens started positively and Sercombe leathered the ball from close range unsuccessfully. Sumas used the space available to move up-field with a counter attack by Saracens being halted by off-side.
Josh Harris was fouled and Sumas took a free kick and lost possession when Saracens mounted a counter. Regaining the ball, Sumas pushed forward until Will Day netted the ball from close range in the 58th minute. The visitors lost some composure and Jake White was tripped by Hitchman but after the Sumas’ free kick, Saracens took control of the ball and had a good chance of scoring but a hoof out of the area cleared the ball although the visitors made another approach with a free kick as the players pushed up-field and thus missed another chance.
When Saracens had another free-kick, they missed again when the ball was over-hit. From a free-kick, Saracens introduced substitutes and Sumas made changes as the game progressed through the last quarter and the Cheltenham substitute missed a real sitter from right in front of goal which rose as high as a Gary Owen and nobody else could have achieved that when all it needed was a tap into the net.
Elliott Roberts, in goal for Saracens, prevented a fourth goal with a good save and followed that with a diving save from a shot by Jake White. James Clark was Sumas’ third substitute replacing Luke Scope with a mere few minutes plus additional time. Wokingham & Emmbrook move on to the next round as Saracens returned to Cheltenham somewhat crestfallen.
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Woodward. (GK), Carter, Day, Guest, Cummuskey, Mullan, Byrne, Scope, White, Harris. Subs from: O’Connell, Rushforth, Clark, Badshah, Collier.