In the third meeting of the season between these two sides, Wrecclesham Reserves showed great character to overcome two previous defeats with a disciplined and committed display.
Two goals from Jolyon James and a magnificently struck own goal were enough to send Wrecclesham through to the quarter finals at the expense of a side who had only lost one game in all competitions so far this season.
Wrecclesham started the far brighter side with skipper, Harry Venables, and his midfield cohort, Shaun Canning, pulling the strings in centre midfield. It look less than five minutes for the latter to prise open the opposition defence with a deft through ball that found its way to Simon William Harvey who was unlucky to see his effort glide just past the far post.
Harvey and Layard-Horsfall looked electric in attack, playing with total confidence in each others ability, and it wasn't to be long before the deadlock was broken.
A wonderful clipped through ball from Canning found Layard-Horsfall who showed great composure to stroke the ball home after 20 minutes and give Wrecclesham a thoroughly deserved lead.
Kevon Hy and Tiger formed a new look pairing on the wings and it was great to see that their industry in attack was matched by a willingness to get stuck in defensively and provide support to their full backs. They both created chances for themselves and their team mates and, in truth, The Wolves could consider themselves highly unfortunate not to add to their advantage.
A failure to capitalise on a stunning opening 35 minutes was punished 10 minutes before half time. The Woking winger found space to deliver a cross which pinged around the penalty area before dropping to the feet of their striker who knocked the ball in from close range.
Woking finished the half well and it was only the heroics of Andy Newman that preserves the parity of a 1-1 scoreline. Two stunning saves which looked destined for goal kept Woking at bay, and the half-time whistle was a welcome opportunity to regroup.
As in the first period, Wrecclesham flew out the blocks and Layard-Horsfall saw a blistering long range effort fly agonisingly past the top corner just a couple of minutes in. Tempers began to flair and, on the hour mark, Woking were reduced to ten men following a moment of madness from their centre back.
With emotions at a high, it was hugely satisfying to see Wrecclesham keep their heads and continue playing the fantastic, committed football that had served them so well up to this point in the game.
It was a far more aggressive and physical performance from Wrecclesham which certainly helped them to keep on top of their opposition, and this energy stemmed from a back four who produced arguably their best performance of the season.
Having conceded 25 goals in their previous four games, Jamie Jay Clements and Josh Manley across the back, winning every header and challenge that was put their way. This solid foundation allowed full backs Aaron Randle and Nathan Eales to focus on their own duties at full back, getting forward in support when possible but ultimately limiting the opposition threat from wide areas.
With a man advantage, Wrecclesham continued to turn the screw with chances falling to both Hyman and Tiger who were both denied by decent stops, however it the stalemate was finally broken with 70 minutes on the clock in bizarre fashion.
With the ball spilling across the edge of the area, the Woking centre back threw himself into a powerful slide tackle, catching the ball perfectly as it looped over the despairing keeper and into the top corner. It truly was a stunning effort!
Less than five minutes later and Layard-Horsfall put the game to bed after the Woking keeper rushed out far from his goal, lost the ball, and saw the striker clip a lofted strike from distance into an empty net.
Woking threw men forwards in the dying stages of the game and came close to a second when pushing a big man up top who struck the bar from a looping header.
This is only the first stepping stone in a new journey for the reserves team and, although the level of aggression, discipline, organisation and commitment were second to none, this needs to be carried through into the second half of the season.
Man of the match went to Canning who showed that he's easily as good without the ball as he is with it, winning headers and tackles across the pitch whilst providing the creative spark that helped drive Wrecclesham to success.
Special mention also needs to go to Clements and Manley who were a revelation in the heart of defence, commanding their team mates with a maturity that has rarely been seen this season.
Last updated about 2 years ago
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