Scours Lane, or The Rivermoor Stadium as it is now known, is sandwiched between the Great Western Mainline and the River Thames on the outskirts of Reading, less than a mile and a half from where Elm Park once stood. There is plenty of parking on site but, if it does fill up, there is very limited space anywhere else around the ground. The ground itself has three covered areas, a main seated stand on the IBIS Club side, a stepped covered standing areas behind the car park end goal and another smaller standing shelter behind the dugouts. Entrance to the ground is through a double turnstile from the car park. There is a clubhouse just to the right of the entrance.
I didn't know a lot about the Reading Senior Cup before this game and, to be honest, I still know little about it. What I do know is that Wokingham & Emmbrook have won the trophy five times since 2008/09 season, including four times on the bounce between 2011/12 and 2014/15. As far as I can see, Bracknell have not won the trophy in the past (at least there is no note of it on the Wiki page).
Wokingham suffered relegation from the Hellenic Premier League last term, so they have not played their local rivals in the league this season. However, last season the sides met three times, twice in the league and once in the cup with The Robins coming out on top on every occasion.
The first half offered very little in the way of goalmouth action for the first 39 minutes. In fact, neither goalkeeper was stretched at all in this time. I have to say, I was a little disappointed with Bracknell. They had pushed Thame so hard this season that I was really looking forward to seeing them in action. Maybe the season had been that bit too long? Maybe the Reading Senior Cup isn't the biggest incentive? Either way, The Robins didn't show much in the way of Hellenic Premier title contenders.
Having said that, credit must go to Wokingham & Emmbrook who battled really hard and at no point in the game looked like a team from a lower division than their opponents.
One thing that I can say is that the Great Western Mainline is very busy. The number of trains passing the stadium far outweighed the incidents in the first-half. That is until the 28th minute.
As it happened, this was the first major decision to go against Wokingham but not the last, on a night where nothing went their way.
With 39 minutes on the clock tricky Bracknell winger Kensley Maloney cut inside, into the penalty area. A defender went to challenge and just clipped the winger. To his credit the player did not go down but the referee had seen the clip and immediately pointed to the spot. Once again, by the letter of the law, the referee had the decision right but Sumas must have felt hard done by. That incident could have happened anywhere else on the pitch and, probably, nothing would have been given.
Seb Bowerman stepped up and sent Sean Woodward the wrong way to give Bracknell the lead. 0-1.
That' the way it stayed until half-time.
Ht Wokingham & Emmbrook 0 Bracknell Town 1.
The second half started with, as you would expect, Bracknell in the ascendancy. Sumas, a man light, were leaving one player up front and trying to hit The Robins on the break. You certainly couldn't say that they were pinned in their own half but they were, understandably, seeing less of the ball than in the first half. They did have a big shout for a penalty just before the hour mark but, much to the ire of the Sumas support, the referee waved play on. I'll be honest, I didn't have a clear view of the incident so I can't comment on the penalty claim. However, judging by the way most decisions were going against them, I wasn't surprised that it wasn't given.
Less than 10 minutes later they suffered yet another miscarriage of justice. What looked like a dangerously high tackle on a Sumas defender went unpunished and when the victim launched into the follow-up tackle, a lunge born out of frustration, he clearly fouled the Bracknell player. This free-kick was awarded but the play should have been stopped a few seconds earlier for the first foul. The run salt into the wounds, when the free-kick was delivered it was met powerfully by the head of Carl Withers to make it 0-2 and, effectively, game over.
To their credit, Wokingham & Emmbrook never gave up on the game. They fought on until the final whistle but couldn't force even a consolation goal. Bracknell saw out the game and will go on to play at The Madejski Stadium on Saturday against the winners of Binfield and Woodcote
FT Wokingham & Emmbrook 0 Bracknell Town 2. Probably seen as a harsh result by the Sumas, who did not get the rub of the green at all on the night. However, none of that was the fault of the Bracknell side. They played the game as it should be played and in no way applied any pressure to make the referee give the decisions that he gave. It was just one of those nights.
Wokingham & Emmbrook - @wokingham_sumas
Bracknell Town - @bracknelltownfc