Lowther Road is situated in Emmbrook, a suburb of Wokingham. The football club share the facilities with the local cricket team so, as with my childhood team Stourbridge, the ground is effectively three sided, leaving one side open for the cricket outfield to expand over the football pitch.
The club has only recently returned to Lowther Road following an enforced nomadic period whilst the ground was upgraded to include floodlights (an extended period due to some complications with planning permission for the lights I believe, but this is not the place to get into that subject). Thankfully, the club is now back in the town and today signified a very special occasion, being the first time 20 years the The Town's Team, as they brand themselves, are playing an FA competition back in Wokingham. A great achievement to all associated with the club.
On the far side of the ground are the dugouts and a small covered seting area. theer are no other covered areas around the perimiter, not that it mattered on a warm late Summer's Sunday afternoon.
As far as I could see, this is the first meeting between these sides in any competition. Neither side has that much history in the FA Vase either. The Sumas did make Round 1 in the 2015-16 competition but after beating Shrivenham 6-1 to qualify they went down 3-1 at Hartley Wintney. The Sods have never made it out of the qualifying rounds, losing all three of there previous Vase matches.
The opening encounters of the game were pretty even with the sides testing each other out and getting used to the fairly blustery conditions. We were 15 minutes into the match when Sods winger Jack Parker saw his shot come back off the post with Woodward beaten. To make matters worse, Sumas then immediately broke through the middle. A long ball caused some confusing between defence and goalkeeper allowing Jake White to benefit from the hesitation, take the ball around the keeper and slot it into an empty net. 1-0
The game then ebbed and flowed with both sides playing some good football. Luke Scope and Jake White were a constant thorn in the side of the Sods defence. The home defence looked well organised but had to be constantly on guard to snuff out threats, especially from Sods captain Sam Makepiece and left-sided player Jack Parker.
Just before half-time Sumas thought they had taken a two goal lead when, after a free-kick, Eagles' header was turned into the net only for the assistant to flag for offside.
HT Wokingham & Emmbrook 1 Chipping Sodbury Town 0. A fairly even game across the park in terms of possession. However, the difference has been the forward lines. The Sumas' strikers caused all sort of problems for the Sods defence. The same coudln't be said at the other end.
Conceding the goal seemed to shake Sumas from their slumber and we were then treated to a period where both sides were looking to get their noses in front again.
Chipping Sodbury came very close to scoring again after 84 minuets when a shot crashed against Woodward's bar and flew to safety. Then, almost immediately after that incident The Sods found themselves down to 10 men when Ben Chick picked up a second yellow, presumably for something he said to the referee. To be fair, this had been coming. All through the game there had been some very strange decisions from the official and, especially in the second half, there were constant breaks for his whistle and for him to have a word with various players. I'm all for referees keeping a strong hold on games but this seemed to be overly picky to me and the players, on both sides, were getting more and more frustrated with the decisions.
Sodbury saw out the remaining few minutes of normal time and we were set for an extra 30 minutes.
FT Wokingham & Emmbrook 1 Chipping Sodbury Town 1
The first half of extra-time passed with very little incident. To be fair to The Sods, going down to 10 men didn't seem to affect them too much, or maybe it should be said that Wokingham didn't take advantage of their extra number?
Whatever the case, the first 15 minutes of extra-time produced no change to the scoreline.
Six minutes into the second period extra-time came the deciding moment of the game. A corner from the Sumas left was cleared only as far as Elliott Rushforth on the edge of the box. His low drive flew past Parker's out-stretched right-hand and hit the back of the net. 2-1.
There was no coming back forChipping Sodbury after the goal. Heads didn't go down. They certainly gave it a go, but being down to 10 on a hot day after nearly 2 hours of football, there just wasn't enough left in their tank.
FT ET Wokingham & Emmbrook 2 Chipping Sodbury Town 1
A superb result for The Sumas and my first 'cupset' of the weekend. Wokingham will now entertain Thornbury Town in the next round after the Gloucestershire side beat Cheltenham Saracens 6-2 on Saturday.
Chipping Sodbury can focus on pulling themselves clear of the Western League premier relegation zone.
Wokingham & Emmbrook: Woodward, Carter, Broadhurst, C.Eagle, Day, L.Eagle(c), Harris, Bateman, Scope, White, Holland. Subs: Rushforth, Edwards, Guest, Dean, Byrne
Chipping Sodbury Town: Parker, McMillan, Barrett, Chick, Benzer, Nuevo-Draper, Burman, Brown, Muhammed, Makepiece(c), Parker. Subs: Invernizzi, Ahmed, Henderson, Naylor
Ground Number: 209