By Tempest Ward
9 April
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Double number 6

Brendan Matthew (46), Trevan Robinson 53)

With three games left it is unlikely that Egham Town will finish in the second place that gives them a tilt at promotion, especially in the light of results today. Abbey Rangers, who have two games in hand and one point fewer than the Sarnies, hammered North Greenford United 6-0, and Southall, fresh from a 1-1 draw at Runnymede Stadium, came away from Burnham with a 5-0 victory under their belts. Southall sit in second place, have a goal difference 23 better than Egham’s, a game in hand and a run-in that should not present any problems for them once they have played Abbey Rangers at home on Tuesday. They finish with three more fixtures at the Robert Parker Stadium; Spelthorne Sports, Tadley Calleva and Holyport are all likely to go home pointless.
Egham finish their season with a home game against Tadley Calleva, who went to Wembley and won 4-0, then have trips to Reading City on Easter Monday, and Ascot United.
This win, Egham’s 6th double of the season, highlighted the biggest problem they have had all season. They are not clinical enough. While the home form has been wonderful, only Hanworth Villa lowering the home colours, and only nine goals have been conceded, they have the fifth worst home goals scored total. Only Spelthorne Sports and the bottom three sides have managed fewer home goals. For the visit of Wokingham & Emmbrook they had a man advantage after 38 minutes of a goalless first half, and failed to capitalise on a decent start to the second period.
Changes had been made to the starting line-up, Radu Stefanoiaca getting his first start as Adam Humphries was rested, and Luke Maguire making a rare start. Goalkeeper Michael Edegbe was not available, Elgi Pejzo coming in and doing very well. Wokingham & Emmbrook, the Sumas, sit third from bottom but started brightly and came close with a 9th minute attack that saw Haluna Masembe clear the ball off the line. Stefanoiaca featured in the next two notable incidents, being cautioned for a strong challenge on left back Charley Tuttle, then being fouled himself, Ryan Phillips curling his free kick wide. In the 33rd minute Sumas’ Raphael Aklobessi flattened Phillips with a two-footed lunge. The home players were incensed, and there followed a mass gathering for a frank exchange of views at close quarters. Two minutes later, once referee Daniel Whale had consulted with his assistant, the Wokingham man was sent off, as was home coach Dave Rogers. Egham’s keeper Pejzo was cautioned. Four minutes into time added on Stefanoiaca teed up Sandro Costa for a thunderous drive that Sumas’ keeper Lee Johnson saved superbly.
The keeper had no chance a minute into the second half. Stefanoiaca had been replaced by Trevan Robinson, and he won a corner from the restart. Phillips curled the ball to the back post, skipper Reece Yorke rose to head the ball down and Brendan Matthew was deadly from two inches. Five minutes later Robinson was found by Maguire’s through ball but wasted the opportunity. Seconds later he did better, keeper Johnson being punished by a bad ball out which found Maguire, who found the Egham winger for a well placed shot. Sandro Costa shot wide, Matthew’s driven cross was just ahead of Maguire, Matthew came close and Maguire curled a 20 yarder wide just before being replaced by Brendan Trujillo. The sub was unlucky seconds after coming on, crowded out off a Robinson cross and then Robinson, not for the first time, welted the ball over the bar. He kept going, though, winning another corner then, five minutes later, linked with Samad Kazi for an opening snuffed out by visiting skipper Jack Mullan. The game ended just as Robinson took on a Matthew pass before firing a shot that Johnson saved. Then came the final whistle and the second coming together for a frank exchange of views at close quarters. This time no cards were shown. Egham deserved the win, and the retention of third place, but those of us watching were left wondering what other sides in the top half of the table would have managed against a side three off the bottom and down to ten men for the second half. Doubtless this is something Jordan Berry and his team will be pondering, having pledged to continue their fantastic work next season.
EGHAM TOWN: Elgi Pejzo, Samad Kazi, Ryan Phillips, Dan Brown, Reece Yorke (Captain), Haluna Masembe, Radu Stefanoiaca, Jordan Goode-Keeley, Brendan Matthew, Luke Maguire, Sandro Costa. Substitutes: Luke Brophy, Adam Humphries, Ezekiel Williams, Trevan Robinson (Stefanoiaca, HT), Brandon Trujillo (Maguire, 79).

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