By James Coe
Another well-rounded performance from Saints, seeing off Wanderers for the second time in two matches, this time in the cup.
The game started fairly end-to-end, with both teams having a share of chances – the best of which fell to Wanderers in the opening exchanges; Scott Davis denying the opposition strikers on several occasions.
It was Saints who drew first blood though, with excellent pressure from the midfield three. It was Dan White who managed to loop a ball towards Lee Bennett, who in turn showed pace and strength to break through one on one.
Bennett converted with a deft lob to the goalkeeper’s left. 1-0 Saints.
Saints converted again after Tom Partridge was fouled roughly 25 yards from goal. The provider turned the scorer as Dan White stepped up and put the ball into the top right corner in spectacular style.
Dan White then had a goal disallowed, as his second free-kick of the game was ruled out – the linesman judged that James Cox was offside as he jumped over the ball. Still 2-0.
Saints had another chance to make it three, as Kevin Blow played a beautifully weighted ball out to the Saints’ left hand side. Winger James Coe brought the ball down and delivered a deep cross to the arriving Callum McAllister, whose volley was narrowly past the post.
2-0 to Saints at the break.
Saints had created chances in the first half, but still hadn’t found their final gears to see off the match. After pressing well and keeping the ball for longer periods, the second half was looking more like the Saints we have seen over the last few matches.
Ben Gaut came on at right back to replace Phil Thompson as the second half resumed.
The third goal came as Lee Bennett drove down the right hand channel and pulled back a ball towards James Coe. After an initial right footed shot was blocked by the defender, Coe finished with his left just a few yards from goal. 3-0 Saints.
Rich Wilkinson joined the game in the second half and his energy and work rate helped continue Saints’ good pressure and create chances going forward.
There were several opportunities from wide areas, crosses, corners and channel balls, but the Wanderer’s keeper was having an excellent game, denying Saints on several opportunities.
It was Wanderers who managed to draw the next blood, as a snapshot from the edge of the area wrong footed Scott Davis in the Saints goal and found the back of the net. 3-1.
Wanderers began to enjoy a few spells of possession and looked to close in on the Saints’ goal in similar fashion to the game two weeks previous.
The away side struck again, as a low cross from the centre midfielder found the late arriving player at the back post. He tapped the ball home from close range. 3-2.
Jonathan Stobart came on in a more advanced role, adding some additional energy and a more defensive mindset to the right wing.
Saints came agonisingly close as McAllister drove forward and played a ball into the left hand channel. Coe in turn crossed early and it was a whisker away from the diving Wilkinson, who was about an inch away from making it four.
Wilkinson then surged down the right hand side and his pulled back cross was a perfect height for super striker Dan White to head home at the front post. 4-2 to Saints.
Some good football played, with the game being played in a great spirit from both sides. In the end the final quality of the home side and their resolute defending saw Saints take home the spoils.
Line-up: Scott Davis, Phil Thompson, James Cox, Kevin Blow ©, Mark Sephton, Adam Hirsi, Callum McAllister, Dan White, Tom Partridge, Lee Bennett, James Coe Subs: Ben Gaut, Rich Wilkinson, Jonathan Stobart Manager: Mark Sephton
Man of the Match: Dan White – showing why he is a ruthless goalscorer with two goals (one of which was an outstanding free kick) and an assist to help Saints to the win.