Saracens stuttering league campaign continued on Saturday with a 5-0 drubbing at 3rd place Wantage Town. Saracens manager Gerry Oldham was looking for his team to keep in touch with the league pace setters with an away league. What Oldham got was an inept performance marred by poor individual errors.
All was going well for Saracens from the start, for which they had 80% of play, the movement was good on and off the ball, furthermore chances were created, Moore and Hammond snap shots went close with Saracens looking lively in and around the box and it was just a matter of time before Saracens opened the scoring.
It took Wantage until the 14th min to put together their first real attack which Saracens keeper Griffiths dealt with comfortably.
Saracens immediately broke up the other end and an Elliot Kennedy right wing cross was met with a powerful header from Harlie Price which the Wantage keeper pulled off a superb one handed save for a Saracens corner.
The crowd watching would not believe what was then to come, as Saracens crashed miserably. From the attacking Saracens corner, Wantage broke down the left, an instinctive shot was not defended well enough, the ball was cleared barely out of the area before it was crossed back into the Saracens box, Keeper Griffiths came for the high ball but for some reason whether he lost the ball in the sun or took his eye off the ball!? Dropped the ball to the feet of a waiting Wantage player for an easy 15th min tap in… 1-0
Saracens though went on the attack looking for an immediate equaliser and again good work from Kennedy ‘who was by far, the best Saracens player on the day’ sent a delightful cross into the box but Moore’s strike went just wide.
Wantage scored their second goal seven mins after their first, again a comedy of errors. A direct attacking Wantage long ball was dealt with comfortably enough by Saracens defender Hill, his back pass to Griffiths was comfortable, under no pressure Griffith’s swing of his boot totally miss-kicked the ball, to see it creep into the net to gift Wantage a 2-0 lead after 25mins from where Saracens had dominated up until then.
This obviously knocked the stuffing out of the Saracens players & with their tails up Wantage took full advantage, dominated for the next 15mins. Free-kicks awarded needlessly by Saracens contributed to their downfall. Griffith’s looking to amend his errors did make two double fine saves from close range free kicks but with their top scorer Ethan Moore getting more and more isolated upfront, any attacking options came to nothing.
No half-time changes were made by the Saracens manager, for which he again was looking for a response from his players. At long last his side was eventually getting their influential player Kennedy into the game more often and his burst of speed down the wing left his marker for dead, Kennedy cut inside but saw his shot smash against the post.
Oldham then made a change with a view of giving his top striker Moore, better options and service upfront, Harlie Price being replaced by Josh Swales. Good possession by Saracens then saw good chances by Hammond, Bryan and Kennedy before yet another Wantage sucker punch. A 65th min, 30yd screamer into the roof of the net all but sealed the defeat for Saracens to make it 3-0
With their body language all wrong and a feeling of defeat spreading through the Saracens team it went from bad to worse. Saracens probably gave their manager their worst performance of their season so far!
Wantage was enjoying themselves though and 3-0 soon became 4-0! Again poor ball retention by Saracens allowed a Wantage counter attack down the left hand side, the Wantage winger cut inside into the area and with 3-4 Saracens players around him waltz the ball into the net without a challenge being made…
By now the Saracens players and their watching supporters just wanted the final whistle to blow but still had to endure a fifth goal for Wantage. Quick one-two passing movement phase of play undid the Saracens defence allowing a simple curled shot into the corner to make it a sorry miserable day for Saracens.
FT: Wantage Town 5-0 Cheltenham Saracens
GK: Tim Griffiths, Hill, Slender ‘Capt’ Bryan, Tovey, Carl Griffiths, Price, Sheehan, Hammond, Kennedy, Moore, Swales, Tunnicliff, Betteridge, Raysen