Trailing 1-0 from a lack-lustre first-half, Wimborne came storming back to score 4 times against a young Staines side to bag a crucial 3 points on their first ever visit to Wheatsheaf Park.
With manager Matty Holmes unable to travel, assistant manager Danny Holmes and coach Shane Traynor made one change from the team which beat Merthyr the previous weekend, Curtis Young starting instead of the not fully fit Luke Burbidge. Only three of Staines’ starting XI from their 1-0 defeat at the Koolpak in November, remained.
On what looked a decent surface on the large pitch, Wimborne started brightly. On 5 minutes home keeper Louis Dixon reached Toby Holmes’ through ball for Franklyn Clarke first, before Carl Pettefer, Toby and Clarke combined to create a close-range shooting opportunity for Toby which Dixon saved, with Clarke firing the rebound over. At the other end, Luca Charles-Valentine was inches away from finding the target from the edge of the penalty area.
As Wimborne looked to play Toby in behind the Staines defence, the quality on the final ball was lacking, with keeper Dixon ready to race quickly off his line. The closest the visitors came in the first half was on 33 minutes. Young’s cross from the right was deflected over Dixon by defender Jordan Harrison but the ball came back off the cross-bar and away to safety.
Two minutes later, Wimborne lost the ball in mid-field, Staines counter-attacked, and the ball was fed through to Charles-Valentine who clinically beat Benfield from 15 yards to open the scoring.
Wimborne responded with a header from Matt Oldring, and shots by Young and Clarke, but the first 45 minutes will not linger long in the memory.
However, the second period will, as a determined Wimborne came racing out of the blocks. Luke Holmes fired over on 46 minutes, and then wide 2 minutes later. Dixon just beat Toby to a lobbed through ball, and Young shot wide from a quick throw-in. Following a corner on 54 minutes, Staines conceded a foul just outside the penalty area in line with the left post – Billy Maybury territory! The skipper confidently stepped-up and left Dixon motionless to level the scores.
Luke Burbidge immediately replaced Clarke. But two minutes later the hosts regained the lead. A free-kick, 10 yards inside the Wimborne half, was hit high into the box, and with Gerard Benfield caught in no-mans land, captain Gradi Milenge’s header looped into the unguarded net.
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man”, it was Burby-time. On 61 minutes his cross from the right was scrambled away, and three minutes later his trickery on the by-line led to a corner. It was half-cleared to the left from where Maybury’s cross was headed home by Oldring to equalise again.
On 69 minutes Burbidge’s low cross from the right caused panic in the goal area. Maybury’s shot was saved but Burbidge was in the right place to score from the rebound, and Wimborne were ahead for the first time.
A Sam Davidson block, and clearing headers from Oldring and James Stokoe denied Staines as more free-kicks were aimed at Milenge.
On 82 minutes Burbidge sent Toby through on the right, but Dixon saved at the near post. A minute later Wimborne were reduced to 10 men. Although Maybury appeared to win the ball on the right, referee Ablitt deemed it not only a foul but also worthy of a yellow card, the second he’d shown to the player.
Could Wimborne hold out for the remaining 10 minutes or so? The answer came in the 86th minute. Burbidge sent Toby away down the inside-right channel, and the prolific striker scored with aplomb.
There was still time for Dixon to make another good save from Toby, for that man Burbidge to fire across the face of the goal, and for Benfield to make a sprawling save from Constantinou, but Wimborne’s improved second-half performance deserved all three points.
Graham Dunn reports.
Wimborne: Benfield, Penny, Maybury, Davidson, Oldring, Pettefer, Stokoe, Clarke (Burbidge 55), T.Holmes, Young, L.Holmes (Lee 89)
Unused subs: Collins, Francis, Owen