Sumas boss Bateman eyes County Cup triumph

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WOKINGHAM & Emmbrook manager Dan Bateman says it is the clubs ambition to go and win the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy after they qualified for the semi-finals of the competition last weekend. 

The Sumas booked their place in the last four with a penalty shootout win against Buckingham Athletic after the sides were locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes. 

“We’ve got this far and now we’d love to get to go and have a day out at the final and win it,” said Bateman.

 “We know that if we turn up and perform that we can get to the final and that’s our aspiration now to get there and win the cup. But any other team will have the same aims. 

“It’s nice to win a penalty shootout for a change as we’ve lost the last couple. I was pleased with us. 

“They (Buckingham Athletic) were a strong, physical side with decent players. I said to my lads before the game that we needed to compete with them for 60, 65 minutes and then i thought our quality would tell and the game did pan out like that. 

“It was a real battle and then in the last 20 minutes I felt that it was all us. We probably didn’t work their keeper enough, but had it gone to extra-time, I feel like we would have won as they were starting to hang on a little bit.

“Then it goes to the lottery of penalties and luckily we got through.” 

“Out of the five first takers that stepped up for us, two of them were full backs, but they were confident to take them and they both scored. 

“It’s good to be able to rotate the squad and give people opportunities we have 18 or 19 in our squad but are only allowed to name 16 for a matchday, so the cup has been a good respite for us and allowed us to get players fit after injury.” 

Bateman heaped praise on his players who held their nerve to successfully guide the Sumas through a tricky tie after goalkeeper Sean Woodward heroically kept out three spot kicks.

“The advantage of going to penalties is that we’ve got such a good keeper in Woody, I’ve known him since I was very young and he always saves a couple in a shootout,” continued Bateman.

“He saved three on Saturday and ultimately that was the difference. 

“I left it up to the players to decide who was going to take the penalties. When it goes to sudden death, you’re looking for people to step up and take responsibility. 

“It’s either Sandhurst, Wantage Reserves or Penn & Tyler’s in the semi-finals. Whoever gets that far in the competition is going to be a good side so we know it won’t be an easy draw but from a selfish point of view we’d like to get a home tie. 

The Sumas busy fixture schedule continues as they turn their attention back to the league as they host Kidlington Development on Saturday before travelling to third placed Milton United on Tuesday evening. 

“Kidlington will be a tough game. We played them earlier in the season, we scored three in quick succession against them after a tough opening 50 minutes to put the game to bed.

“There wasn’t much between us but we were clinical, they don’t concede an awful lot. We need to score more as a team. If you look at our recent results, we’re not conceding many, but were not scoring many either.

Bateman’s team are currently in seventh in the Hellenic League Division One East, but have plenty of games in hand over the sides above them in the division.

“On Saturday we had six players injured so I had to call up a lad from the reserves to get a squad of 14. 

“When you start playing two or three games a week, it gets difficult but we’re glad that we’ve still got plenty to play for, but ultimately it is difficult to play catch up. 

 “We’re starting to get a few players back. Joe Cummuskey has been out for two months and Josh Harris has been out for the best part of two and a half months. They’re big players to come back in for us. Jake White, who is our top scorer, will be out for another month or so.

“Milton had a difficult start to the season, but if you took the first month out, their results are right up there with Risborough at the top. 

“Whenever you go there it’s not easy, the ground is open to the elements so it always seems to be wet and windy, they play a  really good style of football and don’t lose many at home but we’re looking forward to it. 

“If we can come out of the next two games with four points or more, I will be delighted.

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