IT WAS not the fairy tale ending Dan Bateman and Matt Eggleston would have been hoping for.
The pair brought their three-year reign as joint managers of the Sumas to an end shortly after this last-gasp defeat to near neighbours Binfield on Monday night, with both taking the decision to stand down from the role.
And with their departure also came the end of Wokingham’s recent stronghold in the Reading Senior Cup, a trophy the club’s name has consecutively adorned the past four years.
Bateman and Eggleston had lifted the silverware two seasons running, with Binfield boss Roger Herridge winning it the other two times prior to his switch to Hill Farm Lane back in 2013.
Visits to the Madejski Stadium, therefore, had become a regular date in the Wokingham calendar, but a fifth successive outing will not be happening in 2016.
This is because a goal two minutes from time from substitute Jean-Claude Etienne saw the hosts to a semi-final clash with Highmoor Ibis on Saturday (3pm).
And it was some finish from the Frenchman, too, who showed great composure when winning a foot race with James Charlton to a long ball over the top before steadying himself and burying the ball in the far corner.
“I thought we deserved to win that game,” said Herridge afterwards.
“I thought we started really, really well, but our final ball probably let us down a bit, but I thought at 1-0 in front we have got them (Wokingham) where we wanted them and if we scored a second goal when on top in the first half I think we would have gone on to win the game more comfortably.
“But they get themselves an equaliser and it becomes a a different game. And what I can say about them is they have got a lot of players in there I have known for a long while and they stick together, work hard and make things difficult for you.
“They defended well and I thought they hung in and had chances on the back of great balls in from (Josh) Pearson – I thought he gave them great quality – but what a great time to score (the winner).”
A game between two rivals playing their second game in the space of three days and fourth in a week struggled to get going during the early exchanges – and it was from the first real opportunity of the night when the deadlock was broken on 24 minutes.
Scored in a similar fashion to Etienne’s winner, another ball over the top caused the visitors problems.
The returning Charlton was this time hustling with Liam Ferdinand and would again come out second best, with the striker going on to power his way past the defender and Sean Woodward in the Wokingham goal before notching into an empty net.
In reply, the guests saw Charlton head narrowly wide from a corner and Pearson drive a shot straight into the welcoming hands of Binfield ‘keeper Nathan Silver.
But a Wokingham side looking to end the year on a high following relegation from the Hellenic Premier Division have a real weapon in Luke Scope, yet up until this point he had seen very little of the game.
It was, however, the powerful striker who would level things up just on the stroke of half time – but not before running the Binfield back four ragged.
Scope’s power and pace pulled the opposition this way and that and also yielded a chance which he put over and another which Silver did well to block.
Wokingham were now asking the questions and would go close to levelling things up again when Elliot Rushforth pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, but Silver this time producing a smart stop and turned the ball out for a corner.
But the Sumas would be contained no more and squared things up on 43 minutes.
A Sam Bateman knock on was lobbed by Jake Butler in the direction of Scope, who used his strength to get the better of Alex Luis inside the box and create the opening needed to drill a low shot beyond Silver and inside the near post.
In looking to capitalise on a strong finish to the half, the visitors sacrificed Bateman for Jake Wheeler during the interval, but an extra injection of pace up top failed to produce the desired affect.
This was more down to the fact the second session became a war of attrition, although Wheeler almost cashed in when a Pearson cross caused panic in the Binfield box, only for Silver to do enough to put the replacement off when trying to pounce on a loose ball.
In trading missed opportunities, Josh Howell was unlucky not to put the hosts back in front with a curling effort following a driving run inside from the left flank.
There was nothing to separate the sides in terms of effort and determination as the game neared extra time, although Binfield were beginning to up the ante – and it was here when Etienne would strike the decisive blow.
“On Saturday (against Longlevens) Ferdinand, Brad Brown and him (Jean-Claude) all scored so it was difficult to know who to start,” added Herridge.
“(Wokingham) have had a bit of a stranglehold on this competition and in the final last year (a 2-1 defeat) we were absolutely mugged, so maybe this was a little bit of payback.”
BINFIELD: Silver, Broome, Luis, Withers, M Walton, Leonetti, Howell, Gibbs, Ferdinand, B Brown (Etienne), Knight
Subs not used: Adams, Horscroft, Davis, Vaughan
WOKINGHAM AND EMMBROOK: Woodward Carter Parsons Day (c) Charlton Pearson (Broadhurst) Whiting Rushforth Scope Butler S.Bateman (Wheeler)
Subs: Wheeler, Broadhurst, Stewart, McNelly