Last night’s 3-0 win over Royal Wootton Bassett Town ensured Bracknell Town will finish in 14th position in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier League with one game left to play.
On the one hand, an utterly remarkable achievement given the club were almost cut adrift with neighbours Wokingham & Emmbrook at the bottom of the league on 26th October when Tallentire took over, but on the other a disappointment considering the Robins finished 9th last season with a record Hellenic League points haul of 56 for the club.
Last season the Robins reliable game plan was based around a solid squad with two outstanding performers in Shane Cooper-Clark and goalkeeper Garry Aulsberry.
Garry kept ’em out, Shane banged ’em in.
But manager Keith Penicott-Bowen also fostered an excellent team spirit that saw the introduction of a number of youngsters to the first team squad including George Lock and Elliott Garrington.
Unfortunately, a tough start to this season saw the Robins face three of the four expected title challengers Highworth Town (boy were we wrong there!), Thatcham Town and Flackwell Heath with defeats to each, and a sum total of zero points from the opening five games – effectively stalling any of the previous seasons momentum.
Bracknell did embark on a decent FA Cup run, winning through two rounds and eventually bowing out to step four opposition Shortwood United in a frenetic game.
Change at the top
Even when the new board announced the managerial change, it was hard to see how Bracknell would haul themselves out of trouble without a major unbeaten run.
Turns out that was just what happened..
A 6-0 win over Frilsham & Yattendon in the Reading Senior Cup in December sparked a mini-revival of four wins in a row before the main event – a 10 game unbeaten run from mid-February to the end of March – the run effectively sealed Bracknell’s survival all but mathematically and the Robins secured their survival with games to spare in undramatic fashion – a 1-0 defeat to Longlevens, but results elsewhere ensuring Tallentire’s side couldn’t be caught.
Add in to that the 20 goals for Adam Cornell after a slow start, the emergence of Ben Poynter as a potent goalscoring threat and the additions of Jamie McClurg, George Short and the continued development of youngsters like Lock and Sean Hanley would suggest that any threat of relegation next season should be unthinkable.
Main photo credit: Neil Graham.