Following Lincoln City’s incredible FA Cup win at Premier League Burnley, we thought we’d reminisce about the Imps part in Bracknell Town’s modern history.
The draw for the first round of the FA Cup always brings with it a pang of nostalgia.
It’s hard to believe that anyone aged 16 will have no idea that on Saturday 18th November 2000 Bracknell Town walked out at Sincil Bank in front of 2,387 to face Lincoln City in the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first and only time.
It was an incredible day. Coach loads of supporters, around 500 headed up to Lincolnshire to watch the Robins after an equally astonishing fourth qualifying round win over Aylesbury United.
Even back in ’00 I don’t recall the draw being televised. We would have found out I suspect off either the excellent robins.org.uk (Bracknell has a history of great football websites) or Ceefax.
I remember finding out we’d been drawn against Lincoln City who were then in Division 3 of the football league.
Bracknell were in Ryman League Division 3 at the time, a gap of four divisions and I remember thinking it unlikely we’d get anywhere. BUT the Imps weren’t having a great season. In the lower reaches of the league and maybe, just maybe there was a chance.
The starting XI that day had a young goalie in Lee Cobby – unbeatable against Aylesbury and deputising for the injured Martin Hutt.
He’d need another game of his life to keep Bracknell in it – I remember his performances led to trials at (I think) Southampton and Ipswich Town.
The side also featured a couple of future managers, Keith Penicott-Bowen in midfield and Danny Oliphant – a young cultured attacking midfielder at the time.
Danny O in fact had Bracknell’s only shot on target and there was also winger Mark Franks who’d been part of the famous Woking side that beat West Bromwich Albion in the third round in 1991 – GetSurrey did a lovely piece on that anniversary here.
If anyone knows the confirmed Bracknell line up but I’ve found two versions, one from the Wokingham Times, the other from 11v11.com
Bracknell Town (Wokingham Times): Lee Cobby, Giles Marchant, Mickey Parker, Keith Pennicott-Bowen, Brian Bere, Kevin Brown, Mark Franks, Dave Osgood, John Smith (sub Micky Havermans), Danny Oliphant, Gary Holzman (sub Steve Nebbett). Subs not used: Justin Day.
Bracknell Town (11v11.com): Lee Cobby, Brian Bere, Kevin Brown, Peter Skerritt, Ben Edwards, Danny Oliphant, Mark Franks (Micky Havermans), Gary Holzman (Micky Parker), Dave Osgood, Keith Pennicott-Bowen (Lloyd Page), John Smith.
UPDATE: Mark Tallentire has confirmed to us that the 11v11 line up is correct. Giles Marchant was suspended for the match after being sent off in the fourth qualifying round.
Lincoln City: Alan Marriott, Jason Barnett, Grant Brown, Peter Gain, Paul Mayo, John Schofield (Grant Pinkney), Paul Smith, John Finnigan, Richard Peacock, Gavin Gordon (David Cameron), Lee Thorpe (Tony Battersby).
The road to the first round
What a run. You never know when a Cup run might hit. It started slowly but I still remember John Smith’s header agains Hillingdon Borough, and in a twist of fate Bracknell knocked out 2016 first round debutants Merstham on the way to their own date with history.
HILLINGDON BOROUGH (A) 3-1
First Qualifying Round
ASHFORD TOWN (KENT) (A) 2-1
Second Qualifying Round
MERSTHAM (H) 3-1
Third Qualifying Round
BANSTEAD ATHLETIC (H) 1-0
Fourth Qualifying Round
AYLESBURY UNITED (H) 1-0
First Round Proper
LINCOLN CITY (H) 0-4
Then, as now Mark Tallentire is the Bracknell manger. Albeit at the time it was a co role with his brother Clive.
Equally, Steve Nebbett is back on the bench barking encouragement. Just as he was in 2000.
I remember very little about the game. I remember the first Lincoln goal, Peter Gain. After that it’s a blur. Reality took hold, the players looked like they were enjoying the stage and it was a raucous crowd.
Danny O went oh so close to netting us a dream goal. We lost 4-0, but nobody cared. It was a great day out watching ‘little Bracknell’ play in a proper football ground.
Lincoln City’s goalscorers? Peter Gain on 7 minutes, Richard Peacock on 16 minutes, a Brian Bere own goal on 43 minutes and Gavin Gordon 60 minutes.
What would have happened now?
The late great Jack Quinton would almost certainly have been interviewed on Football Focus.
I’m pretty sure Dave Mihell and Cliff McFadden would’ve been broadcast live into homes around the country on BT Sport at the first round draw.
We’d get score notifications on the Sky Sports app and be able to watch the highlights on iPlayer.
And the game itself? That’d have been recorded for posterity in full HD!