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The ICYMI festive round up: From promotion challenges to big departures

A tough defeat for Bracknell Town and resurgent Ascot United lose key striker

The ICYMI festive round up: From promotion challenges to big departures

We’ve all been busy over the festive period as well as taking a well earned break – not least us here at FootballinBracknell, so we thought we’d bring you up to speed on what happened in a busy 10 days that included two major player departures to clubs at higher levels and a defeat for promotion chasing Bracknell Town at the Hellenic Premier Division leaders.

Bracknell Town’s promotion hopes take a knock

While the promotion race is far from over with two spots up for grabs, Bracknell’s challenge for the title is looking slightly more unlikely after Highworth Town’s 1-0 win over the Robins extended the Wiltshire sides lead over Jeff Lamb and Paul McGrotty’s side to 19 points.

Bracknell do have four games in hand and a rematch with Highworth at Larges Lane to come but will undoubtedly focus on wrestling second spot from Thatcham Town who they have three games in hand over and are 11 points behind. In the short term at least attention will turn to Saturday’s FA Vase Fourth Round tie at Blackfield & Langley on Saturday.

Ben Harris departs Ascot United with seven goals in seven games

A goalscorer was what the Yellamen needed and when Ben Harris’s international clearance finally came through a goalscorer is what they got. Harris played seven times and scored seven goals after making his debut against Tuffley Rovers on 18th November including a brace and hat trick in consecutive games against Brimscombe & Thrupp and Fairford Town.

Harris scored another double as he helped boss Neil Richards side to a 4-2 win over former club Windsor (see our full Neil Graham gallery from that game here) in what proved to be his final game before a transfer up two levels to Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division side Slough Town.

Ascot picked up 10 points during Harris’s time at the Racecourse Ground, a haul that lifted the Yellamen from bottom of the Hellenic Premier Division to 16th in the table but much will depend on how Richards side adapts to the loss of the former New Zealand league champion – who scored on his debut for Slough on New Years Day.

Binfield looking upwards thanks to festive double

Roger Herridge’s side won both their festive fixtures to extend the gap over seventh placed Brimscombe & Thripp to five points. The Moles won 3-2 at home to Fairford Town with Ian Davies netting the winner and his 150th goal for the club before Christmas while a 3-1 win over Royal Wootton Bassett Town was secured the day before New Years Eve – a fine turnaround of the 7-3 scoreline Bassett inflicted on them in the reverse fixture.

Charley Tuttle makes the step up to the Conference South

Announced on New Years Day, Binfield confirmed that full back Charley Tuttle has been snapped up by Vanarama National League South side Havant & Waterlooville. The Hampshire side tweeted: “We are proud to announce the signing of Charley Tuttle. The 19 year old left back has played for Chelsea, Reading & Oxford United. Welcome Charley”.

Tuttle played 22 times for Binfield during the season and scored twice including this free kick that eluded everyone at home to Burnham.

A big second half of the season coming up for Bracknell Sunday League sides

Our Sunday League writer Tony Hardy has had his say on the second half of the Bracknell Town & District Sunday League season and has predicted that Crowthorne Inn – in only their second season together – will continue to challenge for honours at the top of the Premier Division. Hardy writes: “Crowthorne have set the bar for the rest and currently lead the table by 5 clear points ahead of a re-formed William Twigg Vets team. The big question is, with such strong competition for the title, can they hold on?”

The other big contender impressing Hardy is Warfield United who he is backing for a league (Division 2) and Junior Cup double while he’s backing FC Meta to lift the Senior Cup. He writes: “FC Meta are the first team to have made it into the hat for the semi-final draw, having beaten holders Morale Madrid 3-0 at the quarter-final stage.”

The next rounds of Hellenic Premier Division, FA Vase and Hellenic League Division 1 East fixtures take place on Saturday 6th January. We’ll have all the build up to those games in the coming days on the website. Stay tuned!

Main image: Bracknell Town manager Jeff Lamb deep in thought by Neil Graham.

Tom Canning

<p>Tom is the co-editor of FootballinBracknell. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Trinity Mirror.</p><br />

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