Previously unbeaten Thame United were the visitors to Bottom Meadow tonight arriving as both title favourites and as a side who had scored in every single league game but they were shut out by Bracknell Town who deservedly took the three points with a goal in each half.
In what was described by us at FootballinBracknell as a pivotal week in Bracknell Town’s season, a draw could have seen the Robins trail Thame by five points in the title race if both sides then won all games in hand and defeat tonight didn’t even bear thinking about.
However, big players produce good performances and every home player was brilliant, led by Kensley Maloney – our man of the match. Chris Grace made a fantastic penalty save, Adam Cornell took his goal very well but every player can be proud of their endeavour this evening.
With Andrew Gledhill and Lynton Goss scoring 52 goals between them and with Cornell and TJ Bohane finding the net 36 times, goals were expected but it took until the 45th minute for Bracknell to open the scoring but it was not for the want of trying.
Pretty much the entire first half was the Robins on the attack but goalkeeper Henry Craven stood firm and he was helped by the post once.
On eleven minutes, Bohane turned Matt Johnson but Craven made a fine point blank save from Cornell’s header before blocking Maloney’s follow up effort.
Watch Seb Bowerman’s first half penalty:
Cornell dragged a shot wide from an acute angle and Maloney stung Craven’s palms with a long range effort and it was all the Robins. Goss had the first chance for Thame in the 25th minute but it hit the side netting with Grace watching it go wide. Six minutes later and Grace was alert to smother Goss’ shot.
It could have and maybe should have been an opening goal on 36 minutes when Maloney’s deep cross was headed by Seb Bowerman who beat Craven but saw his effort strike the far right post.
With it looking likely that the sides would enter the break level, Bracknell were awarded a 44th minute penalty. Jamie McClurg’s shot was not held by Craven and Johnson fouled Maloney as he was about to connect with the loose ball.
A minute later after a few protests, Bowerman coolly stepped up and fired in the spot kick beating Craven to his left.
Half Time: Bracknell Town 1 – 0 Thame United
After the interval, a Thame fightback was expected but it was the home side on top for the early part. Maloney saw a shot blocked before Cornell headed over McClurg’s free-kick
Around the hour mark though, the visitors ramped up the pressure and began causing problems.
Tom Ashworth headed over Johnson’s cross whilst Derek Feyi’s shot was blocked by Dave Hancock.
In the 75th minute, United were awarded a penalty with Carl Withers adjudged to have fouled but Grace guessed right, dived to his right and pushed Gledhill’s penalty past his right post.
Less than a minute later and the Oxfordshire side celebrated what they thought was an equaliser only to see the effort disallowed for offside. Thame protested but it was madness really from the player who tapped it in from an offside position with the ball already heading towards the back of the net.
The saved penalty and disallowed goal were punished with five minutes remaining when Cornell made the game safe. A tremendous lofted pass by Maloney was met by Cornell who was too strong and held off David Lynn before he calmly fired beyond Craven before celebrating in front of the jubilant home fans.
At the final whistle, the players and supporters celebrated a brilliant victory and one which has swung the title momentum back towards Bracknell once again.
If both sides won their remaining games in hand, the Robins would trail Thame by two points with fifteen matches left to play whilst the chasing pack would be a minimum five more points behind Mark Tallentire’s side.
Attention now turns to Saturday when division leaders Thatcham Town are the visitors to Bottom Meadow having already played and lost three times to Bracknell this season.
Full Time: Bracknell Town 2 – 0 Thame United
Bracknell Town: Grace, Hancock, Gray, Withers (Short 81), Whitty, Davies, Maloney, McClurg, Cornell (Boon 88), Bohane, Bowerman (Grant 77). Subs not used: Rodrigues, Senussi.