Bracknell Town mounted remarkable fightback to defeat leaders Thatcham Town for the fourth time this season. Trailing by two goals inside the opening four minutes, five second half goals swept the Kingfishers aside who also ended the match with nine players following two dismissals.
Having beaten fellow title rivals Thame United midweek, it was important that the Robins followed up that fine result but it didn’t look likely after an abysmal start.
Just seventeen seconds were on the clock when Shane Cooper-Clark found James Tennant free inside the penalty area and he coolly slotted beyond Chris Grace into the far right hand corner.
Shortly afterwards, Grace did brilliantly well to tip another Tennant shot round the post with the hosts all over the shop defensively. From the resulting fourth minute Joel Jacobs corner though Tennant climbed high to head home the corner and double the advantage.
Tennant could have had a hat-trick in the first ten minutes when he found himself free once more but Grace tipped onto the crossbar as the visitors – maybe due to having lost to Bracknell three times already this season – were wound so tight and were so up for the match.
It became clear early on that the loss of Kensley Maloney was evident with George Short bought into central midfield and Carl Withers moved to the right, a move with only really Seb Bowerman as a wide attacking outlet.
After the first twelve minutes, the home side grew into the match and it became a much more even affair and arrears were nearly reduced when Bowerman’s shot was turned on by Adam Cornell with the ball striking defender Sam Collier who knew little about it and it just whistled past the post.
Former Larges Lane favourite Cooper-Clark fired over from outside the penalty area before sending a free-kick into the wall whilst for the Robins, Withers fed TJ Bohane down the right and managed to get onto the cross but headed wide as Thatcham entered half time with a two goal cushion.
Half Time: Bracknell Town 0 – 2 Thatcham Town
A quick response was needed by the home side and that is what they got. Manager Mark Tallentire bought on Joe Grant for Short who had taken a nasty bang on the head and it paid immediate dividends.
With Grant wide right it allowed Withers into a more familiar central and all of a sudden everything looked much better.
It was not quite as quick as Thatcham’s first goal but it was equally as important when 42 seconds into the second period Grant wriggled free down the right side and crossed for Bohane to slot into the far left hand corner.
Cooper-Clark managed to fire beyond Grace on fifty minutes but Johnny Gray cleared off the line and it proved to be vital.
Cornell couldn’t take two good opportunities to level affairs but he made no mistake with his third chance in the 57th minute.
Firstly he couldn’t wrap around Grant’s cross quick enough and sent his shot just wide of the post before he headed Jamie McClurg’s free-kick just wide left to the groans of the healthy but vocal Robins support.
You cannot keep quality strikers quiet for long soon afterwards Bohane found Bowerman whose pinpoint cross was headed in by Cornell for what would be the first of his hat-trick of goals.
The Robins were awarded a penalty after Cornell robbed Tom Melledew who proceeded to sweep the strikers legs from him and Bowerman coolly stepped up to slot into the right corner.
Seventy minutes in and it was Bracknell’s turn to hold a two goal cushion when Bowerman’s cross was headed in by Cornell and at this point Thatcham completely lost their heads.
Callum Willmoth received a straight red card in the 75th minute after Bohane was fouled and lying on the floor, Willmoth appeared to stamp or tread on Bohane and seven minutes later the Kingfishers were reduced to nine players when Danny Lachacz stupidly picked up a second booking for a clumsy foul on Bowerman. Why he dived in and didn’t just block his path we’ll never know.
Cornell completed his hat-trick in the ninetieth minute. An excellent long Bohane ball – who had tracked all the way back to defence – found Cornell who released Grant down the right and another good ball in allowed Cornell to slot in and put the gloss on what was a tremendous fightback.
It’s been a brilliant week for Tallentire’s side beating fellow title rivals Thame and Thatcham with those two facing each other next weekend but it’s vitally important keep the momentum going away at Henley Town on Tuesday night.
Henley may be second bottom but the two sides have already drawn this season with the Robins somewhat fortunate to do so but they cannot afford to undo this epic week by dropping points at the Triangle Ground.
Full Time: Bracknell Town 5 – 2 Thatcham Town
Bracknell Town: Grace, Hancock, Gray, Short (Grant 45), Rodrigues, Davies, Withers, McClurg, Cornell, Bohane (Boon 90), Bowerman (Senussi 89).
Thatcham Town: Rackley, Lachacz, Jacobs, Melledew, Collier, James, Tennant (Browne 84), Johnson (Brownhill 71), Cooper-Clark, Helmore (Miller 84), Willmoth. Subs not used: Thomas, Lewis.
Main image: Joe Grant by Neil Graham.