It was a comfortable opening night victory for Bracknell Town as they defeated neighbours Ascot United thanks to two unanswered Adam Cornell goals on an evening where they also struck the woodwork four times and it was all watched by a crowd in excess of 200.
The visitors were blown away in the first half and took until the 45th minute to register their first shot but they were much improved after the interval as it settled into an even affair but even the 67th minute dismissal of home captain Carl Davies couldn’t help the Yellamen.
In fact, it spurred the Robins into action as they soon got the crucial second goal to kill the game off.
As early as the second minute, Jamie McClurg’s free-kick took a nick and struck the right hand post and the opening goal came soon afterwards as Cornell turned in Dave Hancock’s cross on seven minutes.
It seemed as though the floodgates would open when Joe Grant headed Rob Gerrard’s cross onto the crossbar and Grant then beat goalkeeper Lee Allen in a race but saw his lobbed effort just miss to the left.
Allen made a great save in the 27th minute as he somehow tipped a rare Seb Bowerman header onto the top of the bar, George Short had an effort blocked and Cornell fired over after Ascot conceded possession.
As the half came to a close Bowerman lashed wide from distance, Kensley Maloney shot high and Grant was denied by Allen with the Yellamen’s first shot seeing Hancock block Samir Regragui’s low shot.
Half Time: Bracknell Town 1 – 0 Ascot United
The second period started and was immediately more even although it was the hosts creating chances as McClurg headed Bowerman’s cross narrowly wide and Bowerman then failed to find the target.
You sensed the game might turn in Ascot’s favour when Davies was adjudged to have fouled Regragui just outside the penalty area and received his marching orders, a decision which didn’t go down well with the Robins who felt very aggrieved.
Maloney was sacrificed and replaced by central defender Alex Rodrigues but Rob Lazarczuk sent the resulting free-kick over as the danger passed.
Rather than give the visitors momentum it was Bracknell who were spurred on by the red card as they quickly set about getting the crucial second goal and putting the game beyond Ascot.
On 76 minutes a well worked free-kick did the trick. McClurg rolled the ball to Short who stopped it dead and Cornell struck an effort which took a deflection giving Allen no chance.
Bowerman curled an effort onto the right hand post with Allen rooted to the spot and although the Yellamen mustered a final chance in the ninetieth minute when substitute James Goodey shot at Chris Grace they never looked like getting anything from the match right from the opening whistle.
Ascot manager Neil Richards can take some positives with both Allen and central defender Louis Bouwers excelling but after only three pre-season friendlies, it may take the Racecourse Ground team a little while to settle into a groove.
For the home manager Mark Tallentire there were so many good things to take from tonight with Cornell back amongst the goals straight away and the defence looked incredibly solid with new additions Joe Gater and Rob Gerrard settling in well.
Grant, Bowerman and Maloney were difficult to contain and on top of this the suspended Liam Ferdinand returns on Saturday after completing his ban.
It’s Emirates FA Cup action this Saturday for both sides with the Robins hosting Isle of Wight side Cowes Sports and Ascot travelling to Ringwood Town.
Full Time: Bracknell Town 2 – 0 Ascot United
Bracknell Town: Grace, Hancock, Gerrard, Short (Withers 85), Gater, Davies, Maloney (Rodrigues 69), McClurg, Cornell (Bennett 90), Grant, Bowerman. Subs not used: Hennah, Whitty.
Ascot United: Allen, Cooper, Denton, Stochetti (Knibbs 78), Boultwood, Bouwers, Seldon (Goodey 64), Carlisle, Abreu, Lazarczuk, Regragui. Subs not used: Malone, Amoui.
For balance, you can read the Ascot United match report on their site here.