Bracknell Town overcome Hungerford Town in a hard fought and entertaining game at Bulpit Lane to advance into the Quarter Finals of the Berks & Bucks FA County Senior Cup where they will face either Slough Town or Wantage Town who are yet to meet.
Having won their last three matches without conceding and scoring 22 goals in the process, last night was always going to be a much tougher affair for the Robins with the Crusaders plying their trade three divisions higher in the Vanarama National League South.
The home side were missing central defenders James Rusby and Darnell Smith (on loan from Barnet) meaning it was a makeshift defensive unit with veteran assistant manager Gary MacDonald forced into action. That said, Bracknell were without the prolific TJ Bohane whilst Kensley Maloney remains on the injured list.
Early chances were traded with Adam Cornell racing clear but flagged offside and for Hungerford the referee blew for a foul on Richie Whittingham as the ball travelled to Luke Hopper who would have had a great chance to score.
The opening goal came on eleven minutes as Seb Bowerman danced his way in from the left hand side and struck a right footed effort which nestled into the far right hand corner. Goalkeeper Marcus Beauchamp got a hand to it but could do nothing about the precise shot.
The hosts thought they had drawn level on eighteen minutes when Paul Stonehouse’s drive look destined for the back of the net only for central defender Carl Davies to clear of the line with goalkeeper Chris Grace parrying the follow up effort.
Hungerford continued to press as Anton Rodgers free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar before Hopper found himself in space but could only pick out Grace.
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Those misses were punished as the Robins doubled their advantage in the 28th minute. After Cornell was fouled, Jamie McClurg stepped up and sent a free-kick over the wall which curled into the top left hand corner.
It was game on however three minutes later as the home side reduced arrears. The visitors failed to clear a corner sufficiently and Stonehouse’s ball back into the danger area was turned home by Louie Soares from close range.
As half came to a close Cornell saw an effort tipped over before he had to ball in the back of the net from Bowerman’s pass only to see the flag raised for offside.
The Robins started the second period brightly with McClurg being denied from an acute angle before Bowerman once again came inside from the left but his shot hit the crossbar.
The last few minutes were frantic with the Crusaders committing bodies forward looking for an equaliser whilst Bracknell looked dangerous on the counter attack but the hosts were unable to find the leveller as the visitors held on to secure victory.
Managers Jeff Lamb and Paul McGrotty should be delighted with the character and effort shown by their side who proved that as well as thrashing teams, they can battle and get the result when they have to their sleeves up and work hard for victory.
Hungerford Town: Beauchamp, Weeks, John, Herring, MacDonald (Wall 61), Whittingham, Soares, Rodgers, Hopper, Lawrence (Silva 61), Stonehouse (Tyler 61). Sub not used: Clark.
Bracknell Town: Grace, Hancock, Parsons, Withers, Gater, Davies, Grant (Senussi 71), McClurg, Cornell (Bennett 83), Kirby, Bowerman. Subs not used: Short, Mugoya.