Having resisted the allure of the Bowling Club, and indeed the Cemetery on the same road, I arrived at the Acretweed Stadium for the first time on a sunny afternoon which would prove to see Bracknell return to winning ways after their unexpected defeat in the week to Egham Town.
Northwood knew that securing a home victory could still give them the faint hope of maintaining a challenge for the last playoff spot, but ultimately that wasn’t to be.
It was the home side who had the first chance when Yahya El-Khabouche took a shot from distance which Mark Scott managed to deal with, even though it kicked up off the surface just in front of him.
Liam Ferdinand was played through on goal, but Rob Partington was out to save at his feet.
Joel Jacobs had the chance send in a free kick, but he didn’t clear the wall however the visitors still retained possession and eventually the ball was hit across the six yard box by Joe Grant, but it evaded everyone.
The Woods looked to put some pressure on as Kweku Lucan tried to work a one two with Alex Witham before they had the best chance when Trey Charles hit a cross from the right, and although nobody managed to get their head to it one of them clashed heads with Scott. The keeper went down and as he lay on the ground play still continued until eventually a tame shot went into the side netting with The Robins distracted. After treatment Scott was ok to continue.
Having survived, Bracknell got back on the front foot with Adam Cornell lofting the ball over the centre back for Ferdinand to run onto only for Partington to save his shot.
Jacobs sent in another free kick which caused chaos in the Northwood box which ended with Partington having to push Joe Gater’s header over the bar.
A slightly bizarre decision saw the visitors awarded a free kick eight yards from goal as Partington was adjudged to have picked up a back pass. The Woods packed the box, and unsurprisingly the kick pinged straight back off the wall.
The Robins really should have taken the lead when Grant found Cornell in lots of space, but once again Partington came to the home side’s rescue with another save.
Carl Davies made a crucial challenge to hold up a Northwood break, but it didn’t completely stop the attack and Scott had to rush off his line and make a tackle that put the ball out of play.
The deadlock was finally broken when a long ball over the top was misjudged by the centre back and he decided to go for a header to clear the ball, but that only allowed Grant to reach it and he lobbed Partington on the 42nd minute.
Before the half time whistle there was still time for Grant to have an almost identical opportunity, but this time Partington was equal to it.
Half time: Northwood 0 – 1 Bracknell Town
Northwood made one change bringing on a new central defender to start the second half, but the manager’s half time team talk was undone when Gater’s long throw was reached by Maloney and that touch dropped to Ferdinand. The top scorer in the division seized upon the chance by making space before beating Partington low down to the right on the 49th minute to make it 2-0.
The home side stepped up their intensity Lucan advanced into the box ; Jabir Laraba hit a shot from distance, and a clearance fell to substitute Kyran Worrell but his shot was blocked. Minutes later Worrell was given the chance to test The Robins defence again as he sprinted down to the right only for Davies to slip appearing to upend him, nothing doing from the referee though much to the home bench’s exasperation.
You can’t criticise the referee for not being consistent though as Grant ran through on goal only for a defender to tackle him from behind as he tried to shoot, no penalty for The Robins either.
Sam Jenkins headed the ball downwards but Scott tipped it over.
Grant continued to be a thorn in Northwood’s defence as Partington saved his shot, and then he looked to slip Ferdinand through on goal.
Witham decided to shoot from a long way out, but it went high and wide.
Cornell headed over under pressure when Jacobs hit in another free kick ; Grant tried to slip the ball through to Cornell, but it was cleared and Harrison Bayley headed the corner kick wide.
Zaied Sabti hit a free kick goalwards, but Scott watched it go wide.
Cornell looked to turn provider as he put Maloney in on goal, but although he lobbed Partington it was off target.
Play was going from end to end and Jenkins worked to get Lucan in on goal, but he sent his shot wide before Witham tried to shoot from distance.
The best was saved for last however because out of nowhere Jordan Brown stole into the box at a tight angle using the fortunate bounce off a defender he scored at the near post giving Partington no chance on 92 minutes to give Bracknell a win by three goals, and send the visiting fans home happy.
The top eight teams in the division were all victorious today as the push for the end of the season continues leaving three matches remaining over the next two weekends. There are still many permutations as Bracknell, Marlow and Cheshunt look to battle for second place, and Westfield, Ware and look to claim that prized final fifth playoff place.
Northwood: Partington, Jenkins, Lopes De Matos, Asumadu-Sakyi, Uche (Newton), Pearce, Laraba (Sabti), El-Khabouche, Charles(Worrell), Witham & Lucan. Unused Subs: Pattie & Cooper.
Bracknell Town: Scott, Hancock (Artwell), Jacobs, Gater, Parsons, Davies, Grant (Bowerman), Bayley, Cornell, Ferdinand (Brown) & Maloney. Unused Subs: Rodgers & Moore.