Sam Lock’s newly established squad finally started their season in the BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division with an away fixture around the M25 at the NRT Stadium against Chipstead, and with the goal of securing automatic promotion in their sights they knew that victory this afternoon was essential.
Both sides were coming off the back of a run of pre season friendlies which gave them confidence going into this fixture, so we waited to see who that would benefit the most as the referee blew the whistle to start the match.
Callum Hart had the first chance when for the hosts when he got onto a Thomas Smith cross, but he was adjudged to have handled the ball, while Geoff Kibaki won a free kick for Bracknell but Caden Genovesi saw his ball into the box headed clear.
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The end to end nature of the match emerged early as Seb Bowerman had a long strike which Oliver Pain saved, before Mark Scott saved smartly when Jensen Grant got in front of the visiting defence from a near post corner kick.
The home side appeared to have identified the fact that there was space on the right for them as they continued to probe for an opening and Malachi Hudson forced Scott to make another save. By contrast The Robins kept looking to play the long ball, but nothing was ticking for them as these balls kept going beyond the front two.
Hudson was played through on goal, but he delayed taking the opportunity before squaring to Tom Collins and then he was crowded out.
When Bracknell did actually play their usual passing game Genovesi managed to get down to the bye-line and put in a cross to Shane Cooper-Clark, only for Pain to make a decent save. Nicholas Bignall ran onto a ball which Pain came out to take off his toes, and then Bowerman pulled the ball back to Cooper-Clark, but the defender blocked his attempt.
There was still time in the half for both sides to have another chance as Cooper-Clark saw a 30 yard free kick bounce down off the underside of the bar straight into Pain’s gloves, and Collins hit in a far post free kick which Chris Boulter couldn’t get enough on to head towards the goal.
And as the referee put the whistle to his lips for half time it remained goalless.
Half time: Chipstead 0-0 Bracknell Town
There were no changes to either side when the teams emerged as both sides and again it was Chipstead who created the first chance when Hart bore down on goal from the left hand side, but nothing came from it.
At the other end Cooper-Clark worked hard to square the ball to Bignall, and he looked to measure a shot at goal, but the bend wasn’t enough on it and curled wide of the post.
Collins broke into the box from the left, but Scott got down low to push his shot away allowing it to be cleared however it was played out to Josh Gallagher who unleashed a shot from outside the box which hit the bar.
On the next attack Chipstead took the lead though as Collins mirrored his previous attack before passing it to Hart who scrambled it in at the far post to make it 1-0 on the 57th minute !
For the third attack in succession Bracknell saw there left side exposed as Moody forced Scott to save from his strike.
More in frustration than expectation Cooper-Clark tried to weave his way through the entire Chipstead defence, but he couldn’t break through to get a shot away.
On the 68th minute Chipstead doubled their lead to 2-0 when Collins came in from the left hand side once again before allowing the ball to run to Dan Moody and his shot went in off the inside of the left post.
Justin Clayton got a totally free header at the back stick from a corner kick, but another chance went begging as he sent it back across the goal and wide of the net. Dan Carr hit a shot goalwards, but Pain collected it easily.
Obviously feeling that they had the game sewn up Moody saw the chance to go for an audacious shot from half way line, but he misjudged it slightly and it went over the bar.
Carr managed to get a cross into the box which was headed on to Bowerman, but again his attempt was off target.
As Bracknell looked to switch things up by bringing Dan Price on for Dan Bayliss the potentially frailty of this decision was nearly shown up when Hudson ran through on goal, but Genovesi saw the danger and managed to get back to tackle him.
Carr won a free kick and Cooper-Clark stepped up once again to hit an outswinger which looked to be going in off the inside of the post, but incredibly Pain got a fingertip to it to divert the shot enough to see it rebound out into the field of play.
Scott still had to make that familiar save from Collins as he cut in from the left, and then Callum Hope had a shot blocked before the home side ran down the final few minutes to take the precious three points.
In regards to Bracknell Town there could have been days when they could have scored four or five, but today just wasn’t that day. Matches come thick and fast so getting things figured out for the home match in the week will be the main focus now.
Full time: Chipstead 2-0 Bracknell Town
Chipstead: Pain, Smith, Bird, Boulter, Page (Capt), Gallagher, Hudson (Hope 85 mins), Grant, Collins, Moody & Hart. Unused Subs: Stanic-Stewart, Clayton, Sewell & Miller.
Bracknell Town: Scott (Capt), Sheridan, Genovesi, Brown, Clayton, Bayliss (Price 71 mins), Mulley, Cooper-Clarke, Bowerman, Kibaki (Carr 58 mins) & Bignall (Minhas 67 mins). Unused Subs: Darboe & Gater.