So the draw for the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy saw Bracknell entertaining a team from Essex in the guise of Coggeshall Town who compete in the BetVictor Isthmian North Division, and were currently sitting in fourth position in that division.
In actual fact entertainment of another kind was also on show on Saturday afternoon because one of the prominent figures in the visiting team’s set up was X-Factor star Olly Murs, and this fact alone was nearly enough to persuade my eldest daughter Christina to come down to The Lane for the first time, but she decided to leave it to other fans of a younger age to battle it out for a selfie with him. Mr Murs was very charming when approached, so no illusions were shattered on that front.
Bracknell Town started off the better team with crosses into the box from Caden Genovesi and Seb Bowerman looking to cause trouble from the first whistle.
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Although The Seed Growers were soon looking to trouble the Bracknell defence with a cross from Ross Wall which was cleared to George Cocklin who shot wide of the goal. A cross into the box from Michael Gyasi, and Connor Hubble looking to profit from intercepting a pass in the middle, but both were snuffed out. Gyasi looked to curl a shot into the net from outside the box to the left, but couldn’t get enough bend on it.
The home side’s best chance of the half came when Geoff Kibaki was released down the right wing, and he pulled the ball back to Dan Carr who took one touch before driving the ball at the near post, but it wasn’t on target.
A couple of minutes later more superb work from Kibaki saw him maintain possession under heavy pressure on the edge of the area, before releasing a deft pass to Mitchell Parker who hit a powerful shot into the top left corner of the net leaving Ashelee Jones rooted to the spot to make it 1-0 to Bracknell on the 26th minute!
Cocklin got on the ball in the middle of the park, and chipped the ball over to Gyasi for him to run onto, but The Robins defence were alive to the danger.
Carr put in a cross which was just too high for Charlie Losasso to control properly, and then his next cross was just cut out before it reached Parker. Parker’s corner kick lead to a scramble in The Seed Growers penalty area which allowed Dan Bayliss to poke it goalwards, but somehow Harrison Bayley got a foot to it which seemed to divert it wide of the post.
Joe Gater slipped over giving the ball away allowing Gyasi in on goal, but somehow Mark Scott managed to get down at his feet, and make a crucial save.
Bowerman got enough space to fire a shot across the face of goal with Jones only able to watch as it flew past him before the referee brought the half to an end.
Half Time: Bracknell Town 1-0 Coggeshall Town
Almost straight from the kick off a great ball was played over Coggeshall’s back four which saw Carr racing in on goal, and he decided to take an early shot with Jones off his line, but it was poorly directed and went wide.
Next the whole of the Bracknell team were calling out for a penalty when they felt that there hand ball offence committed in the area, but the referee was unmoved. The Robins were 2-0 in the lead though with the next attack when Parker’s corner kick was headed on target by Bayliss, and ended up in the back of the net on the 50th minute! Seems as though Carr is laying claim to it though as he said that he touched it on the way through!!
The home side could have added to their tally with a little more fortune, as Carr continued to probe, but as we approached the 80th minute the wheels were about to fall off the Bracknell wagon!
It was alluded to when Scott was forced to rush out of his area to his right, and make a challenge which could have been deemed a foul, however the referee let it pass. Perhaps this is why the slightly more innocuous one received the punishment that it did? Another ball came through for Scott to come out and collect. In doing so he jumped up raising his thigh as he made contact with the striker who went down on the pitch. The next minute the referee is consulting his assistant, Scott is removing the captain’s armband as he receives a straight red card, and a penalty is awarded!
Substitute Nnamdi Nwachuku stepped up to reduce the deficit to 2-1 from the spot although substitute goalkeeper Joe Whiter guessed the right way, and got a hand to it but he couldn’t stop the ball squirming into the net on the 80th minute!
Now it was Bracknell who were to feel the pressure as The Seed Growers looked to get an equaliser. Wall was at the far post when a corner kick came to him, but his shot was blocked. However as the minutes ticked down The Robins had another real scare with Genovesi clearing off the line to keep the score at 2-1 until the referee blew the final whistle.
It really was a case of a match which seemed done and dusted could have been lost in the last few minutes, is it too cheesy to say ‘that my heart skipped a beat’ in those minutes?!
Full Time: Bracknell Town 2-1 Coggeshall Town
As Ramgate drew 2-2 with Haywards Heath our opponents for the next round are yet to be decided, but it’s back to league action next week as we host FC Romania.
Bracknell Town: Scott (SENT OFF 80 Mins) (Whiter 80Mins), Genovesi, Bayliss, Losasso, Bowerman, Carr (Minhas 70Mins), Kibaki, Gater, Bayley, Herbert and Parker (Davies 80 Mins). Unused Subs: Wayborn, Mulley, Darboe and Ceesay.