It was another bitterly cold afternoon at Larges Lane for the visit of top of the table Hanwell Town in the BetVictor South Central Division, and with top two goalscorers in the league on show it seemed as though it would be game full of goals.
It was the first match for Bracknell’s new manager Bobby Wilkinson who had joined after stints at Wealdstone and Hungerford Town on a five year contract. I suspect that what he saw will leave him with plenty to ponder.
Questionable defending almost immediately allowed Brendon Matthew to break into the Robins box, but his choice to try to find a teammate in the box proved to be the wrong one as the ball was cleared from the danger area.
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Bracknell created a couple of half chances when Kensley Maloney saw his free kick headed skywards by Dan Bayless which was easily collected by the agile Hugo Sobte, and the keeper was also able to collect Sean McComack’s low cross when it was deflected towards him.
The first real chance of the match came when ex Robin Joel Jacobs hit a free kick into the box which Dwayne Duncan headed towards goal, only for alert defending to avert a goal by heading it off the line.
Nathan Minhas picked up a ricochet and released Nebay Haile on goal, but he pulled his shot across the face of goal. Minutes later Minhas won a corner kick which Max Herbert took and Carl Davies flicked the ball over the bar.
The visitors finished the half in the ascendancy with Chris Rackley saving Harry Rush’s cross-cum-shot ; Duncan headed Rush’s free kick wide of goal, and then Gianni Crichlow got free down the left and put in a cross which Matthew sent wide of the post to leave the score goalless when the referee blew his whistle for half time.
Half time: Bracknell Town 0 – 0 Hanwell Town
Unsurprisingly Hanwell brought their top scorer Gareth Chendlik off the bench at half time, and to almost immediate effect, but his shot was deflected.
The deadlock was finally broken on the 53rd minute when McCormack looked to have a squandered the chance to get a shot away as Jacobs raced back to tackle him, but from a corner kick which was sent to the far post Dan Bayliss soared to head the ball back across goal to make it 1-0 to Bracknell.
That lead only lasted 8 minutes because as soon as Chendlik got a sniff of goal he raced away from the Bracknell back four draw things level at 1-1 by shooting past Rackley.
The pressure was on now with Matthew running onto a ball behind the back four only to pull his shot across goal ; Jacobs hit three free kicks into the box all of which were headed wide or over by Duncan.
Herbert hit a looping cross from the left which nearly seemed to have caught Sobte out, but it went fractionally wide of the far post. Maloney took a centrally placed free kick which was flicked on by Davies to Haile, but somehow Sobte used a strong hand to keep his shot out.
As the clock ticked down Chendlik nearly profited from Rackley’s error, but Bayliss was back to cover and cleared the ball of the line.
The team applauded the crowd at the end of this hard earned draw which sends them into the knock-out stage of the Velocity Trophy against Premier League Hornchurch on Wednesday night, before The Robins return to league action away at Marlow next Saturday.
Bracknell Town: Rackley, Sheridan, Genovesi, Bayley, Davies, Bayliss, McCormack (Carr), Maloney, Minhas (Brown), Herbert and Haile. Unused subs: Farren, Mulley and Wayborn.