The Robert Parker Stadium was the venue to give Bobby Wilkinson the latest opportunity to show how his reinvigorated squad could perform as they took on Ashford Town (Mddx) in this BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division match where both league position and recent form gave the impression that Bracknell Town should be the stronger side.
An impressive showing in training this week meant that Nebay Haile was included in the starting eleven up front, whilst the latest new signing from Walton Casuals midfielder Michael Atkinson was included on the bench for the Robins.
An impressive following of travelling supporters swelled the gate to 142 entrants and they didn’t have long to wait before they had something to cheer as Kensley Maloney worked a short corner routine with Seb Bowerman which saw the latter strike the woodwork from outside the box.
Lively Bowerman released Max Herbert into the box down the left and he hit a low cross into the six yard box, but nobody gambled on him doing so, and it went harmlessly across the face of goal.
Herbert sent a free kick into the area which Joy Mukena headed goalwards, but Sam Mason managed to tip it over the bar.
The pressure finally bore fruit when Nebay Haile was pulled back as he tried to make a break for goal, and Bowerman stepped up to curl the ball over the wall beyond Mason on the 15th minute to open the scoring for The Robins!
It was 2-0 on the 27th minute when Haile got down to the byeline and pulled the ball back to Maloney who’s shot completely wrong footed Mason.
After that goal the balance of play shifted and the Tangerines started to show more of an attacking threat as Joseph Noakes used his long throw to get the ball into the box, but Max Webb couldn’t control his shot and it sailed over.
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However Ashford kept pressing and Daniel Brown took a snap shot which Jason Matthews pushed wide only for Darryl Harrison to get one back from the corner kick making it 2-1 on the 35th minute.
This seem to reawaken the visitors with Mickel Platt hitting in a low cross, but Noakes beat Haile to the ball to defend the situation.
It was only temporary though because on the 39th minute Haile was played through on goal, and he beat the outrushing Mason to restore the two goal advantage at 3-1.
As the half came to a close there was still time for Bracknell to put the match effectively beyond reach of the home side as Bowerman made the most of a one on one situation to get his second meaning the score was 4-1 at Half Time.
Half time: Ashford Town 1 Bracknell Town 4
As the teams came out for the second half Ashford certainly appeared to have been given a rocket of a half time team talk because they appeared to quash the attacking threat that the visitors had shown in the first half, and again Noakes launched another long throw which forced Matthews into making another save.
Hafid Bounyafe showed pace and trickery to advance down the left, but there was nobody in the middle to latch onto his low cross.
Thomas Brunton sent a free kick into the six yard box which landed at the feet of Noakes, but he couldn’t sort his feet out and Matthews was able to comfortably collect it.
Another Brunton free kick was hit way over the bar by Harrison, and Brown hit a weak shot straight at Matthews from deep as The Tangerines failed to really create a decent chance from all their pressure.
Maloney gave Dan Carr the chance to break down the right and rifle a shot at goal, but Mason was alert to make a good save.
With the clock running down there was still time for Brown to see a free kick deflected wide with Matthews stranded, and finally Ashford reduced the deficit when Nathan Pooley headed in the corner kick in a crowded area to make the final score 4-2.
Full time: Ashford Town 2 Bracknell Town 4
On Tuesday 7th January the Robins will look to kick on from this victory when they entertain Lewes in the knock out stages of the Velocity Trophy, and then Hertford Town will be the visitors to Larges Lane on Saturday 11th January in the next BetVictor South Central Division match. All the midweek fixtures are here.
Bracknell Town: Matthews, Carr, Genovesi, Mukena, Sheridan (Bayliss 75 mins), Rees (Atkinson 69 mins), Herbert, Maloney (Capt), Haile, Platt (Musoke 65 mins) and Bowerman. Unused subs: Chidyuausiku and McCormack.