It was a windy afternoon at Larges Lane as Bracknell Town looked to keep their positive run on track against Hertford Town in this BetVictor Isthmian League South Central Division match where similarly to last week both league position and recent form gave the impression that the Robins should be the stronger side.
A quirk in the fixtures meant that this was the first meeting between these two clubs this season, but last season Bracknell had done the double over their visitors.
The visiting Blues had only chalked one recent victory, and that was against bottom of the league FC Romania despite being reduced to ten men.
The Robins set off at a relentless pace as has obviously been instilled by Bobby Wilkinson and initially it was Seb Bowerman who looking to create the chances, one of which saw Nebay Haile break into the box, but he could only shoot into the side netting from a tight angle under pressure.
Michael Atkinson looked to lob Nicolas Hayes in the Hertford goal, but his attempt went over the bar.
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The main thorn in Bracknell’s side was Alfie Cue who kept looking to break down the right hand side, but Caden Genovesi did a good job of thwarting his attacks.
Max Herbert and Bowerman both looked to beat Hayes from distance, but their efforts were not on target.
Tony Byron made a marauding run from the back and looked to set Sam Oueniran in on goal, but he was prevented from getting into the area. Moments later Luke Guymer won a free kick on the edge of the box which Benjamin Herd stepped up to deliver, and although the ball did get poked towards the goal line it was straight at Jason Matthews who was happy to pick it up.
Alan Musoke and his strike partner Haile looked to break the deadlock, but Hayes was never really troubled. Even when Bowerman sent in a corner kick which he had won for the Robins Dan Bayliss could only send his header over the bar.
In fact the best chance of the half came when Bowerman fed Haile, but Hayes did well to parry his shot although it bounced to an advanced Scott Rees yet it somehow eluded him, and the chance was gone.
Musoke kept on chasing balls that came over the back four, but they just kept running away from so that it remained goalless at Half Time.
Half time: Bracknell Town 0-0 Hertford Town
There were no changes for either side after the break and the Robins looked to pick up where they had left off and on 50th minute their reward finally came when a goal bound Joy Mukena header was deflected wide, only for him to open the scoring from Bowerman’s resulting corner kick to make it 1-0 !
Bowerman put a ball into the box which Haile flicked onto Dan Carr, but Hayes was there at the far post to block his strike. Herbert flashed another shot wide of the net from outside the area.
However on the next attack Haile was given the chance to run into the area, and he passed ahead of him which Herbert ran onto and slotted it past Hayes to make it 2-0 on the 58th minute !
The Blues made a couple of substitutions and that seemed to gee them up a bit as they won a corner kick which eventually saw Max Jessop have an attempt that went well wide. One of the subs Ben Weyman got down to the byeline, but his cross was knocked out another corner kick. The visitors then had a series of corner kicks which were cleared in one way or another.
Bowerman sent in a deep cross from the left which found Carr at the far post, but again Hayes was equal to his headed attempt.
Weyman did well to create space and found Kit Brown in a good position, but his effort went straight at Matthews.
It was end to end stuff now as the match drew to its conclusion, and Bowerman squared the ball to Mickel Platt, but Hayes pulled off a spectacular save to keep the score as it was.
Then literally the last attack of the match ended with Matthews making a reflex save from a pointblank Herd header to mean that the Robins kept a clean sheet and picked up those vital three points.
Full time: Bracknell Town 2-0 Hertford Town
Although it was a very close run thing today Luca felt that Joy Mukena deserved his Man of the Match award for his cool headed defensive performance, and of course that opening goal!
On Tuesday 14th January the Robins will travel to Bulpit Lane for Wilkinson to have a homecoming match against one of his previous clubs Hungerford Town in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup, before entertaining Chertsey Town at Larges Lane on Saturday 18th January in their next BetVictor South Central Division match.
Bracknell Town: Matthews, Carr, Genovesi, Mukena, Bayliss, Rees (Maloney 73 mins), Herbert (capt), Atkinson, Haile, Musoke (Platt 83 mins) and Bowerman. Unused Subs: McCormack, Sheridan and Cooper-Clark.