Comeback Not Enough As Bracknell Town Lose Local Derby
A spirited comeback from Bracknell Town saw them narrowly lose this local derby with their cross town rivals Binfield in front of a bumper Friday night crowd. Own goals and defensive errors were the order of the night in wet and windy conditions.
A lot has changed at Bracknell Town’s Larges Lane ground since my last visit. The clubhouse has moved into what was the function room, with the old bar now being used solely for the excellent BTFC Cafe, and the multitude of trees behind the goal at the Larges Lane end has been removed. There has also been some executive seating installed behind the goal at the other end:
There has also been changes in the playing staff and management, with Mark Tallentire – a former Bracknell player and Binfield manager – now in charge of The Robins, replacing former incumbent Keith Pennicott-Bowen. Top scorer Shane Cooper-Clark has departed also, moving on to the league leaders Thatcham Town just a fortnight after ‘Tally’ took over, and just a month or so after saying he wanted to stay and reach 100 goals for the club. He left while just a handful of goals shy of that target. Oh, and former management team Steve Nebbet and Danny Olliphant are now registered as players with the club, and were on the bench for this match.
On the pitch, and from the outset Binfield were well on top, and they took full advantage of playing down the slope with the wind behind them, racing into a three goal lead inside the first twenty one minutes. On four minutes, Liam Ferdinand turned and fired wide, but four minutes later the visitors took the lead. A long punt forward caused chaos in the Bracknell backline, and as goalkeeper Gary Aulsberry came out to collect, defender Callum Whitty headed the ball over him and into his own net.
Binfield could have made it 0-2 on a couple of occasions before they actually did. A cross from the left wing had to be headed off the line after it caught out Aulsberry and almost floated in, while the home keeper made an impressive save to keep out a shot from distance. However, it was 0-2 on sixteen minutes as a nice passing move saw Chris Dean played in, and he finished well past Aulsberry. It was a fully deserved lead, with Bracknell struggling to make their way up the sloping pitch.
Seb Bowerman was probably Bracknell’s best player on the night, and the left winger did produce a shot on goal before Binfield got their third. He cut inside and hit one with his right foot, however his attempted curler took a nick on it’s way through, and it rolled harmlessly into goalkeeper Nathan Silver’s hands. And then it was three, as Jemel Johnson capitalised on a slip from Carl Davies before firing home.
This seemed to wake Bracknell up, and for the rest of the half they tried to find a way back into the match, which the eventually managed seven minutes before half time. Unsurprisingly, Bowerman was involved; his shot after a run was blocked by Michael Walton, but the loose ball was slotted home by new signing Kensley Maloney. There were a couple of other chances for Bracknell to further reduce the deficit before the break, but left back Smith fired agonisingly wide after a stellar run, and Nathan Silver produced a decent save from a shot from the edge of the box. Half time Bracknell Town 1 Binfield 3.
Straight after the restart, Binfield should have put the result beyond doubt. A long punt upfield by Silver evaded the Bracknell rearguard, and Jemel Johnson was clean through. However, he dragged his shot horribly wide of the far post. At the other end, Seb Bowerman again tormented the Binfield fullbacks, and his powerful shot almost caught out Silver at his near post, but the keeper got down well and turned the ball round his post.
Twenty minutes into the second half it was 2-3 as a Nathan Silver had a moment he will want to forget in a hurry. Carl Davies curled a harmless looking high cross towards the back post. However, it seemed to be drifting wide until Silver attempted to catch it, and in doing so fumbled it into his own net. It was a deserved goal for the Robins, as they were the better side pretty much since Binfield’s third goal.
Despite being on top, Bracknell struggled to create many more chances, with the most notable coming from successive corners twenty minutes from time. Callum Whitty’s looping header was tipped over by Silver, and from the resulting corner, Carl Davies side footed over at the back post. Binfield held on for the points though, leaving Bracknell lamenting their slow start. At least Tallentire can take solace in the fact that his team tightened up and achieved that old adage of ‘winning the second half.’ Something for him to build on going forward.
The result leaves Bracknell mired in relegation trouble in the Hellenic Premier table, while Binfield move up one place to seventh. Both teams have several games in hand on the teams around them.
Bracknell Town (1)2
Maloney 38, Silver 64og
Whitty 8og, Dean 16, Johnson 21