Title Hopes Dented - 24 March
Bracknell Town's Uhlsport Hellenic League title hopes have suffered a severe blow, after the Robins crashed 4-1 at Ardley United on Tuesday.
A match that saw both skipper Carl Davies and vice-captain Jamie McClurg sent off in separate incidents in the second half. They now trail leaders Thame United, who won 2-1 at Tuffley Rovers on Tuesday, by five points.
“It was a bitterly disappointing night,” admitted manager Mark Tallentire to Dave Wright. “It (title) is no longer in our hands and the initiative is now with Thame. We know we must win all of our three remaining games and hope for the best.”
Assistant manager Steve Nebbett was also ordered out of the dug-out on Tuesday. Then Town's evening got even worse late in the game when Davies, reacting to a strong challenge on him, was shown a straight red for violent conduct and the nine men were unable to prevent Bryan adding a late fourth goal.
Davies, whose dismissal was his second of the season, and McClurg are expected to receive bans that will prevent them playing against Binfield in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy at Windsor on April 11. There will be a dress rehearsal at Larges Lane next Tuesday (ko 7.45pm) when the two local rivals clash in the quarter-finals of the Bluefin Sport Hellenic League Cup.
Goals Galore - 23 March
If you want to see goals, then Larges Lane is the place to be these days. Bracknell Town trounced Royal Wootton Bassett 6-0 on Saturday, a week after putting seven past Brimscombe & Thrupp.
Between those two Uhlsport Hellenic League games, the title-chasing Robins had demolished Mortimer 10-0 in the Reading Senior Cup.
“It's pleasing to see us converting our chances,” said manager Mark Tallentire. “Our haul of goals over the last few games is impressive. When we are going forward, everyone is an attacker and we're certainly showing good forward momentum these days. Our full-backs like to put to put crosses in and get on the end of things. But all our players are capable of turning games with their individual performances. We also have very good players up front who can convert chances, and allin all that makes us a very dangerous team.”
Though it was Ardley United who had their shooting boots on in mid week, putting four past Bracknell and conceding one.
Bowerman Return's To Best Form - 16 March
Bracknell Town manager Mark Tallentire was delighted to see Seb Bowerman return to his best form after the winger had scored four goals in the 7-2 hiding of Brimscombe and Thrupp.
“He did exactly what I asked of him before the game,” said Tallentire following the goal fest at Larges Lane on Saturday. “He had a couple of quiet games before going on holiday last week. but today he was back to his usual menacing self. Seb (pictured) earned himself a penalty, put two penalties away and produced two other good finishes as well. He is a key player for us for sure.”
Bowerman, who had also scored four goals against Shrivenham earlier in the season, earned star billing in what Tallentire described as "a very good team performance." He added: “We got back to doing what we're good at, and that's passing and movement, getting the ball to our strikers nice and quick, getting quality balls into good areas. Our strikers and midfield players thrive on that sort of service, as they showed today.”
However, the scoreline did not reflect the game with the Bracknell team boss admitting: “They (Brimscombe) are a good team, one of the best we have seen down here his season. Unfortunately for them, they caught us on a good day when we put our chances away really well.”
Tallentire added: “Sometimes you get results at crucial times of the season, and I felt today we put a little statement out there.“
Bowerman was joined on the scoresheet on Saturday by TJ Bohane, with two, and Ian Davies. The latter had not been involved this season until two weeks ago, mainly due to his work commitments. Explaining the former Binfield player's return, Tallentire said: “I had been looking for another striker just to get us over the line. It's important we have options on the bench and Ian gives us different options to the other two (Bohane and Adam Cornell). He likes to get in behind (defences), so we can stretch teams a little bit more. His goal was typical of him and his determination. He read that little flick on from TJ and he got himself into an area where he can finish. I am chuffed for him, but I am more chuffed for the whole squad as this was a great result for us. It was another one ticked off. We've got five league games left, we are getting results
and playing well.”
On Tuesday, Bohane played only the last 15 minutes but that was still enough time for him to net a hat-trick and seal a 10-0 win over Mortimer in the quarter-finals of the Reading Senior Cup. He has now scored 40 goals in all competitions this season. Bohane was one of four regulars left out of Town's starting line-up and instead sat on the bench alongside Seb Bowerman, skipper Carl Davies and Jamie McClurg. Ian Davies joined Cornell up front and they netted a goal apiece to put their side 2-0 up at half-time.
The Thames Valley Premier League side did well to keep the score down in the first half but were totally over-run after the interval. Davies and Cornell, who now has 35 for the season, both scored again, with Khalid Senussi, Kensley Maloney and Carl Withers piling on the agony for the villagers before Bohane came off the bench to complete the rout.
In the semis, Town are scheduled to face Wokingham & Emmbrook or Henley Town, who meet at The Triangle ground next Monday. Bracknell, who lead the Uhlsport Hellenic League title race by one point from Thame United, host Bohane's former club, Royal Wootton Bassett, at Larges Lane this Saturday.
Side Praised - 9 March
Mark Tallentire praised his Bracknell Town players after seeing them come from a goal down at half-time to beat Ardley United 2-1 to stay in pole position in the Uhlsport Hellenic League title race.
"They showed good character," he said. "I am pleased to say there is plenty of that in the locker." The Robins boss admitted."We were not at our best in the first half. In fact, we haven't been that disappointing since we moved back home. We didn't have our usual flow to the game. But give Ardley some credit, they are a really good side and gave us a stern examination. They were decent in the first half, we were poor. We had a constructive chat at half-time as I felt we needed to move up two gears in the second half. It was a matter of getting the lads to realise the enormity of us trying to get the result and I think we just edged it in the second half. Both our goals were very well worked."
Gavin Smith brought the scores level after 52 minutes with TJ Bohane netting the winner a little over 10 minutes later. Tallentire added: "I was proud of the way we reacted in the second half. We upped our game. Sometimes you have got to ground results out, and we did that today. We always looked a bit dangerous for getting that third goal as well, so we deserved all three points at the end of the 90 minutes. We just now need to keep going."
Tallentire continued: "I said to the lads, it's not how you look or what you do, it's just about accruing the points - and that's how it will be for our remaining six games. But they won't get any easier.We have still got to go to Ardley and that will be a difficult ask."
Bracknell's new bar, with its luxury carpet and furniture, plus large TV screens, was in full use for the first time on Saturday, while the roof has finally been put on the main stand. And once again, the Town attracted the league's biggest crowd of the day with 268 watching the match. They are the only Hellenic club regularly getting three-figure attendances and another is expected this Saturday when the visitors are fifth-placed Brimscombe & Thrupp. Adam Cornell and Seb Bowerman, who were both unavailable last weekend, return to the Bracknell line-up, but Joe Grant remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Title Run In - 3 March
TJ Bohane scored on his return to Highworth as Bracknell Town won 2-1 to regain top spot in the Uhlsport Hellenic League. They are one point ahead of Thame United with both sides having seven games left to play.
Five of Town's games are at home, but they are mainly against sides in the top half of the table, while most of Thame's forthcoming opponents currently occupy placings in the bottom half.
Former Worthians hot-shot Bohane struck the opening goal in the 28th minute, but it came after the hosts had made the better start to the game. Town defended resolutely and Bohane's goal came from his side's first serious attack of the afternoon with Kensley Maloney creating the opportunity. It also helped them to settle down and they grew in confidence, although they were still unable to prevent the equaliser. That came in the 38th minute when Aysa Corrick hammered the ball from 18 yards, giving keeper Chris Grace no chance.
Manager Mark Tallentire commented: “Letting their fellow to turn was probably the only mistake we made defensively all afternoon. But it was it was an unstoppable finish.”
Robins were not behind for long when more good work by Maloney saw Adam Cornell regain the lead with three minutes of the half remaining. Both Bohane and Cornell have now netted 33 goals for Bracknell this season, with the former having also netted one for Royal Wootton Bassett at the start of the season before leaving them.
Highworth worked hard to stay in the game in the second half, but they could find no way through the visitors' defence. “They certainly threw everything at us and we had to defend really resolutely and I think our keeper only had one real save to make in the second half,” added Tallentire.
At the other end, the Highworth goalie Kent Kauppinen was forced to produce outstanding saves to deny Seb Bowerman and Jamie McClurg. “It was a close game, but we deserved to win,” commented the Bracknell manager. “We managed the game really well and that got us over the line.”
With skipper Carl Davies on the first day of his honeymoon, Diak John made his second appearance since joining the club earlier this month. And the former Hungerford defender came in for special praise from Tallentire, who said: “He played very well. Having him in the back four gives us an extra dimension with his pace and the way he reads a game. He hasn't played for a little while, but with each game, he is looking better and better.”
Davies will be available for the home game with sixth-placed Ardley United this Saturday.
Honed Edge - 23 February
Bracknell Town have netted nearly 90 goals in the Uhlsport Hellenic League this season with hot-shots TJ Bohane and Adam Cornell being responsible for 64 them.
But manager Mark Tallentire would still like to see his team become even sharper in attack during the remainder of the season. A 1-1 draw with title rivals Flackwell Heath on Saturday, followed by a 1-0 win at Binfield on Monday thanks to a Bohane goal keeps the Robins bang on course for the Hellenic League title with just eight games remaining. However, taking into account the number of chances created in both games, Town should have bagged six points, rather than four.
“My only criticism of my team at the moment is that we are not killing games off,” said Tallentire. “I am not knocking my strikers as they have been fantastic for us, but when the chances come along, especially in tight games, we have got to start putting them to bed. If we can brush up on our chance conversion rate, I think we will be there. Goals change games and makes everything so much different if your strikers are hitting the target and not being too wasteful in front of goal. So the only thing I would say to our lads is, just brush up on that. Apart from that, we are maintaining a high level of performance and the players are hitting the mini-targets we are setting them. Going back on top of the table tonight was one of them.”
Robins certainly missed a number of chances against Flackwell and it was much of the same at Binfield. “I thought it was a comfortable 1-0 win as I have seen,” said Tallentire. “We should have been three or four up at half-time- we were that dominant in the first half. I don't think Binfield hardly hurt us and they had only once chance in the game, when (Liam) Ferdinand went through one-on-one and missed. Binfield away is always a tough game and the fact we came here and got the three points is a great evening's work for us.”
One piece of bad news for Bracknell this week is that 18-goal Joe Grant is likely to be out of action for “six to eight weeks” after fracturing his foot in the Flackwell game. “That is really disappointing as Joe has had a fantastic season and we are going to miss his goals,” commented Tallentire after Monday's win. “There was a one on one with the keeper tonight which wasn't taken, but if Joe goes through he generally scores. Kensley (Maloney) know needs to step up and take those opportunities when they come his way. We need to see an end product from him."
Less Pressure For Robin's - 16 February
Manager Mark Tallentire believes Bracknell Town are under less pressure than Flackwell Heath to win their top-of-the-table clash at Larges Lane on Saturday.
The Robins are one point behind the new Uhlsport Hellenic League leaders but have played three fewer matches.
“There is a lot more riding on it for them than there is for us,” said Tallentire (pictured). “If we win, it will knock them back a bit, but if we lose, we still have those games in hand.”
Tallentire accepts it is a “massive game” for his side, but added: “All of the 10 (league) games we have left are going to be big ones for us. This was always going to be one of the hardest of the season for us, regardless whether we were top of the table, fifth of sixth or second from bottom. They (Flackwell) are a side used to winning, they have got some good players, so we know we are going to be in for a stern test.”
The Heathens are one of the three sides to have beaten Town in the league this season, winning 3-1 at Wilks Park in early August. But Bracknell returned to Flackwell last month to win a stormy Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy tie 2-1 which saw each side have a player sent off and four others shown a yellow card.
“That's been and gone, and I don't want to talk about past things,” continued Tallentire. “But I will say that one of the things that do stick out on our pitch is foul play. It is very easy to spot fouls and stuff like that.”
Bracknell will be without skipper Carl Davies as he is serving a two-match ban following his sending off against Lydney last month. The centre-back missed last Saturday's 6-2 win over Westwood United in the Reading Senior Cup. Town, who drew 3-3 with Finchampstead in a friendly with a depleted side on Tuesday, will meet Thames Valley Premier League side Mortimer in the quarter-finals at Larges Lane on Tuesday, March 14. Bracknell should know by the end of this week the date and venue for their B&B Trophy final against Binfield.
The two sides are to meet in a league game at Hill Farm Lane on Monday (7.45pm ko).
Robin's In Reading Senior Cup - 9 February
Bracknell Town manager Mark Tallentire will take his strongest possible side to minnows Westwood United for their Reading Senior Cup tie on Saturday.
Only skipper Carl Davies is missing, as he is suspended following his recent sending off against Lydney for two bookable offences.
The Uhlspsort Hellenic League leaders were without a game last Saturday and then their fixture on Tuesday was called off in the morning with hosts Ardley United claiming they were encountering problems with their floodlights.
“That was disappointing, as it means we haven't played since the Saturday before last, so we need to get the momentum going again against Westwood,” said Tallentire.
The Robins are also hoping to arrange a friendly for next Tuesday in a bid to get fully tuned up ahead of their clash with title rivals Flackwell Heath at Larges Lane the following Saturday. Tallentire insists his side will not be taking Westwood lightly even though there is a wide gulf between them.
While Bracknell sit top of the Hellenic League, United lie third in Division 1 (the second tier) of the Thames Valley Premier League having won seven and drawn one of their nine games. Midfielder Jamie McClurg will take over the captain's armband from Davies as Town bid to reach the quarter-finals of a competition they
are favourites to win. The tie is to be played at the Cotswold Sports Centre in Downs Way, Tilehurst.
Looking For A Very Different Result - 2 February
Mark Tallentire is confident Bracknell Town won't slip up again when they make a quick return to Ardley United on Tuesday of next week.
The Robins were beaten 3-1 there in the Perpetua Print Hellenic League Floodlit Cup last week in a tie they thought should not have even been played. “The Ardley pitch was frozen and the game should not have even gone ahead,” commented Tallentire following their first defeat since November. “My lads did not get changed until five past seven as they thought it would be called off by the ref. We were all surprised when he said the game was on.”
At least, this competition is low down on the list of Bracknell's priorities with their main goal being the Uhlsport Hellenic League title and promotion back to the Southern League. And so the leaders, without a game this Saturday, will be looking for three more points when they return to The Playing Fields ground next Tuesday evening.
“We are certainly looking forward to going back there, said Tallentire. “You can be sure we will be better prepared and looking for a very different result.”
While they have exited the Floodlit Cup, the Robins are through to the quarter-finals of the Bluefin Sport Hellenic Cup after winning 5-3 at Longlevens last weekend. “It was a good way to bounce back after the Ardley defeat,” commented the Robins manager. Town faced 10 men for virtually the whole game after seeing the Gloucestershire club's goalkeeper sent off for bringing down Adam Cornell in their first attack of the game. They trailed 1-0 at the interval before second half doubles from TJ Bohane and substitute Seb Bowerman, along with one from Cornell, saw them safely through to the last eight.
Hot-shots Bohane and Cornell both now have 31 goals for the season, although the former's tally includes one for his former club Royal Wootton Bassett last August before his transfer to Larges Lane.
Attendance Figures On The Up At Bracknell - 27 January
Bracknell Town's successful run is continuing to reap rewards at Larges Lane. Nearly 250 spectators – the day's fifth highest among the country's Step 5 clubs - saw the Uhlsport Hellenic League leaders beat Lydney 3-0 on Saturday.
Admittedly, it came on a day when most other local soccer games were postponed due to frozen pitches, but it was Town's sixth three-figure gate from their last seven home games.
Manager Mark Tallentire said: “We are averaging over 160 which is pretty good when you are playing against teams like Lydney and Tuffley, as clubs are lucky to get 50 or 60 watching them. One of the pleasing things for me and the club as a whole is since we came back here (Larges Lane) more people are coming to watch us. Old faces have come back and there are several new faces as well, which is good to see. People are coming here and enjoying the football that is on view, which is key. I talk to friends around the town and they say that the football we are playing is easy to the eye and good to watch. These are exciting times to be part of the club.”
Spectators at Larges Lane will shortly have to go through the turnstiles which are currently under construction. And by the next home game – against title-rivals Flackwell Heath on February 18 – there will be a roof over the stand with the framework having been delivered this week.
Chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse commented: “We are making a massive amount of progress and we are going to be making further significant announcements in the coming weeks about the longer-term future of the club.”
Town's victory over Lydney was their 11th in succession in the league and leaves them four points clear of Thame United in second place. But their run of 15 wins in all competitions came to an end on Tuesday when they lost 3-1 at Ardley in the Perpetua Press Hellenic Floodlit Cup. Joe Grant gave them a 15th-minute lead, but Town trailed 2-1 at half-time and conceded a third goal early in the second half.
They are again in cup action this tomorrow, away to Longlevens in the third round of the Bluefin Sport Challenge Cup.
In Charge Of Our Destiny - 20 January
Bracknell Town are now in charge of their own destiny.That's the view of manager Mark Tallentire after his side had returned to the top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League with a convincing 3-0 win over Tuffley Rovers on Saturday.
It was their 10th successive league win and their 14th in all competitions and they will be aiming to extend that run when they host Lydney this Saturday. The Robins lead title rivals Thame United by one point, with both sides having played 23 games. “We have 11 games left and to me they are 11 cup finals,” said Tallentire.
Thame (3-0 over Binfield) and Thatcham (3-1 at Lydney) also won last weekend to keep the pressure on Town. But as the Robins boss said: “All we are concerned about is looking after ourselves. We are in charge of own destiny. I feel you have got to have that insular sort of attitude about it, so we are quite aware of what is in front of us. But there is no way we are getting too far ahead of ourselves. This week all our focus is on our game with Lydney on Saturday.”
Adam Cornell is set to return to the attack for this home fixture after missing the win over Tuffley due to work commitments which took him to America. He remains the club's leading scorer with 30 goals in all competitions but now leads TJ Bohane by only three in the race to win Bracknell's own Golden Boot award Bohane, who also has a Royal Wootton Bassett goal to his credit from early in the season, is in red hot form, following up hat-tricks against Burnham and Highmoor Ibis with a second-half brace last Saturday. “His two goals were sheer class, especially the second,” commented Tallentire. “He is getting better and better and the players around him are also buzzing.”
Neighbours Binfield were unable to do Bracknell any favours by losing at Thame last weekend, but have another opportunity this Saturday when they go to fourth-placed Thatcham.
Two Hat-Tricks For TJ - 5 January
TJ Bohane scored his second hat-trick in a week as Bracknell Town hammered Highmoor Ibis 6-0 on Saturday to go top of the Uhlsport Hellenic League. Following up his treble in the 7-0 demolition of Burnham on Boxing Day, the razor-sharp striker has now scored 26 goals in 24 games, which included one goal for his previous club Royal Wootton Bassett.
TJ is a great signing for us," said manager Mark Tallentire. "We have always known what his qualities are, but, having worked with him now for a few months, he is miles better than I thought he was. He has fitted in at the club fantastically well and is now very much part of our team and our squad. He is a huge character in our dressing room. When you work with a player you see what they can do and what they are about, their personality and how they fit in - and TJ has been fantastic." Obviously, a player of Swindon-based Bohane's quality doesn't come cheaply, but Tallentire says: "He is paying us back, leaps and bounds."
Bohane had extra responsibility at the Rivermoor Stadium as his usual strike partner, 29-goal Adam Cornell, was one of five regulars missing from the side. But such is their strength in depth, those who were brought in did an excellent job. Manager Mark Tallentire side: "I thought to a man, from 1 to 16, including the three lads who came on, everyone played a massive part in this win."
He added: "We are over the moon with this result. "We were actually a bit concerned before the game as we had so many people missing. For the lads to come in and do what they did against a team that we generally have trouble against and to beat them that emphatically was a statement. We always had that bit of steely determination about ourselves. We knew that if we won today we would go top of the table - that was a huge incentive for us, so we are delighted."
The Robins never looked back after scoring in the 18th and 21st minutes through Bohane and midfielder George Short with Bohane netting again after 36 minutes following good work by Seb Bowerman. Bracknell could never ease off as Highmoor occasionally threatened although they were never put under serious pressure by a side lacking in cohesion and quality. In the second half, Ibis player-manager Marcus Richardson brought himself on as a substitute in a bid to stiffen the defence, but he lasted only five minutes before limping off with a dead-leg. It became 4-0 on the hour mark when Bohane headed in Joe Grant's cross and then Short and Bowerman both went close and, such was Bracknell's domination, keeper Chris Grace was virtually a spectator for most of the half. Grant also set up a well deserved 85th-minute goal for utility player Callum Whitty, who was having a fine game in a deep midfield role on this occasion.
Tallentire commented: "I've have known Callum since he was a young lad when he made his debut in goal for Bracknell's first team. "He can play in numerous positions on the pitch and he showed that today. He can play that (midfield) role quite comfortably - he's played there for me before - and I didn't have any hesitation putting him in there."
Grant completed the rout with the sixth goal three minutes before time as the Robins gained revenge for the 2-0 defeat they had suffered early in the season at their temporary home at Sandhurst. They are without a game this weekend and next Tuesday visit league rivals Flackwell Heath in the semi-finals of the Berks & Bucks Trophy.
Robin's Can Maintain Title Challenge - 29 December
Skipper Carl Davies says there is no reason why Bracknell Town can't maintain their title challenge right to the end of the season.
The Robins are flying high in the Uhlsport Hellenic League and looking a side capable of gaining honours.
“Promotion is the aim,”he said, talking with Dave Wright, with as much confidence as he and his team are showing on the pitch. “At the start of the season, if you offered me where we are now, I would have bitten your hand off, so obviously, I am very pleased with how things have gone before. Until recently we had predominantly played away games, so we are very happy where we are in the table at the moment. Now we've got this far, the aim is obviously to try to win the league.”
But he is fully aware that they will have to battle extra hard to win anything this season. He explained: “Thame look a danger, but to be honest, I think the best team we have played are Flackwell. I have also watched them a couple of times as well and I think they are the main danger to us. But then Highworth, on their day, are a good side. In this league, almost everyone can take points off each other, but we have got to keep plugging away and winning games.”
Bracknell are certainly on a high at the moment. In addition to their success on the pitch, the team are now playing on their new 3G pitch and the whole ground is being rebuilt or refurbished. “It is a great facility and we all feel privileged to have it,” added Davies. "We owe a lot to chairman Kayne( Steinborn-Busse) and all those behind the scenes here. The pitch a pleasure to play on. I love playing here. I turn up early just to look at it; we are very lucky.”
With the new pitch not being ready until early December, Town were given plenty of away games in the first four months of the season and have only five more trips to make compared to eight home fixtures. “The aim is to make this place a fortress,” commented Davies. “We have done it so far, hopefully, it can continue.”
The Robins squad also took a few weeks to gel, as it was virtually a new team following the signing of seven players. “It did take a while to gel,” admitted Davies. “But we now have a settled squad and everyone has played their part in our success so far. It has been very much a team effort. We did lose at Flackwell at the beginning of the season, but I think that was down to us being naive when we went there. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and we have become a hard team to beat. I admit that in one or two games recently some of the lads, myself included, had not been quite at their best. But more often than not we have individuals who can turn the game into a win for you, despite maybe not deserving it sometimes. It happened in the recent game against Binfield, we saw Kensley (Maloney) come off the bench to score the winning goal. It shows the strength in depth we have here, and you require that to do well in this league.”
Davies has played at a higher level than where he is at present and believes Bracknell are capable of moving up the football pyramid. With previous clubs including Burnham, when they were in the Evo-Stik Southern League and Hungerford, the Robins skipper commented: “I believe this squad is better. Quality wise, there is not a lot between what we had there and what we have here at Bracknell and I think we will do all right in the league above us, to be honest. But what we have plenty of here is team spirit. Off the pitch – and that is where 50 per cent is – we have togetherness . We often go for a beer together, we've been go-karting, and we do stuff like that. It makes a big difference, as we want to do well for each other as we are mates off the pitch. I think that is massive, it is a big part of it.”
Davies and his team are also responding to the crowds they have been getting recently at Larges Lane. “We are getting some good support now, which is really nice,” said the skipper. “Fans are singing and they have a song about Kensley It really adds to the atmosphere and it makes you want to do well and win even more than before. As I've said, we want promotion. I don't want to curse it, but that's the aim, definitely.”
Fourth KO ? - 22 December
Bracknell manager Mark Tallentire will be looking to defeat his former club, Burnham, for the fourth time when they meet in a Hellenic League fixture at Larges Lane on Boxing Day (3pm ko).
Town knocked the Blues out of two cup competitions before winning 5-0 at The Gore in a league match earlier this month. It will be a major surprise if they fail to make it four wins on Monday.
Bracknell are lying second in the table, while Luther Blissett's men are rock bottom and crashed 6-1 at Brimscombe & Thrupp last weekend. To make matters worse for Burnham, the Robins should have TJ Bohane back in their attack to play alongside Adam Cornell. Bohane missed last Saturday's 3-2 win over Ascot United due to a family commitment. The pair have scored 47 goals between them this season, with Cornell's total of 28 being three more goals than the entire Burnham side put together. Blues are also just five away from conceding their 100th league goal.
Bracknell, who remain two points behind leaders Thame United, certainly look set for an easier game they the one they had against Ascot last weekend. The Robins got home by the odd goal in five, but it needed a timely clearance by John Gray to deny the Yellamen a stoppage-time equaliser. Two weeks earlier they had been run equally close by another of their neighbours, Binfield.
“These local derbies are not easy,” admitted Tallentire. “One of the disadvantages we have around here it that we have got a number of big derbies, while some of the other clubs up near the top of the league have only got one. They make it a little bit tougher for us, as we experienced last Saturday."
Ascot played virtually the whole game with 10 men after seeing defender Jon Palmer sent off for a foul with less than five minutes on the clock. Tallentire commented: “Ascot were a credit to their managers because they made it difficult for us and they played extremely well. On another day they might even have got something out of the game. But I think we deserved to win on the number of chances we created.”
In Form Berks Robins - 15 December
It has been another good week for in-form Bracknell Town. They defeated Oxford City Nomads 4-1 last Saturday to remain second in the Uhlsport Hellenic League and followed that up with a 3-1 extra-time win over Hook Norton in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup on Tuesday.
The Robins, now back at Larges Lane on their 3G pitch, did go a goal down to the Nomads but once they had equalised they always looked the likely winners on a very wet afternoon. Manager Mark Tallentire said: "I thought they (Nomads) played ever so well in the first half. The pitch suited their style of play, they got to grips with it very quickly and got their noses in front. We hadn't really got into the game by that time. We did have a couple of real good opportunities before we scored and we lifted ourselves after the equaliser. We soon got another goal, so we went in at half-time with our noses in front. Our second half performance was better and they rarely troubled us, though they did have little spells when it looked they might make something happen. We won quite comfortably in the end and I think we again showed that we have an abundance of character at the club."
Tallentire added: "I told my players they can't be fantastic every single game. Obviously, we are looking to reach the highest standards we can reach to get results, but this is a tough league to get results week in, week out. The fella's are beginning to understand that now and realise that when teams do come here they will want to raise their game and we have got to earn the right to make this ground a fortress."
With close to 500 having watched them beat Binfield on the previous Tuesday, nearly 160 turned up for the Oxford City Nomads game, which considerably better than their average gate. "It was another really good attendance," said Tallentire. "The club really hasn't a fan base and now is the time to get one. Big things are now happening at this club and the whole development here is down to the vision of the chairman. He makes things happen. There is interest in the town, people want to see what it's like down here, and to get 160 against Oxford shows we are moving in the right direction. Some of the old fans have come back and the intention is to make a whole new fan base here. It's all part of our new bit of history if you like."
Bracknell are hoping for another big crowd when they host local rivals Ascot United this Saturday. Several of the Robins will be facing their old club, who, as a result of losing so many players, are not enjoying the best of fortunes at the moment. Against both the Nomads and Hook Norton in particular, Bracknell were not at full strength, but Tallentire is planning to field his strongest possible side for the east Berkshire derby and expects leading scorer Adam Cornell will shrug off the injury which forced him to leave the pitch on Saturday. In addition to the Nomads, Hook Norton deserve some credit for their performance as they certainly demonstrated why they head the Division 1 West table, but 120 minutes was a bit too long for them as they lacked the fitness of the Bracknell players.
Recent signing Gavin Smith and Seb Bowerman both came off the bench to score the extra-time goals, with fellow substitute TJ Bohane being involved in both of them. Earlier Kensley Maloney has given the Robins a first-half lead and he also hit the post, while Bracknell squandered a number of good chances before the visitors broke away to snatch a shock equaliser and take the tie into extra time.
"We knew it would be hard because we played them in the Vase early in the season and they made it difficult for us," said Tallentire. "But we could have been a bit more clinical with our chances in the first half, some of our finishing wasn't quite at it. Our general performance was a bit bitty, but we dug in, showed a lot of tenacity to hang in there when they were putting us under a bit of pressure and in the end we made it comfortable for ourselves."
Three Points On New Pitch - 8 December
Kensley Maloney fired a dramatic late winner on Tuesday to put the seal on a memorable night in the history of Bracknell Town.
Maloney (pictured) came off the bench to earn the Robins a 3-2 win over local rivals Binfield in the first Uhlsport Hellenic League game to be played on the new 3G pitch at Larges Lane on Tuesday.
“Yes, it has been quite a night for the club,” said manager Mark Tallentire after seeing his side move up to second place in the Premier Division table. “Everything about it was fantastic. It feels great to be back home and the crowd was unbelievable.”
The attendance of 476 was considerably more than many people had predicted. They didn't have to wait long to see the opening goal, with Joe Grant turning the home from close range in the eighth minute. Robins continued to enjoy more possession but were unable to add to their tally before the interval.
“I thought in the first half we were head and shoulders above them and should have been 3-0 up at half-time,” said Tallentire. “The only thing I wasn't happy with, was our goal conversion rate.”
Binfield, having adjusted to the pitch, started to improve late in the half and needed just four minutes of he second half to draw level, albeit with a fortunate goal. With the clock ticking down, the game looked to be heading for a draw, but that was until the last five minutes.
Binfield went close to scoring when Liam Ferdinand saw his effort scrambled away, but it was Bracknell who finished the stronger. “For a big crowd to see a player and a goal of that quality to win the game, was a bit special,” remarked Tallentire. “Kensley has been unlucky not to be starting. He missed a week and Joe (Grant) came in and did exceptionally well to grab the shirt, so Kensley has to bide his time.”
Binfield manager Roger Herridge was left bitterly disappointed, saying: “It is never nice to lose so late on in the game.”
The Robins are home to third-bottom Oxford City Nomads this Saturday.
Fantastic Character - 1 December
Mark Tallentire praised his Bracknell Town players for showing “fantastic character” following their second incredible recovery on successive Saturdays.
A week after turning a 2-0 half-time deficit into a 5-2 win over table-topping Thatcham, the Robins came from 3-0 down to beat Shrivenham 4-3 in the Bluefin Sport Hellenic League Cup. All their four goals came from Seb Bowerman, who had started the game on the sub' s bench, with Tallentire taking the opportunity to rest a few of his players against their Division 1 West opponents.
The Robins, riding high in the Premier Division, looked to be sliding on the proverbial banana peel as they found themselves three down inside the opening half-hour of this second-round tie. But then came the move that was to change the game which had seen Bracknell concede ground advantage after being originally drawn at home.
Tallentire explained: “I started with Khalid Senussi in place of Seb. Khalid was involved in a slight car accident on Friday night. He said he was okay to start, but I was a bit dubious about starting him. But you could see he wasn't quite at the races and after about 25 minutes I replaced him with Seb. We needed the individuality that he brings to the team and he certainly came up with goods. Once he had got the first goal I always felt we were going to win the game, providing we didn't concede a fourth goal.”
With the villagers struggling to cope with Bracknell's pace and strength, the Robins were awarded three penalties, all converted before Bowerman struck the winner in the 74th minute. “In the end, we came away with a win that puts us in the next round and another cup tie to look forward to,” commented the Bracknell manager following his side's second recovery in a week. Once again we've shown fantastic character and amazing qualities to dig deep and get ourselves back off the canvas and go on to win games. But we can't continue in this form; we have got to start shutting teams out again. If we have many more games like this, I am going to get some grey hairs.”
Bracknell, whose match at Ardley was called off on Tuesday due to a frozen pitch, are away to bottom-club Burnham this Saturday and then next Tuesday evening take on neighbours Binfield in what is scheduled to be their first game on the new 3G pitch at Larges Lane.
Work on the ground has continued this week with the installation of seats in the stand and the completion of the changing rooms. The Uhlsport Hellenic League hierarchy, however, will need to make an inspection before giving Bracknell the green light to play there and launch a new chapter in the club's long history.
Players Who Create Chances Gives You Confidence - 24 November
Adam Cornell bagged a hat-trick as Bracknell Town came from two down to beat league leaders Thatcham 5-2 in sensational style on Saturday.
And the hot-shot (pictured) believes there are plenty more goals to come - not just from himself, but from his striker partner TJ Bohane as well. "We've got players who can create chances and that gives you confidence," he said. "You must be looking for 30 goals at least, and that's from me and TJ. We are both well on the way - which is fantastic."
His treble against the Kingfishers took his tally to 23 from 23 games, moving him up to second place in the league's Premier Division goalscoring chart, while Bohane, who started the season with Royal Wootton Bassett, is on 18 from the same number of matches.
"I have already reached what I scored last year when I played for only about the half the season so that it pleasing," Cornell told Dave Wright after the game. "It's fantastic to have someone like TJ alongside me as he holds the ball up well and is a proven scorer at this level. I could have had more today as I missed a couple of probably easier chances with headers. Obviously I am delighted to score three but, and I know it's a horrible cliche, the result is all that matters to us at the moment.”
Cornell continued: "It was certainly what you would call a game of two halves. We just didn't start very well, but managed to turn it around in the second half with the slight change in slopes, change of shape and a slight change in personnel all helping. With Seb (Bowerman) down one side and Granty (Joe Grant) down the other, it gave us some good options from both sides, which we lacked in the first half, so credit to the management for making those changes. We managed to get a pretty good victory in the end and were are very happy."
"It has been a good week," Cornell added. "That's the fourth time we have beaten Thatcham, but I still think they will be up there (in the table) come the end of the season. I don't know as much about Thame, but, as we saw last Tuesday, they are a decent side. We are just taking one game at a time and see where we go from there. We haven't set ourselves any targets."
Bohane commented he was left "battered and bruised", adding: "My god, what a second half from the boys. Joe Grant changed the game."
Chasing Leaders With Games In Hand - 17 November
Bracknell Town became the first side to inflict an Uhlsport Hellenic League defeat on Thame United this season with a 2-0 win at Sandhurst on Tuesday. And they also denied them the chance of topping the table.
So that means Thatcham will face the Robins at Bottom Meadow this Saturday (3pm) with a one-point lead over Thame, having played three more games. Bracknell are in fifth place, nine points behind the leaders, with five games in hand.
Like on Tuesday, when there was a crowd of more than 100, spectators will be admitted free to the game. Chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse believes that by not charging, more people will attend matches and support his team. He said he intends to reduce the price of admission compared to last season when the Robins return to Larges Lane – which has been re-scheduled for next month due to the club not being able to meet the league's ground-grading inspection last Tuesday. Bracknell players, however, were able to train on the new 3G pitch for the first time this week as they prepare to meet Thatcham.
Manager Mark Tallentire said: “We knew this would be a tough week for us, and we have prepared mentally for it. We have beaten Thame and now we are looking forward to Saturday.”
Tallentire's men have beaten the Kingfishers in the league and two cup competitions this season – all of them at Waterside Park – and is well aware that they will be on a revenge mission at Bottom Meadow. “Thatcham are on a good run at the moment, but they always seem to be on one when they come to play us,” added the Bracknell boss. “They won't bring any secrets as we know what to expect from them, but we are quietly confident we can get a result.”
The Robins will certainly go into the game on a high following their excellent win over a good Thame side.
“We thoroughly deserved it and I am full of admiration for my lads. They toughed it out with them, went toe to toe, and did really well," commented Tallentire.
Robins Ready - 10 November
Next week could prove a momentous one for Bracknell Town FC with manager Mark Tallentire declaring they are ready for the challenges awaiting them.
On Tuesday the Robins face second-placed Thame United, unbeaten in 14 Uhlsport Hellenic League games, in their last match at Sandhurst's Bottom Meadow. Then the following Saturday they host leaders Thatcham in their first game on the new 3G pitch at Larges Lane. And Bracknell, without a fixture this Saturday, ideally need to win them both if they are to be considered as serious challengers for league honours.
Tallentire said to Dave Wright: “We have been talking about them, as we know they could be season-defining games, if you like to call them that, but we are ready for the challenges.”
Robins slipped back to sixth place in the table following their 2-1 defeat at Tuffley Rovers last Saturday, but have games in hand over all the sides above them. They returned to winning ways on Tuesday when defeating Holmer Green 2-0 in the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy to earn a semi-final date away to league rivals Flackwell Heath in January. The winners will meet either Newport Pagnell or Binfield in the final.
Bracknell, seeking revenge for their 4-0 defeat by Green in the competition last season, had much the better of the tie played on a rainy night at Sandhurst, but both goals did not come until the last 20 minutes. “We had to be a little bit patient tonight,” commented Tallentire. “I thought we played ever so well in the first half; it was only our final ball that let us down. But they (Holmer Green) did make it difficult for us. They stuck to their task and worked hard. Everybody watching will think the best team on the night won. It was a job well done in the end.”
Suspensions Hit Tuffley Trip - 4 November
Bracknell Town will be without skipper Carl Davies and keeper Chris Grace at Tuffley Rovers in tomorrow’s Premier Division game.
Both are serving one-game suspensions for their second-half dismissals in the FA Vase tie at Croydon two weeks ago. Alex Rodrigues is set to partner Callum Whitty at centre-back, with Karl Steinbourn-Busse replacing Grace between the posts. Leading scorer Adam Cornell, who missed the 3-0 win at Brackley Town Saints last weekend, faces a fitness test on his groin injury.
Manager Mark Tallentire said: “We have got a good squad with strength in depth, so we certainly don't have to push any panic buttons as far as team selection is concerned. Yes, we will miss Carl and Gracey, as they are two very experienced players, but otherwise it will be business as usual for us.”
Robins travel to Tuffley looking to extend their unbeaten league run to 10 games. “Obviously, it is important we just try to keep grinding out the results,” added Tallentire. “But I am sure it is going to be a tough game at Tuffley, if you excuse the pun. They are a decent side.”
They did beat Sherborne 4-0 in the Vase, but their home form has dipped in recent weeks, losing cup and league games to county rivals Brimscombe & Thrupp, both by 2-0, and 3-0 to Thatcham in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup. That will give the travelling Robins more hope as they look to make it four successive league games without conceding a goal. While Rovers have slipped to sixth place in the table, Bracknell have climbed above them into fifth with games in hand over three of the four sides above them.
They include leaders Thatcham, who are set to become the first visitors to the 'new' Larges Lane ground on November 19.
In the meantime, Bracknell will again use Sandhurst's Bottom Meadow next Tuesday (7.45pm kick-off) when they face Holmer Green in the quarter-finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy.
Home Return Imminent - 3 November
Bracknell Town, who are temporarily playing home games at Sandhurst Town look set to return to Larges Lane later this month.
The fast-rising Robins have moved up to fifth place in the Uhlsport Hellenic League following their 3-0 win at Brackley Town Saints on Saturday. They trail leaders Thatcham by 12 points with six matches in hand on their rivals.
And they face the table-toppers on Saturday, November 19, which, if all goes to plan, will be their first game on their new 3G surface. Work on the ground is gathering pace with the installation of the carpet, along with the floodlights, pitch surrounds and changing rooms. But it will be early March before the clubroom, bar, car park, main entrance and turnstiles will be fully operational.
Playing on a flat, true pitch certainly suits the Town players, as they have shown in their last two league matches at Royal Wootton Bassett, where they won 6-0, and again at Brackley last weekend. They managed only three on Saturday, but it could so easily have been more against the side they had beaten 9-0 at home just 10 days previously.
“It was a matter of staying patient today, that was the key to our victory,” said manager Mark Tallentire. “Obviously, they had set themselves up slightly differently to when they came to play us, as they got a shape and stuck to it. They sat back and made it difficult for us to get into pockets of space . However, we were pretty much in control for the whole of the proceedings and did create a few good opportunities which we didn't take. But we didn't give up and kept doing the right thing, keeping the tempo high, and in the end were rewarded with a couple of pieces of quality just before half time.”
Joe Grant made the breakthrough on 40 minutes and four minutes TJ Bohane curled in a free-kick to make it 2-0 at half-time.” The young Saints side – their oldest player was 20 – came more into the game in the second half without ever really looking capable of pulling back the two goals.
Tallentire added: “I thought we got caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. We looked as though we didn't quite know whether to go and win the game by a bigger margin or just keep possession and see time out. In all, I was really pleased with that performance. We looked pretty tight at the back and didn't concede hardly any chances, so it was really pleasing to keep a clean sheet. This was one of our games in hand and so it was very important we got the three points.”
Bracknell are on the road again this Saturday when they travel to Gloucestershire to play Tuffley Rovers. Then next Tuesday evening (7.45pm) they take on Holmer Green in the quarter-finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy at Sandhurst's Bottom Meadow.
No Easy Ride Expected - 27 October
Bracknell Town hammered Brackley Town Saints 9-0 at home last week, but manager Mark Tallentire is not expecting another easy ride in the return fixture this Saturday.
“I am certain it will be a different game at their place,” he said to Dave Wright. “I even said to their guys after the match that the scoreline did not do the game justice. They did not play that badly, but were on the end of some very good finishing and some excellent play from us.”
The high-flying Robins were brought crashing back to earth last Saturday when they lost 4-1 at Croydon in the first round of the FA Vase. Despite taking an early lead through TJ Bohane, it became a day to forget for Bracknell with both skipper Carl Davies and goalkeeper Chris Grace being controversially sent off in separate incidents in the second half.
It was Bracknell's first defeat in 14 league and cup games. “The Vase is now behind us and we have got to put that game out of our minds, move forward and keep on churning out league wins,” added Tallentire. “The aim now is to try to get a consistent run going again to push ourselves up the table.”
The Robins lie seventh in the Uhlsport Hellenic League with 23 points from 11 games. They trail table-topping Thatcham by 15 points, having played seven fewer matches.
Down A Level To Bracknell - 12 June
Geoff Warner has stepped down as Manager of Beaconsfield SYCOB to take up a coaching role with Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division side Bracknell Town.
The former Crystal Palace and Reading Academy coach only took over as Rams boss a year ago and led them to an impressive ninth place last season.
It may seem somewhat surprising then that he has stepped down a level to join a side in the Hellenic Premier but his assistant Andy Hurley, who has remained at SYCOB, explained "Geoff knows some people over at Bracknell, where they have got a very good set up, and it's closer to where he lives."
Beaconsfield have not yet started looking for a replacement but will hold a meeting next Wednesday to discuss its future direction and roles for next season.
|Previous Season News