Bracknell Town FC Keen on a few more goalsBy Adam Lee
February 23, 2012
Bracknell Town joint manager Andy Keen has urged his players to start showing a killer instinct in front of goal, or else their bid to avoid the drop in the Hellenic Premier Division is as good as over.
Although the Robins lost 4-0 at Wantage Town on Saturday, the scoreline does not tell the full story.
The ever-improving young side trailed at half-time to a single goal that looked suspiciously offiside.
They then proceeded to enjoy a glut of chances after the break, only to go further behind against the run of play following a defensive error.
But with 10 minutes to go, and Bracknell again on top, Ben Knight rattled the bar with a penalty, and their chances of salvaging a point all but disappeared.
Fellow striker Ben Harris was then given his marching orders for a second yellow card, and Wantage took advantage to score twice in the dying stages of the game.
And Keen has warned his players that unless they start delivering in front of goal, then their fate is all but sealed.
“If we had scored the penalty then it would have been a completely different game,” he said.
“We had a few players unavailable, but that is no excuse because when you are in our position you have to make the most of what you have got.
“The players were disappointed afterwards, but they know they have to step up to the plate.
“It is now time for each individual player to take responsibility for their own performances on the pitch.
“We can’t blame the defence because we have to defend from the front, close teams down and keep hold of the ball a lot better.
“We also have to take our chances and if we get an opportunity from 12 yards then we can’t afford to be hitting the bar.
“If we weren’t creating chances I’d say we aren’t good enough to get away from the bottom, but we are creating chances and now it’s about us taking them.
“We still have enough games left to close the gap and we have to fight to the death.
“I saw enough there on Saturday to know we are not too far away, though.”
Bracknell have a daunting prospect this weekend as they face title-challenging Oxford City Nomads at Larges Lane (3pm kick-off).
Nomads have built a fearsome reputation as an attacking team, and are the division’s top scorers averaging more than three goals a game.
They annihilated Bracknell 10-0 the last time the sides met in October, but the current Robins side is a different prospect, and Keen is hopeful that his boys can spring an surprise.
“This week is going to be very tough, but other teams have got some form of result against them and it will be at our pitch,” he said.
“They have a slick, wide pitch, whereas we have a more narrow one that isn’t quite so slick – maybe that could work in our favour.
“We have got to play the system we know and make sure we defend properly – which is something we didn’t do for two of the goals on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, striker Harris’ red card on Saturday only sought to compound Bracknell’s poor disciplinary record this season – the worst in the Hellenic Premier Division.
Harris will face a three-game suspension as his two yellows took his tally to six cautions for the season.
And with Adam Kennedy and Andrew Carter also both suspended for Saturday’s game it is a situation that Bracknell can barely afford.
Although Keen admits the problem needs to be addressed, he defended the record as little more than youthful exuberence coupled with the frustration of a disappointing season.
“It is a lot to do with a young team that gets frustrated,” he said.
“Some of it is also about officials that are a little over officious and they perhaps see the bottom team as an easy target.
“It is easy to blame the referees, but I’d just like to see a bit more consistency.
“I’d rather see more older refs taking charge of the game rather than younger ones looking to progress and trying to please the assesors.
“Discipline has been a problem for us, but that comes when players are playing in a team that is fighting for its life.”
Bracknell will be boosted by the return of Sam Barratt and brother Tom Barratt for Saturday’s game after both were unavailable last week.
The club are also hopeful that Tom Nugent will also return from university for the game.