Bracknell Town FC 3 Cheltenham Saracens FC 1By Darrell Freeland
April 10, 2012
Ben Knight scored twice and set up another goal as Bracknell Town moved off the foot of the table to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Hellenic Premier Division.
After a local publicity drive to get people along this week, the players certainly responded to a league high crowd of 133.
The visitors to Larges Lane – Cheltenham Saracens – certainly didn’t act like a team with nothing to play for and may well have got something from the game were it not for Knight and goalkeeper Chris Adams.
Early chances were shared as Knight rounded goalkeeper Ryan Betteridge but couldn’t keep the ball in play before Leigh Rayson’s shot on the turn was excellently beaten away by Adams.
Route one football bought about the opening goal as Adams’ long kick up field was missed by the defenders as Knight held off Mike Oliver and coolly lobbed Betteridge.
Andy Crosskey should have equalised, but he was denied by Adams, although the home keeper could do nothing about the 25th-minute equaliser.
A quick throw picked out Joe Donaghue and his 25-yard drive arrowed into the far left hand corner for a truly sensational goal.
The rest of the opening period saw the teams cancel each other out bar one last chance for the hosts in stoppage time. Martin Bradshaw’s pass was dummied by Andrew Carter but Knight could not beat Betteridge.
Saracens started the second half much the brighter as it looked like the result might not go the Robins' way.
Elliott Kennedy missed an almost open goal as he shot wide left before defender Adam Kennedy had to clear off the line after Adams was beaten.
Against the run of play, Knight scored a crucial second goal in the 75th minute.
Bradshaw produced a fine run down the left and his cross was met by Knight who stole in ahead of the defender to head into the near corner.
This spurred on the hosts who were determined not to let the lead slip.
Substitute Tom Nugent headed over Bradshaw’s corner before Carter should have sealed the win but he could only smash his effort straight at the goalkeeper.
Bracknell had a massive stroke of luck in the 89th minute as Matt Higham appeared to trip Jamie Hammond in the penalty area but no spot kick was awarded despite the vociferous appeals.
A breakaway third goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time ensured victory and sent the home fans into delirium.
Knight used great skill to beat Luke Tovey and Ben Tunnicliffe and as he bore down on goal he rejected the chance of a hat-trick and unselfishly squared the ball to Bradshaw who rolled it into an empty net.
Defeat for Fairford Town and Witney Town, coupled with victory for the Robins, saw them move up to the dizzy heights of third bottom as the players and supporters celebrated at the final whistle.
Next Saturday sees Bracknell make the short journey to face local rivals Reading Town in their final match of the season with three points on the agenda once again.
Bracknell Town: Adams, White, Muddyman (Nugent 45), Kennedy, T Barratt, Sleet, Higham, Bradshaw, Richards, Knight, Carter, S Barratt (McNamara 62). Subs not used: White, Simpson.