With my adoring public crying out for more (whoever he/she is) I arrived at The Runnymede Stadium armed with pad and pen to take notes on this potential one sided Bostik South Central Division encounter as bottom side Egham Town hosted second in the league Bracknell Town.
Heavy rain had fallen throughout the afternoon so I had half expected this fixture to be postponed as it had been on previous occasions, but on arriving at the ground the pitch looked in relatively good condition for this stage of the season.
Both sides were looking for the victory tonight for wildly differing reasons with the home side 9 points adrift at the bottom of the league this game in hand was a crucial to their survival in the division, whilst The Robins knew that any kind of positive result would secure a place in the end of season play-offs.
When the team sheet was handed out it was immediately apparent that both sides had changes to them. Well the Egham side was almost unrecognisable to the one that Luca and I saw limp to defeat against Molesey at the end of February, and the visitors were resting some of their players for the end of season run in.
The game opened up at a fast pace and it was The Robins who had the first foray into the opposition area when Adam Cornell flicked the ball on for his striking partner Liam Ferdinand to chase, but the bounce on the surface took it away from him.
Then it was Egham’s turn to put pressure on with Brandon McCarthy getting a cross in from the right, and Kiemon Robinson reaching the bye-line only for Dave Hancock to block his attempt.
However the next opportunity was to open the scoring as good interplay on the edge of the visitors’ area saw the ball at Anthony Thomas’s feet and almost in slow motion he passed the ball round the diving Mark Scott to give The Sarnies a 1-0 lead.
This seemed to spur The Robins into action with Sean Moore cutting in off the right wing to try and curl a shot into the top corner ; Ferdinand got on the ball in the area, only for his pass to be deflected into Ryan Sandford’s gloves; Moore got the ball in the box, but it was headed clear and Ferdinand worked to get Seb Bowerman some space only for the latter to see Sandford save his snap shot at the near post.
At the other end Greg Wright took a shot from distance which Scott was easily able to catch.
The visitors kept looking for Moore as an outlet down the right, and he cut inside a couple more times trying to get a shot on target. Then he did cross the ball into the area and Cornell met it with a goal bound header at the far post but Sandford pushed it away; Hancock sent in a free kick which Cornell got his head to and then Ferdinand had a shot which went wide and Bowerman rode a couple of challenges as he skipped his way into the area.
The home side got a moment’s respite winning a free kick which Ashley Carew hit in over the wall, but Scott never really looked troubled.
As the half drew to a close again it was Bracknell who were on the front foot with Bowerman shooting from distance, and Kensley Maloney winning a free kick for Ryan Parsons to swing in with his left foot and although Carl Davies won that ball Ferdinand saw a flick on saved.
Half time: Egham Town 1 – 0 Bracknell Town
The second half began much like the first when Cornell played Ferdinand in on goal, but he couldn’t get to the pass.
McCarthy sent a cross into the visitors area and a weak touch allowed a shot on goal, but it was blocked.
Ferdinand found himself one on one with Sandford only for the keep to save his low strike.
Robinson’s corner kick caused absolute chaos in the Bracknell area, but somehow the ball was cleared and danger averted.
Cornell passed to Moore, and he flicked a ball into the area for Ferdinand, but as he turned and shot it went over.
The Sarnies had a clear chance to double their lead when Kidane Tesfu’s ball into the box found Robinson, but somehow his shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced out when it seemed easier to score !
More chances for the visitors Moore’s cross found Cornell only for a great defensive challenge to com e in, and Bowerman curled a shot over when well placed.
It really seemed as though the Egham defence would remain steadfast until the 66th minute when Parsons corner kick was met at the far post by Matt Day and his bullet header made the net bulge to bring the scores level …. Possibly with a last touch from Ferdinand (Something for discussion in the dressing room afterwards perhaps).
With their tails up Bracknell attacked again as Joe Grant saw a low shot saved at the near post ; Ferdinand played Cornell through on goal , but Sandford saved the shot and Grant worked himself some space only for a tepid shot to be easily collected by the keeper.
The home side survived that period of spirited play and then put the ball into Bracknell’s area where a shot which seemed destined to change the scoring was cleared by a last ditch challenge, and Carew looked to catch Scott off his line with a high floated effort from distance.
Parsons had the chance to put another corner into the area, and it land in the six yard box, but in the melee it was somehow cleared.
On the 77th minute Robinson broke away down the left, and although Scott saved his initial effort the ball ricocheted back to the Egham player and he gratefully thumped it home to restore the lead at 2-1.
The last ten minutes were pretty much a Bracknell onslaught as they tried to get the cherished point and the first of those chances cames when Grant, Ferdinand & Cornell worked to set up Maloney, but he shot of the bar.
Probably the most controversial point of the night came when Cornell got the ball at his feet in the area and appeared to be kicked in the lower leg taking his feet from under him, but he got straight up, only for the same to happen again. The referee blew his whistle, but to everyone’s surprise he pointed away from the Egham goal and booked The Robin !
Cornell flicked the ball onto Ferdinand, but his shot was deflected out for a corner kick and for this set piece the large figure in green of Scott arrived in the area to add his presence to the set piece, but the ball was cleared. Ferdinand managed to pull the ball back to Cornell in the area, but he was prevented from shooting.
McCarthy did lead one attack for The Sarnies only to shoot over the bar.
The final action of the match saw Cornell have another shot saved by Sandford and from the resulting corner kick Scott again came up, and even got his head to this ball, but nobody could get on it to pick up the final scraps.
So this frenetic match had come to an end with the team who sit bottom of the league getting the three points whilst Bracknell were left to ponder what might have been. In the only other match in the division on the night Marlow showed what can be done when they scored twice in injury time to beat Molesey 4-3 and keep the heat on second place Bracknell.
Egham Town: Sandford, Tesfu, Adoo Peters, Randall, Toney, Wright (Bajja off) (Miranda Amorin), McCarthy, Carew, Thomas (Morrison), Channon & Robinson. Unused Subs: Hatcher & Cooper.
Bracknell Town: Scott, Hancock, Parsons, Bayley, Day, Davies, Moore (Grant), Maloney, Cornell, Ferdinand & Bowerman (Artwell). Unused Subs: Jacobs & Gater.