Bracknell Town juggernaut, Ascot United conspiracy and a life-saving moment at Tadley Calleva

Left to right: Imogen Fisher, Joe Grant, Joao Jardim and Rhys Forster. Photo's by: Andrew Batt, Neil Graham and Rob Mack.
Left to right: Imogen Fisher, Joe Grant, Joao Jardim and Rhys Forster. Photo's by: Andrew Batt, Neil Graham and Rob Mack.

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From the sublime, to the ridiculous via the downright serious in this weeks talking points as quick-thinking at Tadley Calleva almost certainly saves a life while Bracknell Town’s juggernaut of a season shows no signs of stopping.

Read on, and as ever leave your own talking points from the weekend in the comments below.

Life-saving moment at Tadley Calleva

We love a trip to Barlows Park and the ground is just inside the Berkshire border, but we wouldn’t ordinarily begin ‘Talking Points’ with the Hampshire side.

But on Saturday, a moment that transcends football occurred in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League Premier Division South fixture with Sheerwater that, thankfully, the club were very alert to.

Sheerwater were 3-0 down and reduced to ten men when the game was abandoned on 65 minutes after a visiting player (we are not naming him) collapsed after coming off the field.

A community defibrillator is located at Barlows Park and the club were able to get access to it. We know there are people within Tadley Calleva Football Club who acted quickly and deserve a moment of thanks from the football community, but for now and in the interests of privacy we just want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone at the club and with Sheerwater for acting quickly.

What we can say is that on Sunday, Neil Humphries from the Big Match Charity donated a new portable defib for dedicated use at the club and it was greatly received.

Big names continue to crash before the Bracknell Town juggernaut

Anyone who thought Bracknell Town’s penchant for knocking down the big boys would take a hit with the departure of Bobby Wilkinson as boss wasn’t reckoning with the Jamie McClurg and Carl Withers effect.

The duo were already socking it to clubs higher up the pyramid as Binfield bosses and they’ve continued that with their latest win – the 2-0 victory over former National League South Dorchester Town on Saturday.

Max Herbert and Joe Grant – the latter in sensational goalscoring form at the moment – got the goals that won the day at home to Dorchester.

Add that to the flurry of current National League sides they beat in the FA Cup and FA Trophy this season and you can see why the Robins look odds on for the Southern League Premier Division South play-offs with a massive week of ties against top-of-the-table Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday and second-placed Truro City at home on Saturday.

Take a look at the Robins fixture list here.

Maidenhead United on their way to beating the drop

Things looked a bit bleak at the start of the season for Maidenhead United in the FA Women’s National League South West Division One. Managerless and losing their first four league games conceding 17 goals without reply in the process.

Imogen Fisher. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Imogen Fisher. Photo: Andrew Batt.

However, Ed Jackson-Sankey has masterminded a strong response since his appointment. It took patience and time, and while the Magpies aren’t out of the woods yet, they look a strong bet to remain in the division following a 4-0 win over bottom side AFC St Austell at the weekend to make it four wins, two defeats and a draw from their last seven games.

The win – courtesy of goals by Imogen Fisher, Megan Halfacree, Lydia Vettese (the first Academy player to score for the first team) and Nat Cowell puts Maidenhead seven points clear of the drop zone with six to play and one in hand over the bottom two sides Larkhall Athletic and St Austell.

Ascot United in the FA Vase – and the things you learn about fans in defeat

There is plenty written on this site already about Ascot United’s nailbiting penalty shootout win over West Didsbury & Chorlton in the FA Vase Quarter Final at the weekend and you can read that hereincluding the Semi Final draw details.

Ascot United celebrate their FA Vase Quarter Final win. Photo: Rob Mack.
Ascot United celebrate their FA Vase Quarter Final win. Photo: Rob Mack.

What was interesting though was the reaction online to Ascot’s win which came as Usman Lalustani made the most of back-to-back misses from the spot by the home side.

You can learn a lot about a football club’s fans by their reaction in defeat – and I am fully aware I am setting FiB up here for a fall.

But suggestions that Ascot players celebrating in front of home supporters weren’t on – have you ever seen a shootout win where the successful players run away from the goalkeeper? Not to mention that it was predominantly a home crowd (what with Manchester – you know – being three hours away), where were they supposed to celebrate that wouldn’t offend?

Ascot United celebrate FA Vase Quarter Final win. Photo: Rob Mack.
Look at Ascot United celebrating their FA Vase Quarter Final win, how dare they. Photo: Rob Mack.

This brings me to my next point.. ‘They only took 20 fans’. Correct me if I am wrong but Non-League football isn’t renowned for massive away followings. ESPECIALLY in the lower reaches such as Step 5 – and in some cases higher. The game was in Manchester (3 hours – and it’s a dull drive at that). Kids had matches in the morning. Other priorities exist AND the game was sold out so anyone making a last-minute decision was ruled out.

Then.. and this is my favourite. The conspiracy’s around Rhys Forsters‘ eligibilty for the tie. He’s an Ascot player, signed properly. Loans don’t really exist in this low down – you dual register. Loan is just a word we use in the media to describe that kind of dual registration.

None of this is to say it is the fault of West Didsbury & Chorlton Football Club. But as supporters – all of us – lets grow up a bit.

Kudos though for the chant about where to stick the horse.

Should non-league be more aware of Colour Blind players and supporters

1 in 12 men are colourblind (it’s a bigger scale for women – 1 in 200) which means statistically one of your teammates has some form of colour blindness.

I bring this up because of a comment on a couple of Andrew Batt’s photos at the weekend where Wokingham & Emmbrook (orange) travelled to Flackwell Heath (red) where the visitors narrowly lost out in a thrilling encounter with the Heathens netting in injury time to win 5-4.

A look through the Colour Blind Awareness website is – for want of a better phrase – eye-opening on this and shows how we need to think about kit clashes as, if nothing else, the colours you choose to play in could affect your team’s performance.

One example showing what someone suffering an insensitivity to red light (Protanopia) would see. Via www.colourblindawareness.org
One example showing what someone suffering an insensitivity to red light (Protanopia) would see. Via www.colourblindawareness.org

To show how complicated this issue is, Andrew tells me he is colourblind himself, but his issues are with reds, greens and browns so Saturday’s kits didn’t cause him an issue.

It is a complex issue that’s not going to be solved in these paragraphs, but to read up on things like kit clashes, training kit and more head here to colourblindawareness.org.

Sports people who have spoken openly about their colour blindness include Sir Ian Botham, Tiger Woods, Jurgen Klopp as well as former Reading FC Women midfielder Remi Allen and ex Reading and Bracknell Town striker Nicholas Bignall.

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