Bracknell Town take Isthmian League points but pay a heavy price

Nathan Minhas. Photo: Neil Graham /
Nathan Minhas. Photo: Neil Graham /

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Having already beaten FC Romania this season in the Velocity Trophy Bracknell were full of confidence for this fixture in the BetVictor South Central Division, but the team sheets certainly revealed changes on both sides.

The Robins had brought in James Holden on loan from Reading FC as cover from Mark Scott who was sent off in the FA Trophy victory over Coggeshall Town the previous week.

Holden had already suffered massive disappointment this season as he was part of the Bury FC set up when it folded, so game time was his motivation for this move. As for FC Romania well not a single player featured in the starting eleven this afternoon who had lost to Bracknell previously, so an intriguing encounter was definitely on the cards.

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Initially it was the visiting team who got off on the front foot with Ionut Ungureanu feeding the ball to Adrian Hurdubei who won a corner kick which was taken by Marius-Cosmin Patru and Carl Davies was forced to head back towards his own goal, but Holden tipped it behind. Hurdubei got on the ball and made a strong run into the box, but Davies got across and shepherded the ball out of play.

The home side created their first chance when Dan Carr palyed a smart ball for Nathan Minhas to run onto, but his shot was saved by the outrushing Adrian Darabant. From that a great passage of play came from Carr’s long throw which was headed out of the area to Max Herbert who’s fierce shot came back off the post, and it eventually came out to Seb Bowerman on the left who crossed into the middle where Minhas rose highest to head past Darabant to make it 1-0 to Bracknell on the 8th minute!

Gelu Lupu had the chance to swing in a free kick from deep on the right and it forced Holden to get down low to his right to push the shot away, before the ball was cleared. However a ball over the top allowed Vladut Sighiartau to get a run on goal and Holden decided to come rushing off his line to deal with the situation with fateful consequences.

As both players went for the ball the striker made contact with Holden’s leg and even though he cleared the ball he was left on the ground in obvious pain. Holden had to be carried off a stretcher and substitute keeper Joe Whiter came on 20th minute.

Joe Whiter. Photo: Neil Graham /

Bracknell didn’t seem to let it affect their performance because they doubled their lead on the 24th minute when Bowerman crossed in from the right this time to the far post where Minhas cleverly headed back across goal into the net to make it 2-0.

On the next attack he nearly had his hatrick when Carr worked hard to get a chance to hit a low cross in from the right, but it was just too far ahead of Minhas for him to get the vital touch.

Whiter had to parry a shot, and then was very confident in the way that he collected a free kick into the box from the right.

Another low cross in from Carr on the right on the 36th minute saw Bowerman power home a shot to make it 3-0.

FC Romania were really under the cosh now as the attacks kept coming as Minhas had a shot which went fractionally wide, Bowerman looked to create a shooting opportunity for himself, but got tackled by the fifth defender, and a Dan Bayliss low cross came to Minhas only for his shot to be blocked.

However the visitors got a goal back just before half time when a free kick from the right came all the way through to the far side of the six yard area and it was tapped home to reduce the deficit to 3-1.

Due the seriousness of Holden’s injury the Bracknell team didn’t go the home dressing room for the half time break, but over the Academy Prefab. Everyone involved with ‘Football in Berkshire’ sends their best wishes to James Holden for a speedy recovery.

Half time: Bracknell Town 3 – 1 FC Romania

As the home side looked to maintain this pressure Captain Harrison Bayley put a ball into the box which reached Minhas, but again his shot was blocked, and from the resulting corner kick Davies saw his header punched clear by Darabant.

Davies was soon involved at the other end when the visitors saw the ball bounce off his arm in his own penalty area, but as they called out for a penalty kick the referee waved play on.

Such decisions have consequences and of course it was suddenly 4-1 as The Robins broke away down the right and again Carr hit a low cross in from the right which came to Minhas at the back post and he made no mistake in bagging his hatrick on the 52nd minute.

Seb Bowerman. Photo: Neil Graham /
Seb Bowerman. Photo: Neil Graham /

Bowerman found himself through in a one on one situation, but as he looked to lob the keeper the ball simply landed in Darabant’s welcoming gloves. Shortly after this though he picked up an injury meaning that he had to leave the field of play. Only problem was Bracknell had made all their substitutions by then, so now had to play the remaining 20 minutes with ten players.

FC Romania took a couple of shots from distance from Ionut Miron and Lupu, but both of them were over the bar. On the 69th minute they gave themselves a foothold in the match when Dinu Barcari broke through the defensive line and beat Whiter to make it 4-2.

This seemed to energise FC Romania and despite lots of industry from Mitchell Parker to keep possession, the balance of control moved to the visitors.

Caden Genovesi was adjudged to have handled the ball on the edge of the area in a dangerous position, and when the free kick again hit Davies in the area there were calls for a penalty, but again the referee saw nothing in it.

Whiter was rendered helpless by a shot from Hurdubei which took a wicked deflection, but came back off the face of the bar, and then when Barcari fired wide from outside the box Bracknell knew that they had weathered the storm.

Full time: Bracknell Town 4 – 2 FC Romania

The team applauded the crowd at the end of this complicated victory which possibly raises more questions than it answers as they host table toppers Hanwell Town on Wednesday night in the Velocity Trophy, before the Robins head off to Haywards Heath Town next Saturday for the First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy.

Bracknell Town: Holden (Whiter 20Mins), Genovesi, Davies, Bayliss, Minhas, Losasso (Parker 65 Mins), Bowerman (Injured), Carr, Kibaki, Bayley & Herbert (Mulley 63 Mins). Unused Subs: Sheridan & Brown.

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