Damp, drizzly, overcast, muddy. Not a nice start to a very early morning game. At least the game started brighter with Shinfield dominating the first 15 minutes. Our boys put early pressure on Bracknell. Ajay shot at the keeper. Aidan took a long shot, pulling off a good save from the keeper. Casey’s lofted corner falling for Ellis who sidefooted it just wide of the right post. Some lovely early play by Shinfield, creating good opportunities with Max and Aidan working hard up front to create chances.
Our defence stayed solid with good play from Jack Brown and Vinay to chase down stray attackers and Ajay/Lewis keeping things tight. The pressure finally paid off when Ellis passed the ball down the left to Max who expertly ran along the left goal line, hit the ball into the box where it bounced out to Aiden. Never one to mess about with a golden chance, Aiden immediately slammed the ball into the net from close range. 1-0
Five minutes later the ball is passed into the centre from the left, Dan touches the ball onto Casey on the edge of the box. Casey deftly nudges the ball to his left to sidestep an attacker then launches a left foot rocket into the right side of the goal leaving the keeper standing. 2-0
Shinfield continue to play a tight game. Bracknell attempt a few long balls but Luis is quick off his line to collect.
Casey picks up the ball on the right flank, flips it up over a defender to Max who was running down the right. Max puts a lovely deep cross towards Ellis on the far post. What would have been a relatively easy header for Ellis was thwarted by the keeper who jumped high to get a hand on the ball and deflect it from a waiting Ellis.
The opportunities keep coming. This time, Aiden shows some lovely ball control on the left flank, crosses the ball through the six-yard box. Casey is waiting over on the right. Casey controls the ball nicely and with composure taps the ball into the net 3-0
Ishan makes a strong start in his debut appearance for Shinfield, chasing hard to hunt down any attacks on Bracknells left flank. A Bracknell free kick was lofted high into the area, came out to an attacker who rushed at our goal but Ishan was in quick to deny him any space to shoot. Nice defending.
At half time, things are looking good for Shinfield. An extremely muddy Bracknell goalkeeper was a complete contrast to a squeaky clean Luis – an indication of the one-sided nature of the game so far.
The second half started very differently with Bracknell starting much stronger and Shinfield starting to sit back a bit. Our tight game had become a bit slack and Bracknell started to see more of the ball
Within minutes of the restart, Jack was deemed to have clipped an attackers heal in the Shinfield area and the resulting penalty was competently converted by Bracknell 3-1
Then, another scare as a Bracknell attacker broke through our defence, and with only Luis to beat, slammed it over the bar. A lucky escape. But their pressure paid off just minutes later when a lofted shot from the right was saved superbly by Luis – he could only parry the ball upwards and it came down to a Bracknell attacker who knocked it into a near-empty goal. 3-2
Only 5 minutes into the second half and Bracknell have already reduced the deficit to one goal and look the stronger team. Shinfield need to step up their game. Pete redresses our lack of attacking strength by bringing Max and Ellis back on and the tactic immediately starts to pay dividends.
Casey puts a lovely through ball to Max. As Max runs at the keeper, he is tripped in the area and a penalty is awarded. A normally confident Casey, elects not to take the penalty this time as the penalty spot is in a hole (he has only missed one penalty in recent years and that was a similar ‘penalty spot in a ditch’ scenario). So Max steps up to take it and hits a very central ball straight at the keeper.
This miss was soon forgotten though as Max breaks through on the left, rounds the keeper, shoots and has his ball cleared off the line – but the linesman and referee deem the ball to have crossed the line and award the goal. A welcome two goal gap now, but Shinfield need to stay sharp. 4-2
The Bracknell danger is never far away, they seem to have got their act together up front and are giving our defence a lot more to do. Then a Bracknell player picks up the ball far outside the area and launches a high shot which Luis simply can’t reach – a nice goal and it puts extra pressure back on Shinfield as this game looks poised to run to the wire with only 10 minutes remaining. 4-3
The Bracknell attacks keep coming. Ishan snuffs out another attack. Then a free kick on the Edge of the Shinfield box thankfully comes to nothing.
With time running out, a sigh of relief as Max yet again breaks through the defence. The goalkeeper rushes out to tighten the angle but Max calmly lofts it past him into the left corner of the net 5-3
With Shinfield back on top, they could have extended their lead even further as an Ellis opportunity hits the side netting.
The referee finally signals the end of the game. Shinfield could so easily have let this game slip away in the second half after creating a decent lead in the first. But yet again, they kept fighting and didn’t let the increased Bracknell pressure get the better of them. A great win boys.
Final Score: Bracknell Cavaliers 3 – Shinfield Rangers 5
Scorers: Aiden, Casey (2), Max (2)
Trophies: Aiden, Casey, Charlie, Vinay
Posted by Chris Starke