A competitive Longlevens side matched a high flying Bracknell Town side for the best part of an hour before suffering a 3-0 defeat.
The game started slowly due to the cold with the players taking time to adjust and warm up in the tough conditions. But in a flash the visitors had two golden opportunities in as many minutes. Ash Wintle was called into action when Joe Grant burst through on goal, Wintle was powerless though when Terence Bohane rounded him only to fire into the side netting from a tight angle.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark the games temperature rose in what was a fiery first half. Craig Martin, defender turned forward for Longlevens, nutmegged Adam Kirby only for the Bracknell man to try and hack him down. The two testosterone fuelled men put their heads together and it threatened to get seriously out of hand, a yellow card a-piece followed.
Both sides started to wind the other up with multiple little nibbles and flicks at the opposition were being given by the ref, with both benches screaming for every decision. Ed Smyllie was then chopped down in his own box as he cleared it and you wondered what the referee was doing. Bracknell were feeling uncomfortable and you could see it. Constantly in the official’s ears at every beck and call saw the man in the middle have enough and stopped the game to talk to the visiting dugout.
The scrappy and broken play suited Longlevens and they came into life just short of the half hour mark when Myron Turner swept a glorious ball to the left hand side to Shaun O’Connor. O’Connor swapped passes with Ellis Sausman before cutting in and firing just wide. It would be down the left for Longlevens again a few moments later when Sausman played a ball up the line to O’Connor again. The winger played a one two with Craig Martin before unfortunately slipping as he shot from the edge of the box.
After a 10 minute spell on the back foot Bracknell regained control and dominated the end of the first half. Corners were being won and fired into the box but with minimal attempts actually being made at the Longlevens goal. The hosts knew they had to see the half out and they defended incredibly well.
Joe Grant went down in the box under an Ellis Sausman challenge just before half time with a corner given, despite the visitors’ appeals and cries for a penalty. Bohane went into the book for a foul on Smyllie that asked more questions to be honest. The referee gave a foul and a yellow for Bohane jumping with his arm up in the face of Smyllie. I would argue if the ref has seen it, then its a red card!
The second half started with Longlevens on the front foot and Bracknell really struggled to get out of their own half. Chances went begging for Brad Martin and Craig Martin. Bracknell regrouped and just before the hour mark broke the deadlock. It was that man Joe Grant again, he picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and stumbled and bundled his way through one on one with Wintle before stroking it beyond the Longlevens keeper.
Longlevens brought on Connor Linham and his pace caused Bracknell full back Ryan Parsons a lot of trouble. Linham and Welch linked up well on the right before the ball fell to Dave Merrick who half volleyed wide. Linham then fizzed a shot from 25 yards into Chris Grace in between the sticks for Bracknell.
A matter of minutes later after Luke Kavanagh gave away a free kick in a dangerous position Bracknell would double their lead, the set piece being cut back from the byline to Adam Cornell who dispatched the effort past Wintle.
Jonty Welch snatched a shot wide from the edge of the box before Bracknell went down the other end and killed the game. Left winger Seb Bowerman found himself in on the left, he cut back before playing the ball across goal. Was it going in? I don’t know but it hit Adam Cornell and ended up in the back of the net regardless.
In the end Bracknell saw the game out and deserved the three points. The game was much closer than the 3-0 scoreline suggests. For over an hour Bracknell found it hard to break Longlevens down and would score their second and third on the counter.
For Longlevens the only real disappointment would be their lack of composure in front of goal. They pressed as a team for 90 minutes and didn’t give it up at all. They showed that they belonged on the field with Bracknell, a side whose players would bark on early in the game as if they had the divine right to just show up and get three points.
Looking at the game neither Ash Wintle or Chris Grace were too overworked and neither had to make any strenuous saves, the only difference is Wintle picked the ball out of his net three times.
Longlevens: Wintle 6, Dunn 6, Smyllie 6, Kavanagh 6, Sausman 7, Merrick 6, Welch 7, O’Connor 7 (Vanstone 80′), Turner 6 (McCabe 73′ 5), C Martin 6 (Capt) (Linham 61′ 7), B Martin 6
Subs not used: Kennedy, Byard
Bracknell: Grace 6, Hancock 5, Parsons 6, Kirby 5 (Mugoya 58′ 6), Gater 7, Davies 6, Grant 8, McClurg 6, Cornell 7 (Withers 82′), Bohane 7 (Bennett 74′ 5), Bowerman 6
Subs not used: Senussi, Short
Severn Sport Man Of The Match: Jonty Welch