Tiverton Town v Bracknell Town
Saturday, December 9
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
BACK in September, three months to the day, these two sides met in Sandhurst, Berkshire, where Bracknell emerged victorious, scoring three goals without reply. On Saturday, the Yellows’ will be looking to avenge that defeat.
Many would have fancied last season's play-off finalists to be in the play-off picture. However, as it currently stands, they are in the chasing pack, a side equally as capable of beating our midweek opponents Chesham 4-0, as they are susceptible to losses like they suffered on Tuesday night, beaten 5-0 by another one of the teams looking to mount a play-off charge, Winchester City.
They do have games in hand, but other sides have points on the board. So today will be seen as an opportunity to put a poor result behind them and kick on. Likewise, the Yellows’ good start under Leigh Robinson has faltered in the last two games, losing both. With only one home success all season, our form at the Ian Moorcroft Stadium will be vital in our first task of pulling away from the drop zone.
The Robins are co-managed by Jamie McClurg and Carl Withers, both former players who took over from the successful Bobby Williamson in the 2022-23 season after he left for Weymouth, and what a campaign Bracknell had last term. They narrowly missed out on successive promotions when losing out to Truro in the play-off final and reaching the first-round proper of the FA Cup, where they were beaten by Ipswich Town in a game that was televised.
Jordan Espirit, who took part in that FA Cup tie, should spearhead Bracknell’s frontline. He has nine goals this season; attacking midfielder Nana Owusu, who was playing a step higher for Dulwich Hamlet for the majority of last season, has scored the same amount in a side that shares the goals around the team.
Combative midfielder Ashley Lodge, who was a standout performer during the league campaign and the FA Cup run, will provide the shield for Bracknell’s back four.
Tiverton will be hoping to welcome a few players back today to bolster their squad: River Allen, Jack Rice and Matt Britton all missed the midweek away defeat to Chesham.
Despite this, it appears we were unfortunate in that loss and, if we start to take our chances and be more ruthless in the final third, the Yellows could give the ninth-placed side something to think about.