sunday 12th January
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Bracknell Manics Redeem a
2-1 Victory against Downshire
The Manics had their first warm-up game of the New Year last weekend, a last minute friendly was organised with Downshire Arms FC. The Manics are finally beginning to find their feet in the league, even though in the bottom 3, Manics goal average, recent performance, and games in hand over other sunday league teams, suggests that an upturn in the Manics XI shall come soon.
Better yet, the Manics injury crisis seems to be improving. Week by week goes by, and more manics turn up to train as the 2003 year kicks off. Nikos had plenty of squad members to choose from this week, 14 in total made it to game from a possible 19 at maximum strength indicating there would be plenty of players fighting for slots in the 1st XI to come, with only the best to be picked...
The team line up was as follows. James Robinson took his place in goal, Luke Phillips got his 3rd start of the season as right back, inside him Tony Hemley, then David Fenton, with James Blackman as left back. The midfield saw the return of David Comper on the right wing, Elliott Fairs and Gary Sarney controlled the centre of midfield, and Mark Eveleigh started the right wing. That meant Glenn Evans played up front; alongside Chris Wilson, back in the UK from his travels.
As the game kicked off, the Manics kickstarted the game, the ball moved quickly on the icy surface, and it was obvious that unless Downshire could match the fitness of the young Manics side, it wouldnt be long before they would concede. If it were'nt for the Downshire's keeper the Manics could well have been 3-0 up at half time. Chris Wilson was the first to have a real chance on goal, breaking through Downshire's defence as if unmarked and in a great position to score. Unluckily for Wilson, the shot was wide, and left the score 0-0 lucky for Downshire.
Gary Sarney would be first to net for the Manics, making his own space and drilling the ball home from far out into the bottom right-hand corner ot the net. It was 1-0 to the Manics. Luke despite a respectable game, had to leave soon after, which meant Ryan Millward would have his chance to prove to the boss why he was worth all the wait of 11 games missed of sunday football. The swap was made and Fenton was off soon too, Brian Judge was played at the back alongside Tony.
15 minutes later, and Gary Sarney scored his second goal, Glenn Evans set up the goal to give Gary Sarney his 10th Goal in friendly games this season. Wilson would take a rest, and give David Fenton a chance to score goals up front. There were no more changes before the end of the half, and the Manics looked ontop of the game, The majority of possession was with the Manics side, and the Downshire's only pressure could have been anything up to 10 minutes of the half, with only one shot on target, and three more over the bar or wide.
The second half kicked off, and after 20 minutes of good football, both teams began to get settled into the game. Elliott Fairs came off to rest next after a bright spell, and Chris Wilson came on to fill his role. Scales slighty tipped in Downshire's favour, slowly creeping further into the game. So within 5 minutes Elliott Fairs was back on again, and Wilson was switched to the right. Mark Eveleigh came off to a round of applause from the fans, and David Comper soon followed too. Phil Pratt came on to make his debut in a friendly game for the Manics.
A clean sheet looked possible, but it was only minutes away until Downshire got their conslilation goal for their hard work in the second half. The game was called off soon after but what was a game for the Downshire Arms, seemed like a mere 'kickabout in the park' for the Manics. Stephen Pierce, Player/Coach for the squad made no appearance with first aid for the game, and despite the early close of game, the Manics were in good spirits and looking forward to the weekend to come. For such a last minute organised game, the Manics still had a good turn-out of fans to watch the match, 12 in all.
Thanks to all the fans and may the Club and its sponsor Advantage Copying Services Ltd. once again wish the fans and followers of the club all the best for the New Year ahead.