Monday 27th January 2003
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Manics Left Wandering how They Lost...

Bracknell Manics faced top of the league Birch Wanderers this weekend. Still in high spirits from last weeks stuffing of Molly Millars FC, Bracknell Manics looked for three more points and another step up the table. The squad missed Paul Milner and Glen Evans, so up front this week, was Darren Dean and David Fenton, the midfield and defence stayed the same as last weekend, with James Robinson in goal.

Both teams started brightly, Luke Phillips dealt with the pressure well at the back to begin with, as did the rest of the defence too. The Manics cut out the long ball attack down each wing, and Birch also did well to cut out the dangerous through-balls from the Manics side.

15 minutes of good football rolled by then Elliott Fairs looked suspect of an injury after he did well to cut out an attack on goal. Stephen Pierce kept a watchful eye over the Fairs, and the team motored on looking for an opener in the game. On the 20th minute, Darren Dean won a corner, which was looped into the box by David Fenton. Ryan Millward made contact with the ball; it was on target but safely into the hands of the Birch keeper. Birch had a corner at the Manics end soon after, and showed that they too could be dangerous on a set piece.

The best chance of the game came on the 25th minute. Elliott Fairs, who was still on the pitch, won a header from the opposition's goal kick, and sent David Fenton down the wing. David Fenton turned the defender, and put a dangerous low ball into the 6-yard box which Darren Dean and the keeper went for 50/50. The keeper though showed great strength, and kept the score level at 0-0. 5 Minutes later and the Wanderers came closed after a cross met their number five's head, just brushing wide of the post.

If it had gone in, David Fenton's effort could well have been goal of the season. The talented young player hit a 25 yard left foot volley from a tight angle, and the keeper again, made an amazing save to keep his team in the game and give Manics a corner. Mark Eveleigh delivered the cross, Tony Hemley met it well, only to see the effort first saved of the line by a defender and then hit the bar, before being cleared to safety.

Half time was drawing near; James Blackman picked up a deflected ball and struck it curling into the top left hand corner with his left foot. But again, the keeper pulled off a great save and tipped the ball off for another corner. The Manics were slowly getting the better of the half, and then the goal came. Another corner was conceded at the Birch end, David Fenton took, and Tony Hemley made a gorgeous header into the goal to make it 1-0 to the Manics at the end of the half.

Elliott Fairs played on, and was strapped up to play the next half. The battle wasn't over yet, and it would be obvious that the Birch side wasn't going to give up easily. After ten minutes, Birch Wanderers handballed outside the box, Gary Sarney took and had his first on target this season, but again the keeper tipped it over for a corner.

After 25 minutes of the second half, Birch Wanderers had a corner, and accidental handball in the area went unnoticed and the referee allowed the goal to make the score 1-0. Both teams could go on to win the game, and Birch Wanderers brought on fresh legs too. James Blackman made had another great effort from far out and hit the ball. More chances fell either way, but it was the Birch who would come from behind to win the game and stop the Manics unbeaten run in the last 5 minutes of the game. Their pacey forward broke through the Manics defence and slotted in the goal to make the final score 2-1

Unlucky to the Manics, who deserved at least one point, in this nail biting game.

Thanks to all the fans who came to watch the match.

 Final Result: Bracknell Manics 1 Birch Wanderers 2

 Man of the Match
   "It just ain't fair is it.!?"
Tony Hemley  

 Next Week's Match: No Game
 Ground: N/A

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