Sunday 03rd October 2004
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Gloves off as Magic Manics Deck Partridge

Bracknell Manics had a number of players out for this 1st round fixture at Birch Hill. Man-rock Tony Hemley was holidaying in Egypt, as was talismanic leader Nikos Patsalides. Graham McDonald was injured, rib, and suspended was new centre half Mark Gates, so Simon Blay slid in to fill one of the spots, Brian Judge the other. Blay's move inside meant Joel Curran had to plug the gap at right back; something he wasn't too pleased about - more of that later.

A travel-weary Mark Robertson took his place up front alongside last weeks hat-trick hero Barry O'Connell. Midfield was as-you-were for the Manics. Aaron Goddard took the armband and from the toss he knew it was going to be a battle against Dog & Partridge, as the Partridge skipper used the old "squeeze fingers into hand" trick we've all had off uncles in the past.

The Dog & Partridge had been late, meaning they were slightly cold. So BMFC raced into an early 2 goal lead. The first a clever finish from the on-form O'Connell and the second a delicate lob from Robertson. The Partridge showed grit and determination to get back into the game and did so from a long throw to make it 2-1 before half-time.

During the interval, 30 year old playmaker Joel Curran threw his toys out of the pram and declared he was no good at right back. He told coach Andy Impey that he was left sided, but no-one cared which side he dressed on and told him to get on with it. And get on with it he did, with a sturdy display at right full back. He eventually came off to be replaced by Dave Fenton.

However, the 2nd half wasn't old when the Patridge found their equaliser. A corner or long throw, not sure which, found its way to the back post where veteran danger man Kettle was there to nod home. D&P's main artillery was the long ball and set-plays, but they pressed well with these tactics, forcing the Manics into similar balls upfield themselves. Although it became
slightly less pretty to watch, chances did keep coming.

Within minutes of being pegged back, Manics got a third. A corner pinged around the Partridge penalty area, ending up with Robertson drilling home a right footed effort from close range. Despite being caught once, the Manics were determined to hold onto this lead. But they didn't. A 25 yard free kick flew above James Robinson's head into the net to make it 3 apiece.

A fiercely competitive game saw 2 red cards with about 15 minutes remaining. Already booked from the first half, Goddard and the D & P no.9 exchanged words and pushes, prompting the peroxide ref to brandish a second yellow to each. Coach Impey threw on new signing Steve Dennaford in attempt to steal a winner. But the referee knew of ways to get the Manics through to the next round without goals...

After awarding BMFC a free kick outside the box, the referee was then subjected to some cajoling from the opposition. He could only take so much of this before he picked up the ball and said "it's all over".

A good determined Manics performance, stained only by the harsh red card for Goddard and conceding three goals from set-pieces, means they go into the hat full of confidence.

Written by: Simon Blay

Thanks to the fans who came to watch!

The Manics Man of the Match went to Barry O'Connell.

 Final Result: Bracknell Manics 3 Dog & Partridge 3

 Man of the Match
   "Nothing to say - read my report"
Simon Blay  

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