sunday 9th October 2005
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Baker Provides Beacon of Hope for Manics

Bracknell Manics kicked off their 2005-2006 Berks & Bucks campaign this weekend. After last seasons attitude towards the cup, BMFC aimed for more this season in the Berks & Bucks Cup. The opposition..? A resilient Southcote Video FC. Apart from a verbal No. 4, the rest of the team wanted to play football, which made it very difficult for the Manics to settle into their own game.

Southcote had the first chance of the game; Mark Gates' last ditch challenge missed and SV's no10 broke through on goal only for James Robinson to make a great save in goal, tipping the ball wide for a corner.

Simon Blay, back in the frame, could have put the Manics ahead when a free header was off target. Next minutes later Glenn Evans also had a chance after he linked well with Gary Sarney out on the right his shot bending away from goal.

But Manics found themselves 1-0 down by the end of the first half when the Manics midfield lost the ball to SV's No. 4 who played the ball forward and this time Robinson could do nothing to save it.

No less than a minute later and SV made the same move to hit the bar which was a little unsettling for the Manics to say the least after playing not such a bad half of football.

Half time entertainment included some squaring up from both sides, but it was quickly dealt with. Skipper Glenn Evans got straight to the heart of it, pulling away Manic shirts and at the same time sporting his black eye to SV as an example to the last man twice his size to call him out for a scuffle. At the same time Elliott Fairs sporting attitude beamed like a bright torch - warning the Manics of the consequences they could face if it got any hotter under the collar.

So Manics finished the half a bit downhearted, but they knew if they got one back they could go on to win - right? Well, 10 minutes into the 2nd half and Manics went another goal down as SV made it 2-0.

SV had two more chances in quick succession - one over the bar and another of the post, as Manics seemed to be clinging desperately to hold on in the game.

Then a chance, Simon Blay's hard work in up front - first with a well placed shot saved and next a piece of good attacking in the box, brought down and awarded a penalty. David Fenton stepped up to take, but the SV keeper made a great save to keep them in the game.

Nikos Patsalides made changes soon after, both Simon Blay and Barry O'Connell would come off; Gary Sarney pushed on up front, and off the bench, Tim Roake and Alan Matthias would come on to fill the gaps in the side.

Four minutes later and Manics finally got the goal they were looking for. Gavin Baker opened his account, in front of goal, placing the ball after Gary Sarney did well to tee him up for the shot.

SV looked unstable all of a sudden, holes were appearing in their defence. Soon Alan Matthias took the Manics level in a similar scenario, Matthias doing well to turn a defender before beating the keeper to make it 2-2.

Manics thought they had it sealed just two minutes later when Baker scored his second and took the Manics into the lead, this time Matthias supplying the assist; but then disaster struck when an SV throw was deflected and then bicycle kicked past Robinson and into the net to make it 3-3 taking the game to extra time.

The start of the first period of half time saw Manics come out fighting, and good spell of pressure and SV on the back foot.

But just as the fans thought the game would go to penalties tired legs began to show, and more chances were beginning to spawn.

Early in the second period Gary Sarney was first to score - a beautiful long range effort lobbing the keeper from 40 yards, who could only get fingertips to the ball to stop it making it even more a wonder goal to score and surely the first contender for goal of the season, and Sarney's first yellow card for removing his shirt in all the celebrations that followed.

But Sv wouldn't give up, all credit to them they kept on fighting and sure enough they netted 10 minutes later. Their left back, a 'Tyson' they called him, authenticated a diving header way out of reach of Robinson to make it 4-4 with 5 minutes until the whistle.

But then luck came Manics way; a short corner was taken and David Fenton belted the ball hard and low toward the goal. Taking first one deflection and then another off Gavin Baker the keeper had no chance and Manics went 5-4 up to win the match and progress to the next round.

Scorers: Baker (3) Sarney (1) Matthias (1).
Assists: Sarney (1) Matthias (1).

The Manics Man of the Match went to Hatrick Hero Gavin Baker and the Referee's player of the match went to Gary Sarney for his strike on goal.

Thanks to the fans who came to watch the game!
 Final Result: Bracknell Manics 5 Southcote Video 4

 Man of the Match
   "A great team performance - lets keep it going for next week!"
Gavin Baker  

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