by Pete Martin

Salisbury returned from their trip to Bracknell Town empty-handed as a late goal condemned them to a 2-1 defeat. There were 4 changes from the midweek thriller at Poole Town; Richard McIntyre, Dan Fitchett and Jayden Perez coming in for Aaron Simpson, James Harding and Sam Perry, whilst in goal there was a debut for Harry Lee; the young custodian replacing Josh Gould who left the club this week.   

The home side have a formidable record on their own patch this season but it was the Whites who saw the first sight of goal; just 2 minutes on the clock when Charlie Gunson curled a free kick a yard over the top of the goal. It didn’t take long for Bracknell to settle and after a weak shot from Joe Grant didn’t trouble Lee, the same player drew a good save from the keeper on 7 minutes when he found space in the right-hand channel. In an entertaining start to the game, Salisbury’s Josh Hedges fired a 25-yard effort straight down the throat of Michael Eacott in Bracknell’s goal on 9 minutes as both teams threatened early on. Following a fast and furious opening 10 minutes, the game settled down with both sides looking to pass the ball around and not letting up in their tempo. The game’s next chance however didn’t arrive until 21 minutes were on the clock and it saw the home side take the lead. A spell of possession saw Ashley Lodge play a clever ball through the defence to find the run of Grant, and he kept his cool to fire home from 12 yards out.   

Salisbury continued to battle and on the half-hour mark they created their best chance of the game; Hedges getting in on the right-hand channel and from a good position firing his shot narrowly wide of the far post. 2 minutes later Bracknell threatened again, Hayden Vaughan finding Billy Stedman but Lee making himself big and blocking the effort. The home side were looking the more dangerous towards the end of the half and after Grant headed over from a free kick, George Knight could only fire his effort over the top of the bar as they went into the half-time break a goal to the good.   

A half-time change for the Whites saw Simpson coming on to replace Perez, with a change in formation to 3 at the back. Bracknell however were the team to start the half stronger; Stedman seeing a low shot saved by Lee before Vaughan flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal, no teammate able to apply the finish though. At the other end Salisbury winger Noah Coppin put a first-time shot wide of the post before on 52 minutes they drew level. Quick feet and skill from Hedges in a central area saw him feed the ball through to Fitchett, with the striker showing good composure to slot the ball home under the onrushing Eacott. The Whites were seeing more of the ball, but Bracknell were looking dangerous when they came forward and either side of the hour mark Vaughan shot high and wide of the target and then Grant attempted to put a header across goal rather than at the near post; the chance going begging though as no teammate could get on the end of it.   

Salisbury’s next chance arrived on 68 minutes and saw skipper Sido Jombati play a long ball through only for Gunson to see his attempt at goal blocked behind. From the subsequent corner, the same player swung a dangerous ball into the 6-yard box where Fitchett could only bundle the ball wide when well placed. Both teams then traded chances; Grant and Fitchett seeing efforts blocked at either end of the pitch, before on 73 minutes Stedman curled a free kick over the top of the bar. As the game entered the final 10 minutes of normal time it was Bracknell who were on the offensive and it was only a fine block from Salisbury’s Tom Leggett that denied substitute Gary Abisogun, before the same player drew a fine save from Lee having twisted and turned his way into space in the box. As the game ticked into time added on there was one final chance for the home side and they took it to grab what proved to be the winner. A corner was swung into the far post and Anthony Cheshire rose high to head it goalwards, with the referee taking his time before deciding that the ball had crossed the line before being cleared. The Whites continued to battle to the bitter end; pressuring high up but unable to create a game-saving chance as Bracknell maintained their fine home record with a 2-1 victory.   

Salisbury are back home next Saturday 10th February when they entertain local rivals Poole Town in a 3 pm kick-off.  

Team: Lee, Smith, McIntyre, Jombati, Leggett, Penny, Perez(Simpson), Gunson, Hedges, Coppin(Harding), Fitchett(Robinson) Unused Subs: Lewis, Took-Oxley

Ian Pearson
February 4, 2024

Ian Pearson

Media & Website Manager