AN own goal in the first minute put Bracknell on the way to a 3-0 victory in their FA Cup extra preliminary round tie at Larges Lane on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

Yet it took the Robins some considerable time to build on that gift start and it wasn’t until well into the second half when they were able to finally shut the shed door on Cowes with goals from Liam Ferdinand and Joe Gater.

Like in the 2-0 win over Ascot in their opening Hellenic League game on Tuesday last week, Town were unable to produce the outstanding form they showed for much of last season.

But it is very early days, and there is no doubt they will improve.

Defensively, they looked sound, with keeper Chris Grace not having to make many saves in either game.

With Jamie McClurg pulling the strings, Town were industrious in midfield, while plenty was seen of their attack.

However, their usual spark wasn’t always there. They gave the ball away a little too often and, as it had been with Ascot, there was no easy way through the Cowes defence.

But even when they are not at the very top of the game, Bracknell are still capable of winning with something in hand – one of the reasons why they will remain among the leading sides in the Hellenic League.

With the kick-off time having been brought forward by an hour at the request of the Isle of Wight side, Town must have been the first side to score in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Seb Bowerman drove hard down the left and cut in before hitting over a low cross that Cowes defender Ewan Cranwell could only turn into his own net with just 23 seconds on the clock.

Town had early chances to double their lead, with Bowerman and Ferdinand causing most problems, but they found keeper Ed Hatt in fine form.

The visitors gradually started to work their way more into the game, looking little dangerous down their left flank although without being able to create a clear-cut chance.

Manager Mark Tallentire commented: “Defensively, we looked quite tight and I don’t think we ever looked in real trouble.”

At half time, however, he must have been more concerned with the number of times his men gave the ball away.

Whatever was said during the break, Town looked much sharper in the second half and soon had chances to double their lead.

Bowerman fired just wide, while Dave Hancock missed a golden opportunity when the ball fell to him to the right of the goal.

Adam Cornell shot over the bar and was denied by Hatt after the keeper had sent an attempted clearance into his path. Hatt then tipped Gater’s effort over the bar.

The pressure finally paid off in the 64th minute. Joe Grant, receiving from Carl Davies, put Ferdinand through on the right and he drew Hatt off his line before firing low into the far corner.

And within 10 minutes it was 3-0 when centre back Gater moved into an unmarked position to nonchalantly head home Bowerman’s cross from the left for his first goal for the club since his transfer from Basingstoke.

The scoreline did not flatter the Robins and their fans left the ground knowing there are even better things to come from their team.

Town midfielder Kensley Maloney underwent a knee operation last weekend and is likely to be sidelined for up to a couple of months.

But there is better news concerning Khalid Senussi, who was carried off in the pre-season friendly against Chalfont St Peter with an ankle injury. He expects to be back in training within the next week.