BRACKNELL Town produced something truly extra special to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Vase, writes Dave Wright.

The Robins scored three goals in extra-time to defeat Coleshill 4-2 in a thrilling fifth-round tie on a rainy day in Birmingham on Saturday.

It leaves them just three ties – the semi-finals are two-legged – away from a dream appearance at Wembley on May 20.

And they are going to take a great deal of stopping, especially on the evidence of their performance in the opening 45 minutes at a ground which boasts a smart 3G pitch but with facilities dating back to the olden days.

In front of a noisy crowd of just over 300 with a third from Bracknell, Town were at their scintillating best against the Midland League leaders -– well they were in every department apart from putting the ball into the net.

Seb Bowerman, having been set up by George Short, fired them ahead after just six minutes and that early boost drove them on to mount relentless pressure on their opponents who were reeling on the ropes.

Chance after chance was created but not taken. Even when TJ Bohane rounded keeper Paul Hathaway, he somehow failed to find the target.

The busy Hathaway was beaten again by Joe Gater, only for the ball to strike the crossbar. Gater also went close on a couple of other occasions, as did Bowerman, Short and Joe Grant, while Coleshill’s Luke Edwards deflected Grant’s cross inches wide of his own post.

Robins, producing a classy performance on their preferred type of surface, should have been out of sight by the half-hour mark, but their failure to capitalise on their domination seemed to give Coleshill some encouragement.

After 27 minutes, Bracknell were forced to make a change when their man mountain at the back, Justin Clayton, was forced off with an ankle injury. Gater switched from a deep midfield role to join Carl Davies at the heart of the defence, while the experienced Carl Withers came off the bench to fill the vacancy.

Towards the interval, the hosts started to come a bit more into the game, showing pace down their right flank, but Chris Grace had very few shots to deal with in the visitors’ goal.

However, he was let down by his defence six minutes into the second half when they failed to deal with a long high clearance down the middle and Reece Leek raced through to equalise with a crisp finish to Grace’s left.

Town looked stunned and they started to come under pressure with the Colemen believing they could bag the next goal to turn the game around.

The second half saw last year’s beaten Vase semi-finalists enjoy their best period of the match, carving out a few half-chances, but they were never really able to take control.

At the other end, Grant wasted another golden opportunity from Bowerman’s cross, while more good work by Bowerman led to substitute Adam Cornell forcing the ball home, only to be ruled offside.

The Larges Lane side, now with Cornell and Bohane up front, looked the more likely side to settle the tie, but had to wait until five minutes into extra time to get their noses in front again.

After Grace had pulled off the best save of the match to deny Ryan Wynter Town returned to the attack and Cornell turned in a right-wing cross from Bohane, who had been fed by Grant.

This second goal fired up their boosters again while they were lasting the pace better than a side where heads were dropping, and Town went further ahead courtesy of a superb strike in the 114th minute by Grant from the edge of the area.

With the extra 30 minutes virtually up, there was a slight scare when Town conceded a second goal with Davies unluckily turning Edwards’s flick into his own net, but less than two minutes later the same player and Jamie McClurg combined to put substitute Jon Bennett clear in the home penalty area.

As he tried to round Hathaway the keeper upended him to concede a penalty, which Bowerman hammered home to seal a memorable day for the club.

His second goal of the afternoon capped an excellent performance from the winger and it was a toss-up between him and midfield dynamo McClurg for the man-the-match award.

This Saturday, it’s back to Hellenic League action for the fifth-placed Robins with a trip to struggling Fairford.

Clayton will be missing due to his ankle injury, but he said he hopes to be back for the Vase quarter final against Marske United on Saturday, February 24.