BRACKNELL Town completed their busy and eventful pre-season programme with a welcome 2-1 win at Thame United on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

It was much needed following a far less than impressive display when they lost 3-2 to Binfield last Tuesday.

Liam Ferdinand was credited with both goals although it is generous giving him the opener as it was more of an own goal from a Thame defender.

He was unlucky on other occasions and Town should have won more comfortably in a game they largely dominated against their Evo-Stik South Division One Central hosts.

The Robins intended fielding the side they want to start in their opening Isthmian League game against Waltham Abbey next Saturday, but Seb Bowerman wasn’t available while Ryan Parsons was relegated to the sub’s bench as he will be missing next weekend.

Skipper Dave Hancock switched to left-back with Joe Gater crossing to the right side – opposite to how they finished the game at Binfield.

In both of last week’s friendlies, new signing Mark Scott was in goal and looks set to start the season as Town’s No. 1. That is bad news for Chris Grace, who has been virtually an ever-present for three seasons.

Bracknell will be keen for him to stay, but they have no reserve side and he will not be happy sitting on the bench. If he does want away, there should be no lack of interest from other clubs.

There have already been a number of departures from Larges Lane, most of them players who had reportedly signed in recent weeks.

Realising they had too many players for certain positions, the Robins last week released Scotty Rees, who has now returned to Thatcham, Tom Willment and Damien Smith, who immediately joined Reading City, while Khalid Senussi has switched back to Binfield.

In addition, Mitch Parker, who was announced as a ‘signing’ last month after appearing in early pre-season games, has rejoined Reading City (he scored a hat-trick in their 5-1 win at Shrivenham on Saturday) and James Tripp has signed for Burnham.

Of the newcomers, former Slough duo Scott and centre-back Matt Day will be expecting to face Waltham Abbey, and also in with a good shout is striker Gavin James, signed from FA Vase winners Thatcham, who did well after coming off the sub’s bench at Thame and linking up with his former Kingfishers teammate, Ferdinand.

Another ex-Thatcham player, Josh Helmore, proved an able deputy for Bowerman, firing in some dangerous crosses into the United area before Ferdinand saw his effort turned into the net by a defender with Adam Cornell waiting to pounce.

Town thoroughly deserved their 15th-minute lead as they dominated most of the first half and they nearly followed up with a second goal, Helmore’s volley being brilliantly saved by keeper Craig Hill.

But after 35 minutes their defence was split rather too easily, leading to Scott giving away a penalty and Ben Sturgess bringing the scores level.

Ten minutes into the second half Cornell gave way to James, who immediately set-up chances for Ferdinand.

He was twice denied by the keeper and then the crossbar before crashing the ball home from close range to restore the visitors’ lead in the 58th minute.

Joe Grant, having taken the ball past two defenders as he cut across the edge of the area, saw his left-footer go wide and substitute Kane Fitzgerald wasn’t far away from putting his name on the scoresheet.

Town should have won more easily and their failure to take scoring opportunities looks their main concern going into the Isthmian League opener on Saturday (3pm).

But they will go into the game in a confident mood following this very encouraging display on a top-quality pitch at Thame.