BRACKNELL Town survived a late scare to win 3-2 at Haywards Heath in their FA Trophy tie on Saturday and earn a home tie with Bostik League Premier Division side Bognor Regis Town in the first qualifying round on October 27.

The Robins appeared to be coasting when they led 3-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining, but the hosts pulled two goals back to set up a nervy finish.

The final score was not a true reflection of a game which saw the unbeaten South Central Division high-fliers largely outplay their mid-table South East Division rivals in this all-Bostik League clash.

With skipper Dave Hancock returning to the side at full-back, Joe Gater moved inside to partner Matt Day in the backline and so player-manager Carl Davies relegated himself to the substitutes bench.

Unlike some previous games, Bracknell were quickly into their stride although they did have to deal with their hosts firing some long balls through to their heavyweight strike force.

Once they adjusted to combat that threat, Town always looked in control.

The inspirational Jamie McClurg took charge in midfield, while wide men Joe Grant and Seb Bowerman started to cause serious problems down both flanks.

Grant’s pace was a particular worry to the home defence, who frequently resorted to shirt pulling in a bid to stop him.

In front of a crowd of just over 120, it took the Robins only 11 minutes to take the lead. Hancock made ground down the wing and got to the by-line before cutting the ball back for Adam Cornell to sweep home from close range.

After Heath had squandered a golden opportunity to equalise, Bracknell doubled their lead on 26 minutes through Liam Ferdinand after Cornell’s header had been pushed out by keeper Josh Heyburn.

Soon after, Cornell outjumped the home defence to meet Ryan Parsons’ cross, but just failed to hit the target.

Town continued to boss the game and the only disappointment was their failure in front of goal with several players squandering chances.

They accepted just one more, in the 57th minute, when Harrison Bayley’s cross was headed back across goal by Gater for Cornell to score from three yards.

At this stage, the Robins looked in cruise control, although it did need a fine save by keeper Mark Scott to keep out George Brown’s free-kick from 25 yards.

But the Robins then appeared to ease their foot off the pedal a little bit too much and they paid the price by conceding two goals.

In the 78th minute they failed to deal with a deep cross and Melford Simpson headed home at the far post.

The goal gave the hosts a lift and six minutes later they reduced their deficit even further with a superb effort from Keiran Rowe, whose side-foot volley from the edge of the area flew into the top corner.

Three minutes later, it needed a fine save from Scott at Simpson’s feet to deny the hosts an equaliser.

However, with the Sussex side pushing men forward they left themselves open at the back, and Cornell was not far away with a header from substitute Gavin James’ cross and then in added-on time, Heyburn pulled off a double save to thwart Bowerman.

Bracknell, who are third in the table, return to league action at 11th-placed Uxbridge this Saturday (3pm) and then next Tuesday (7.45pm) play their re-arranged home fixture against Egham, who are currently third from bottom.