OH, it was close, very close, writes Dave Wright.

With two of the three added-on minutes having ticked by, Bracknell Town were leading Bognor Regis 2-1 in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy thanks to excellent strikes from Liam Ferdinand and Jamie McClurg.

Then, disaster struck for the Robins as Bradley Lethbridge banged home a superb equaliser to force a replay in a dramatic finish to an absorbing and highly entertaining tie at Larges Lane on Saturday.

Although Bognor play in a higher division of the Bostik League, Bracknell matched them in every department.

The visitors' form had slumped in the last couple of weeks, but they still provided formidable opposition to a Town side which had hammered Egham 7-1 in the league on Tuesday of last week.

Having missed that midweek game through a groin injury, Mark Scott returned in goal and enjoyed another outstanding game. However, he and Town were in luck early on, with Bognor twice rattling the crossbar in the opening 10 minutes.

That was a clear warning the hosts would need to tighten up their defence – and they did just that.

Carl Davies and the rest of the back four – which included the young Johnny Hathaway deputising for the injured Ryan Parsons – played magnificently, as did the midfield, where once again McClurg was the main source of inspiration.

Wide runners Joe Grant and Seb Bowerman were causing problems for Bognor's defence, as were strike duo Adam Cornell and Ferdinand.

And it was Ferdinand who secured the breakthrough after 21 minutes, using his pace to create space for himself before firing into the bottom right-hand corner, just out of the reach of keeper Dan Lincoln.

Spurred on by this goal, Town started to stamp their authority on the game, winning most of the 50-50 challenges and looking sound in defence. That was until the 35th minute, however, when the seasiders equalised a little against the run of play.

Skipper Dave Hancock, playing at left-back, was turned inside out by Jimmy Muitt as he cut inside and unleashed a well-placed shot beyond Scott's reach into the far corner.

But, in front of a crowd of 339, the Robins responded superbly to the setback and it took them just six minutes to regain the lead.

Bowerman's cross from the left was cleared, but only in the direction of McClurg, who brought the ball down and from nearly 20 yards hammered an unstoppable shot past Lincoln.

Bognor nearly grabbed a quick equaliser when Lethbridge's shot found Scott going the other way, but the keeper still managed to turn the ball away.

Scott also made a fine save from Joe Tomlinson early in the second half, as he did with a low free-kick from the same player with 20 minutes remaining.

Lincoln, the Finchampstead cricket captain, was equally as busy at the other end, making one particularly outstanding stop to prevent Ferdinand scoring his second goal of the afternoon.

With time running out, Lincoln even ventured upfield for a corner and got himself involved in a challenge close to the corner flag before racing back to the other end.

Referee Stuart Kyle indicated three minutes of added-on time and the game had just gone into the final 60 seconds when Lethbridge, who is on loan from Portsmouth, was put through down the left and hammered an unstoppable shot into the far corner to break Bracknell's hearts.

Last night's (Tuesday) replay meant the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup tie at home to Reading FC will be re-arranged.

Although not all-ticket, Bracknell have had tickets printed and close to 600 were sold by early this weeks. All tickets will be valid for the new date.

Next Tuesday, November 6, the Robins are due to visit Egham in the second round of the Bostik League's Velocity Trophy, with the winners home to Felixstowe & Walton United or Northwood.

Town crushed Egham 7-1 in the league on Tuesday of last week with Ferdinand, Bowerman, Cornell and Grant (2) on target, while Ferdinand and Cornell forced two visiting defenders to put the ball into their own net.

Second-in-the-table behind Waltham Abbey, Bracknell host 13th-placed Hertford in the league this coming Saturday.