FOR the best part of the season, they had looked the more likely candidates, many people rating them the second best team in the South Central Division, writes Dave Wright.

Sadly, on the day when they had to deliver the goods and live up to their reputation, they fell someway short.

Bracknell Town were beaten 3-0 by Cheshunt in the play-off final to decide who would be promoted along with runaway champions Hayes & Yeading.

The Robins were rocked by two blows either side of half-time. They had played well before conceding the opener, but the second goal knocked much of the stuffing out of them and they never looked their usual bright and confident selves for the rest of the game.

In the end, it was hugely disappointing, for the club, the players and their fans, but Town can still look back on the season with a tremendous amount of pride.

This was their first in the Bostik League after promotion from the Hellenic and Geoff Warner's team have produced numerous magical moments en route to a second place finish in the league, which they achieved without losing a home fixture.

They had beaten Westfield 2-1 in the play-off semi-final last Tuesday in front of a crowd of nearly 600, and close to a 1,000, including a good-sized contingent from Cheshunt, packed Larges Lane on Saturday.

The hosts were forced to make a very late change with Harrison Bayley failing a fitness test and his midfield role was taken by skipper Dave Hancock, although Bayley was still named among the substitutes.

Robins keeper Mark Scott was soon in action, diving low to his left, to push the ball away for a corner, but the game's first good chance fell Bracknell's away.

Liam Ferdinand, moving onto a through ball from Adam Cornell, raced clear into the area. Similar opportunities this season had been tucked away, but not this time as the team's leading scorer allowed the ball to roll too far in front of him and keeper Harry Girling was able to gather.

Another good chance fell Town's way when Joel Jacobs delivered an excellent cross in the direction of Adam Cornell, only for his header to fly over the bar.

There was a scare for the hosts at the other end, when Mark Hughes struck the foot of the post before seeing the ball scrambled to safety.

Cheshunt, who had come from behind to beat Marlow 2-1 in their semi-final earlier in the week, were clearly a talented team, but Bracknell continued to look marginally the better of these promotion-chasing sides.

They were still pressing forward as half-time approached when they were caught out by a sharp counter-attack from the visitors in the 45th minute.

A long ball came in from their left flank that found Shane Cojocarez unmarked just inside the area and his side's smallest player had time to pick his spot past Scott.

Bracknell still had 45 minutes ahead of them to hit back, but the second half was barely two minutes old when they found themselves two goals down. They failed to clear a ball into their area and the alert Cojocarez was in the right place to fire home.

This was a killer goal as Town never looked capable of recovering. The Ambers were in the ascendency with captain Hughes superbly dictating operations and controlling the midfield.

Bracknell needed a player to trigger off an extra spark in an attempt to wrest the grip the visitors were taking on the game.

But the ideal candidate was again missing with Jamie McClurg having decided to end his season a few weeks ago for personal reasons.

He has been badly missed, even in those games which they won.

Joe Grant looked Town's best hope of pulling back a goal, but despite his promising runs down the right flank, few openings came their way.

In pushing men forward, they were again caught out in the 53rd minute.

A deep right-wing cross from Jason Hallet fell invitingly for Brian Moses and the tall striker had time to smack the ball past Scott on the turn.

So the game – like the season – which had offered so much promise for Bracknell ended on a bitterly disappointing note.

Cheshunt and their fans stayed late to celebrate, while a number of Town players went home to pack their bags for a holiday in Marbella.

Having made such an impact during the campaign, several players will almost certainly be wanted by other clubs.

They will be offered more money and chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse may need to dig deeper into his pocket to keep his star men at Larges Lane.

But he knows Scott, Ferdinand and Seb Bowerman all rejected opportunities to move away earlier this season and will be hoping that loyalty to the club will continue in the months ahead.

This failure to secure a second successive promotion may have slowed the process, but Bracknell are still a club going places under their hugely ambitious chairman's leadership.

It was a double heartbreak weekend for goalie Scott. He also played for Wealdstone on Sunday when they lost 3-2 to Woking in their National League South play-off semi-final, conceding three goals in the last 15 minutes.