NATHAN Minhas bagged a hat-trick as Bracknell Town eased past FC Romania 4-2 in their Isthmian League South Central Division match at Larges Lane, writes Dave Wright.

But for the second successive Saturday, the Robins were forced to bring 17-year-old goalkeeper Joe Whiter off the substitutes bench.

The previous week he had taken over for the last 20 minutes after Mark Scott had been sent off in the FA Trophy win over Coggeshall.

Scott, who received a three-match ban for his 'serious foul play', was replaced by James Holden, signed on loan from Reading FC last week.

But just 18 minutes into his debut he gathered a high ball under pressure from Romania's Vladut Sighiartau on the edge of the penalty area, but was knocked off balance, causing him to fall awkwardly, breaking his right ankle in the process.

He was carried off – with Scott one of the stretcher-bearers – and later taken to hospital for treatment.

Fortunately, Bracknell secretary Rick Simons had registered Whiter with the league just hours before the game.

Like Holden earlier on, Whiter underlined his promise with his excellent handling and distribution in a game Town always looked like winning.

They were ahead from as earlier as the eighth minute when Minhas turned in Seb Bowerman's cross and, with Whiter now between the posts, the No. 9 netted again on 24 minutes after quick thinking at a right-wing corner by Bowerman and Charlie Losasso.

It became 3-0 after 36 minutes. A move started by Whiter with a throw to Harrison Bayley led to Dan Carr crossing, again from the right, for Bowerman to sweep home from close range.

Romania, fielding virtually a different side from the one which had lost 4-0 to the Robins in the Velocity Trophy less than two weeks earlier, were suspect in defence, but showed promise going forwards and pulled a goal back through George Taban in stoppage time.

Minhas completed his second hat-trick of the season after 56 minutes from a chance created by the lively Carr.

With three substitutes – Whiter, James Mulley and Mitchell Parker all on the field – Robins were forced to play the last 23 minutes with 10 men after Bowerman had limped off with a groin injury.

They conceded a second goal – netted by replacement Dinu Barcari – just before the 70th minute and they had a late scare when their crossbar was rattled by Adrian Hurdubel.

But Town thoroughly deserved their fourth win in eight league games win which moves them up to fifth place in the table.