BRACKNELL Town manager Sam Lock said "football can be a cruel game" after seeing his new keeper, James Holden, carried off the field in agony, writes Dave Wright.

Their Isthmian League game against FC Romania was less than 20 minutes old when the teenager, on-loan from Championship club Reading, landed awkwardly after a challenge.

It was first feared he had broken his right ankle, but the latest diagnosis is he has suspected ligament damage.

The Robins had signed Holden, who has recently played for Bognor Regis Town, to fill in for Mark Scott, who was missing the first of three games following his sending off a week earlier.

"It's a great pity about James and we hope he makes a swift recovery. He is only 18 and had done really well in the time he was on the pitch," said Lock following his side's 4-2 victory.

Fortunately, the Robins had again named Joe Whiter among their substitutes and, like he had in the FA Trophy win over Coggeshall, the 17-year-old found himself between the posts for the second Saturday running.

"Young Joe again came on and did well. He certainly could not be blamed for the goal he conceded," commented Lock.

The manager will now have to decide whether to put Whiter in his starting line-up for their home Velocity Trophy tie against South Central Division rivals Hanwell tonight (Wednesday) or bring in another keeper.

"Joe had done well, so probably deserves an opportunity. He trains hard and has a good attitude."

An alternative is to recall the dual-registered Sonny Wheeler who is at Hellenic League club Windsor.

"Sonny is doing really well there and I would be reluctant to take him away as Windsor might not have another keeper," stated the manager.

His task to build a new-look side following a mass clear-out during the summer has been badly hampered by injuries, forcing him to sign a large number of players, a few of whom have not stayed at Larges Lane for long.

"We have been quite unfortunate with injuries," admitted Lock.

"We get players back, only to lose another one or two, but it's all part of football.

"Fortunately, at Bracknell we have young players keen to get involved here. They are hungry to succeed and I am really proud of how they are all doing."

Lock was generally pleased with their performance against Romania, commenting: "There was a good flow about our play and had the game not been interrupted (due to Holden's injury) I think we would have scored one or two more goals before half-time."

Robins led 3-1 at the break thanks to two goals from Nathan Minhas and one by Seb Bowerman, with the former going on to complete a hat-trick, his second of the season.

However, Bowerman did not complete the game as he limped off after tweaking his groin and it meant Town were left with 10 men for the last 25 minutes as they had already used all three substitutes.

"That was a bit unfortunate as 99 times out of 100 it doesn't happen. To be left with 10 men wasn't ideal, but the boys dug in and did well," stated Lock.

Bowerman is hoping to be fit for their FA Trophy tie at Haywards Heath this coming Saturday.

Town have done their homework on their mid-table Isthmian League South East Division opponents, with Lock commenting: "They have some dangerous players. They have only lost twice in the league and it will be a difficult place to go to and win."