LIAM Ferdinand marked his first appearance in a Bracknell Town shirt with a goal during their 2-1 defeat by Hungerford in Tuesday’s friendly at Larges Lane, writes Dave Wright.

The striker, who scored 41 goals for Binfield last season, has not yet officially signed for the Robins, but he is expected to put pen to paper by this weekend.

Moles manager Roger Herridge commented: “He will be a great signing for them. Ferdy said he wanted a new challenge.

“We are sorry to see him go, but understand his reasons for doing so.

“He joined us lacking in confidence and leaves us full of it.”

Bracknell boss Mark Tallentire stepped up his search for a new striker when last season’s leading scorer, TJ Bohane, left for Southern League Division One South & West side Swindon Supermarine.

He is also looking to sign a new left-back with Johnny Gray taking a step back from regular football due to family reasons.

“He will only play if we are really short of players for some reason,” said Tallentire.

Gavin Smith, who wanted more regular football, has also left and signed for Badshot Lea, a club close to his home.

The rest of the Robins squad is much the same as last season and all played in the first half against Hungerford.

They included wide-man Joe Grant, who missed the end of last season due to a foot injury.

Tallentire commented: “He has worked so hard to get back into shape and it was nice to see him play without carrying an injury. He will get loads of confidence from those 45 minutes.”

Centre-back Joe Gater, previously with Basingstoke, was another new face on view in Tuesday’s friendly.

The first half ended 1-1 with Seb Bowerman and Adam Cornell setting up a 42nd-minute equaliser for Ferdinand shortly after Nicholas Bignell had fired the Crusaders ahead.

Bracknell fielded a completely different side in the second half with several new faces including striker Jon Bennett, who was at Binfield last season, and Sam Bunting, a keeper from Beaconsfield.

The Robins held out until 15 minutes from time when Tom Meecham and Luke Hopper combined to notch the winner.

Tallentire was “well pleased” with what he saw over 90 minutes, saying: “It was a great work out for us – exactly what we needed.

“In the first half when we had the bulk of the first team out and we coped quite admirably against National League opposition.

“In the second half the lads took a bit of time to adjust and we looked a bit nervous with not enough people working hard enough to make angles for others, but that is what pre-season is all about to iron those things out. The main thing is everybody got 45 minutes.”

Bracknell are hosting a four-team tournament over the next two weekends, with Binfeld, Wokingham & Emmbrook and Eversley & California also involved.

There will be two matches at Larges Lane each Saturday and Sunday, kicking off at 2pm and 6pm.

Bracknell will be missing keeper Chris Grace as he is on his stag weekend.

In the meantime, Herridge is looking to strengthen his Binfield team as it appears that Ferdinand is not the only one of last season’s squad who won’t be re-signing with the Moles.

Midfielder Harrison Bayley has been linked with Thatcham Town.