BRACKNELL Town safely navigated their opening FA Cup tie with a performance that manager Mark Tallentire described as “erratic”, writes Dave Wright.

Despite being gifted an own goal inside the opening 30 seconds, the Robins took a long time to put the game to bed. But in the end, they defeated Cowes Sports 3-0 and will now meet Southern League West side Winchester City in the preliminary round at Larges Lane a week on Saturday, August 19.

This victory sealed a good opening week to the season, as Town had kicked-off their Hellenic League programme with a 2-0 win over Ascot United last Tuesday.

Yet in both games, they were not really seen at their very best, although that did not come as a total surprise to Tallentire.

He explained: “You look at games at this time of the year, just after pre-season, and you can get erratic performances and we saw one today.

“We were not so good in the first half, but we sorted a few things out at half time, and in the second half we were back to our usual selves.

“I just wasn’t happy with the tempo of anything about us in the first half.

“We looked uncomfortable, playing slow and sluggish. That is not us, we like to play high tempo, quick, incisive football.

“I thought in the first half we played to their strengths a little bit, not our own.

“The players knew that at half time, they didn’t need me to remind them.

“They responded really well, we looked loads sharper, we were decisive and we looked like our old selves.

“In the end, we scored three goals, we kept another clean sheet and we’re through to the next round of the FA Cup – they are the positives.

Tallentire added: “We were looking for a consistent performance today, but got an inconsistent one. We need to play like we did in the second half for the whole 90 minutes.

“Looking ahead, we now need to play like we did in the second half, but be a bit more consistent with our performance levels.”

Winchester will almost certainly offer tougher opposition when they come to Larges Lane as they play a level up – in the West Division of the Southern League.

Bracknell will have a chance to check them out, as the Citizens have a home game with Kidlington next Tuesday.

This Saturday, the Robins are away to Royal Wootton Bassett, having hammered them 6-0 in the corresponding fixture last year.

They will be missing skipper Carl Davies, who has a one-match suspension following his sending off against Ascot last week.