BRACKNELL Town knocked Flackwell Heath off the top of the Hellenic League table by defeating them 3-2 at Larges Lane on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

“If we are to be up there come the end of the season, it’s teams like Flackwell we have to beat, so we’re delighted with this result,” beamed Robins boss Mark Tallentire.

“It was a tough game, but you would expect that against one of our toughest rivals.

“We knew it was an important game for us, and I thought we set about our task very well. It was a tough game with some highs and lows.”

The highs included two superbly-taken first-half goals, which ended Town’s run of three games without scoring in the opening 45 minutes.

A red card for Joe Gater and an injury to striker Liam Ferdinand were low points, with Tallentire also a little concerned about his side’s defending after seeing them concede two goals for the third game in succession.

Another bright spot on a very wet day was the display from Philip John on his full debut.

“He is a player of quality with a wealth of experience,” commented Tallentire about the former Marlow player.

“He has been training with us for some time and it’s now a matter of getting him up to full speed fitness wise.”

John, playing wide on the left, opened the scoring with George Short doubling Town’s advantage before half-time.

“It was George’s third goal in as many games and it’s pleasing when you have a midfielder capable of scoring regularly for you,” said Tallentire.

Previously-unbeaten Flackwell opened their account from the penalty spot, awarded against Gater for handball.

“I am not sure it was a penalty. I don’t think anyone saw him handle the ball, not even the Flackwell players,” the Robins manager commented.

“Then to compound the issue, Joe later got a second yellow card and we were down to 10 men. It meant we had to change things around a bit, but all credit to the lads for holding out.”

Jon Bennett, who replaced the injured Ferdinand, put the issue beyond doubt with a late third goal although the Heathens did net their second deep into stoppage time.

The Robins have now conceded six goals in their last three games, which led to Tallentire commenting: “Defensively, we are not quite as sound as we should be and that is something we need to work on.”

Town will be without the suspended Gater for their long trip to Gloucestershire on Saturday to play Brimscombe & Thrupp (3pm).

But striker Adam Cornell is set to return, having missed the Flackwell game after becoming a father for the second time last week.

Bracknell now go three weeks without a home fixture, giving them time to complete the rebuilding and refurbishment of their clubhouse which was badly damaged by a major water leak.

Club chairman Kayne Steinborn-Busse said: “We are taking this opportunity to make a number of improvements in and around the bar area.”

The work should be completed in time for the visit of Oxford City Nomads on September 30.