HARRISON Gilkes made a bittersweet debut for Bracknell Town in their 3-2 defeat at Wantage on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

The 23-year-old son of Reading FC coach and former player Michael Gilkes scored an excellent goal, but minutes later pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury.

Town have signed the Slough and former Basingstoke player on a dual registration as he needs match time following a long lay-off with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Gilkes, playing mainly wide on the left, looked impressive and caused the Wantage defence plenty of problems.

And his sad departure from the field certainly contributed to the Robins’ third Hellenic League defeat in five games as they suddenly became less of a threat to the Wantage defence.

Yet Town started well enough at Alfredian Park, but there was a warning of what the hosts could offer up front when Steve Robertson was only denied by Alex Rodrigues’ goal-line clearance.

But it was still slightly against the run of play when sloppy defending saw the Robins concede a soft goal to James Glover after 21 minutes.

Soon afterwards, Gilkes set up Kensley Maloney, whose shot flew over the crossbar and Joe Grant went even closer with a similar effort.

However, Grant made no mistake a minute before half time, timing his run to perfection to head home Maloney’s cross into the area for a deserved equaliser.

And Bracknell took the lead three minutes into the second half when Gilkes struck a well-placed low shot past keeper Curtis Meare from a chance set up by Seb Bowerman.

Within five minutes the smile had been taken off Gilkes’ face as he slumped to the ground in pain while running for the ball.

Substitute Jon Bennett arrived on the field just in time to see Wantage gifted a 56th-minute equaliser when, despite four defenders in close proximity, Nick Thorne still had space and time to pick his spot past Karl Steinborn-Busse.

Seven minutes later more questions were being asked about Bracknell’s defending when Glover was allowed to get in a shot that Steinborn-Busse was able to push out, but only in the direction of Robertson, who just couldn’t miss.

Wantage now held the upper hand and, despite pushing more men forward, the visitors never really looked capable of grabbing a late equaliser.

Fourth-placed Bracknell have another tough game this Saturday when they travel to Wilks Park to play second-placed Flackwell Heath (3pm). Then next Tuesday (7.45pm) they host Wantage.