BRACKNELL Town were held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Thatcham Town at Larges Lane on Saturday after missing a penalty and then falling behind to a goal from their former player, Shane Cooper-Clark, writes Dave Wright.

But the point they earned still enabled them to slightly close the gap on leaders Highworth, whose run of 13 successive wins ended in a 4-2 home defeat by Wantage.

The Robins trail the Worthians by four points, but have played two games more.

Town gave full debuts to their two recent signings, Ryan Parsons and Adam Kirby, both in defence, while for the second week running TJ Bohane started on the bench.

The Kingfishers, who had defeated Town 3-0 at home last month, were missing several regulars, particularly in defence, and were able to name only four substitutes.

With both sides playing with some caution, Bracknell were a little slow getting into their stride and were not helped by seeing Jamie McClurg, Kirby and Liam Ferdinand all shown a yellow card between the 18th and 23rd minutes.

Thatcham also had Tom Melledew booked before seeing him force home keeper, Chris Grace, into making a good save, diving low to his left, with a driven shot from 25 yards.

But it was the visiting No. 1, Chris Rackley, who had the most influence in the game.

Bracknell won a corner, which McClurg squared to Joe Grant just inside the area. It caught the defence off guard and, in his haste to stop him, Harrison Bayley brought Grant down.

But Seb Bowerman failed to take advantage from the penalty spot. He hit it low and hard towards the right-hand post, but Rackley read it well and threw himself across to make a fine save.

That gave the Kingfishers a lift and four minutes into the second half they were flying even higher when they took the lead.

The play was in the Bracknell half, but former Binfield striker Jemel Johnson gained possession and launched a quick pass upfield to the unmarked Cooper-Clark, who had time to round Grace and slide the ball into the net.

Soon afterwards, the striker, who had scored twice against his former club in October, went close again when he got on the end of Tom Browne’s accurate cross.

At this stage, Danny Robertson’s men were threatening to get on top, so it appeared a foolish act when defender Curtis Angell got himself sent off after 57 minutes, apparently for foul and abusive language towards the referee.

Yet, for the rest of the game, Bracknell found it difficult to make their numerical advantage count, although they start to create more scoring opportunities.

Carl Davies, who was the best player on view, and Ferdinand went close, while McClurg fired over when well placed. The Robins also had two appeals for handball in the area turned down by the ref as Thatcham’s defence came under pressure.

The equaliser eventually came in the 76th minute. McClurg, Dave Hancock and Bohane, having replaced Ferdinand, and Grant were all involved in the move which ended when Grant’s low cross from the right was neatly turned home by Adam Cornell.

He was unlucky not to have added to his tally, swivelling onto a cross from McClurg and sending the ball inches past the post with Rackley beaten.

Town continued to look for the winner, but Thatcham’s 10 men held out for a deserved point.

Bracknell are away to Burnham at The Gore on Saturday (3pm).