BRACKNELL Town made hard work of defeating Hellenic League Premier Division bottom-club Burnham 2-0 at Larges Lane on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

It took an unfortunate own goal against a side reduced to 10 men from the 65th minute to end the stubborn resistance of the battling Blues.

Certainly, it wasn’t an ideal preparation for Town’s massive FA Vase tie against Marske United, but the three points could still prove vital come the end of the season.

While the players have a burning desire to play in a Wembley final, it’s promotion which remains the club’s main objective and this win keeps the Robins in the title hunt, although they have a great deal of catching up to do. They remain 20 points behind Highworth, but have six games in hand and the leaders have still to visit Bracknell.

However, if Town are to continue their challenge for league and cup honours, then they will clearly have to play better than they did last weekend.

Defensively, they looked secure, while there was plenty of energy in midfield inspired as usual by the industrious Jamie McClurg, but their attacks didn’t flow as usual and there was a lack of sharpness in their finishing.

“We looked leggy, a little bit rusty,” admitted joint-manager Jeff Lamb. “We didn’t move the ball quickly enough at times.

“But we stayed patient and got that little bit of luck (own goal) which we probably needed.”

In front of a crowd of 232, the Robins enjoyed the better of the possession, but the Blues defended in depth and were prepared to throw bodies in front of the ball, including making goal-line clearances.

They occasionally caused some concern to the Bracknell back-four with their swift counter-attacks, particularly when the pacy Brandon Granville was involved.

As they continued to frustrate their hosts, Burnham also grew in confidence as they looked to follow up their recent draw at Highworth.

But when you are struggling for survival at the foot of the table, you also need the assistance of Lady Luck and she again let them down when Ollie Jones, under pressure from TJ Bohane, headed the ball into his own net in the 65th minute.

At the time, Burnham were down to 10 men with Steffen Bennett picking up two yellow cards in the 48th and 50th minutes for fouls on McClurg and Seb Bowerman.

From the first incident, McClurg’s free-kick was headed home by Adam Cornell, only to be disallowed for offside.

With a numerical and goal advantage, Town started to look comfortable and they doubled their lead on 76 minutes.

Substitute Jon Bennett, who had scored four goals in Town’s 6-2 win at Didcot Town Reserves in the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup on Tuesday of last week, had been on the field for six minutes when he was involved in a move that ended with Ryan Parsons’ left-wing cross being headed home by Bohane, his 21st goal of the season.

Joe Grant nearly added another when set up by Bowerman, only for keeper Michael Rundle to block the ball with his legs.

After the game Lamb gave credit to Burnham, saying: “Fair play to them, they played really well. They were quite happy to sit back defensively and let us have the ball at the back, which we didn’t really want.

“We looked more comfortable after we had scored and they had gone down to 10 men and in the end, we got what we wanted, another three points.”