Following the excellent performance against Eastbourne last weekend, City continue their FA Trophy quest on Saturday when they travel to face new opponents in Bracknell Town of the Southern League Premier South. Although they reached this fourth round stage two years ago, victory would see them in the last sixteen for the first time since 2015.
Bracknell, who play in Sandhurst, are enjoying a successful season in both league and knock out competitions. They presently lie in sixth position, their most recent home fixture seeing a 5-0 demolition of Hartley Wintney, who of course were City’s opponents in the FA Cup back in the Autumn. That was the seventh win in the last eleven matches and while automatic promotion looks very unlikely, this season will already be deemed a success for their exploits in the premier knock out competition.
The Robins fought through three qualifying rounds before shocking National League North Banbury United to earn a big pay day in the first round. Appearing live on ITV, they took on League One Ipswich Town in front of around 2000 at Bottom Meadow and acquitted themselves well in a 3-0 defeat.
The Berkshire club have reached this stage of the Trophy by eliminating Canvey Island and North Leigh before two more giant killings against familiar opponents to City. A 4-2 win at Tonbridge Angels was followed by a 2-1 triumph at the Priory Lane home of last Saturday’s opponents Eastbourne Borough.
So Bracknell are certainly not a team to be taken lightly by City supporters, especially in view of the struggles against lower level clubs in the Cup earlier this season.
Starting life in the Surrey Senior League, Bracknell have also competed over the years in the Spartan, Isthmian and Hellenic competitions. 2021/2022 was a monumental season for the club; under the guidance of former Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson, promotion to Step Three was achieved for the first time in the clubs’ history. The Isthmian League South Central title was secured with 96 points out of a possible 108 and with a 20 point winning margin before a move across to the Southern League. Following Wilkinson’s move to Weymouth in September, Jamie McClurg and Carl Withers took over as joint managers.
Tickets for the match can be bought in advance from the Bracknell website, priced at £10 for adults and £7 for concessions. Those paying at the gate will be charged an extra £2.
For those supporters wishing to make the ninety mile trip from Bath by car, there are directions and parking advice here.
The Supporters Club are running a coach and seats can be booked at its website.
And for those wishing to use the train, the trip from Bath Spa will take two hours with a change at Reading. The ground is a 0.7 mile walk or bus ride from Sandhurst station.