After finally feeling well enough to get out and watch a game of football, I was hit by another challenge. The weather. With games dropping like flies all day, I was very pleased to hear from Didcot that the Floodlit Cup game between their Reserves and Bracknell Town was going to go ahead. The Loop is far from a new ground for me, but it is relatively close to home, and always a good stadium to visit.
Following on from their FA Vase exploits, Bracknell were fielding a much changed starting eleven. However, it was still a strong team, with the majority of Saturday's bench being given an opportunity to shine.
Considering the amount of rain that has fallen recently, the pitch looked to be in remarkably good condition. This was just as well, because, from the first minute, it was obvious that both of these sides liked to play their football on the ground as much as they could.
For the first 30 minutes of the game, honours were pretty much even. If anything, Didcot may have held sway as far as possession went. They also were the first to cause the opposition keeper to make a save.
However, on 32 minutes, Bracknell took the lead with a well worked move that culminated with Herbert's left-wing cross being headed home by an unmarked Jon Bennett. 0-1.
Three minutes later Bennett was on the score sheet again, this time chesting down a delightful long ball from Wilson before firing in from the edge of the area. 0-2.
Bracknell had suddenly upped their game and, in the space of a few minutes, taken a firm grasp on the game. As the half went into added time a cross from Cornell found Bennet again unmarked in the penalty area. Some deft chest control, followed by a crisp volley and it was 0-3 and a hat-trick for the Bracknell striker.
HT Didcot Town Reserves 0 Bracknell Town 3. The home side more than held their own for the first half hour but Bracknell stepped it up a gear and seem to have put the tie to bed before half-time.
The second half sprang into life 10 minutes in. First of all Joe Gater got his head to a Withers cross and planted the ball into the Didcot net. However, the goal was ruled out for a foul on a home defender. Just over a minute later, Withers was handed a straight red for an off the ball incident that, I'll be honest, I didn't see clearly. I am informed that he kicked out at a Didcot player after a challenge in midfield.
Initially, after Bracknell went down to 10 men, Didcot pressed forward in a an attempt to make their greater numbers count and get back into the game. They were, however, caught short at the back when Bracknell hit them on the break. Roberts was played in only to be forced wide by the keeper. He pulled the ball back, square across the penalty area, and Max Herbert was on hand to make it 0-4.
We were then treated to the goal of the game from Didcot's Alex Marshall when, on 67 minutes, he unleashed a fantastic long-range effort that flew into the top corner of Steinborn-Busse's net. 1-4.
Three minutes later and Didcot reduced the arrears to two. A right-wing corner was met in the penalty area, Steinborn-Busse made a good reaction stop but Chris Mortimore was on hand to lash the rebound into the net. 2-4.
Could we have a great comeback on our hands? Well, just over 10 minutes later we had our answer, and it was no. A Bracknell raid led to Fitzgerald being hauled down in the area and the referee had no option than to point to the spot. Dan Read stepped up and converted the penalty to the keepers left. 2-5.
Then with five minutes remaining , Bennett burst through the Didcot defence, held off a challenge and planted his shot, firmly into the far corner. 2-6.
FT Didcot Town Reserves 2 Bracknell Town 6.
Bracknell Town: Steinborn-Busse, Mugoya, Senussi, Fitzgerald, Wilson, Gater, Roberts, Withers, Cornell, Bennett, Herbert.
Ground Number: Not a new ground