Bracknell Town manager Mark Tallentire was left “devastated” and “hurt” after seeing his side squander a golden opportunity to become Uhlsport Hellenic League champions.
The Robins lost 2-1 to Highworth in their final Premier Division fixture on Saturday, so handing the title to Thame United by three points.
“It’s hard to find the right words to describe how we feel because we didn’t do ourselves justice,” said Tallentire talking with Dave Wright. “We were annoyed that we didn’t do our job. We didn’t have any spark about us. I can’t say how disappointed we all are, as we had a great chance to do something special.”
Town had gone into the game level on points with Thame and boasting a superior goal difference of seven. However, not only did Town lose for the first time at Larges Lane this season, but Thame scored nine without reply at bottom club Henley. A crowd of just over 700 turned up expecting Bracknell to complete the job and they were in with a good chance when taking a first-half lead through George Short, although word was quickly coming through from Henley that Thame were piling up the goals. And the misery piled up for Town when the visitors scored two second-half goal to clinch victory.
“That left me devastated as we don’t lose games at home,” said Tallentire. “What particularly upset me was the manner of the defeat. We got our noses in front and I thought we just about shaded it in the first half, we looked more threatening. There were a couple of opportunities we didn’t take and, in games like this, it’s imperative that you do We had players on the treatment table at half-time and I felt there might be one or two players were not quite at it for the job in hand. Certain players who I expected to excel today didn’t, so that was a disappointment. Unfortunately we didn’t perhaps go out for the second half with the right mindset. You have got to have all your better players fit and playing. As much as the lads who came in did great jobs, we had far too much quality and leadership missing today to really stamp our authority on the game over the 90 minutes.”
Bracknell badly missed inspirational skipper Carl Davies and midfield dynamo Jamie McClurg, both due to suspension. Tallentire added: “It was the manner in which we lost that hurts most. When the opportunities came along, we didn’t take them and they took two of theirs. I am as disappointed as the players, we all felt it, but congratulations to Thame. They have proved they are the better team over the season and I congratulate them.”
He continued: “At the moment, we are all on the floor, but let’s turn this upside down. When I first walked into this club in November (2015) we were second from bottom with only a handful of points. How far we have come in a short space of time is nothing short of amazing. We have made huge strides as a club, there are so many positives around the place. Let’s celebrate and say to ourselves, we had a chance to go up but it wasn’t quite our turn. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise, I don’t know, for me, it’s not.”
Tallentire concluded: “We know need to pick ourselves up and that could be a little difficult, but hopefully, there will be a response from the players. We are still in three cup competitions.”