04:30PM, Thursday 05 September 2019
Flackwell Heath bounced back from a drubbing at Burnham by progressing in the FA Vase and picking up three points in the league this week.
The Heathens beat Arlesey Town 3-1 in Saturday’s cup clash before producing the same result at home to Reading City in the Hellenic Premier Division to banish any lingering fears from last week’s 5-0 rout. The fine pair of results was capped off by gaffer Marcus Richardson himself strapping on his boots and getting on the score sheet on Tuesday night.
After a fast opening to the game against Richardson’s former side Reading – previously Highmoor Ibis - the Heathens opened the scoring with captain Josh Baines firing home 30 minutes in.
But Reading City equalised inside of ten minutes after being awarded a penalty when Mo Davies went to ground in the 18-yard box.
The sides remained level until Richardson brought himself on to play up front and with ten minutes left the manager headed in Baines’s 35-yard free kick. After seeing his side getting joy out of aerial chances, he said he was asked by his coaching staff: “Do you not think you will give them problems?”
“I said, I would think so,” Richardson added.
“I was trying to leave (the substitution) as late as possible. I don’t want to take the opportunity of a youngster on the bench.
“I did prove them (the coaching team) right to a certain degree.”
He said he can’t run as much ‘but I still have my almighty strength’, and used it to good effect as he outfought his marker in the box.
Reading City pushed hard for an equaliser but instead conceded a third when ex-player Khalid Simmo picked up the ball inside Flackwell’s half, beat three defenders and scored to guarantee the win.
Simon Johnson, Reading City’s manager, worked with Marcus at then-Highmoor Ibis.
“I tried my hardest to bring him over. It is what he does, it is what he gives (as a coach), he gives good intel to the game.”
Richardson believes Johnson’s high-tempo approach on Tuesday night shows his philosophy has rubbed off on his former protégé.
The results have buoyed Flackwell, who turned around a 1-0 scoreline on Saturday against Arlesey to go through in the FA Vase, after last week’s disappointment at Burnham.
“The boys have given a good account of themselves and I didn’t expect anything less, to be honest,” Richardson said.
He is still a few weeks away from all of his players being fit. “At full strength, we can be a real threat in the league and cup action.”
Flackwell take on Fairford Town at home on Saturday.
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