FOOTBALL: Conference South side Dartford swept Brackley Town aside 3-0 in Saturday’s FA Trophy first round tie at St James Park.
A disappointing first half of few chances gave way to an impressive second half display by the visitors who ran out comfortable winners.
Always on top, Dartford escaped claims for a 29th minute penalty for handball only to earn their own spot-kick for a similar offence ten minutes later, captain Elliot Bradbrook firing home in off the cross bar to give the Darts a lead their dominance deserved.
Brackley found the going tough against a disciplined and strong Dartford team playing with the confidence of a side with promotion to the Conference in their sights.
Ryan Hayes and Richard Graham came closest to breaking the early deadlock for Dartford, Hayes lobbing over when well placed and the excellent Graham shooting over on 34 minutes.
Brackley came out after the break brightly with Jefferson Louis lively up front and Carl Palmer combative in midfield. Louis’ surging run past full back Matt Jones threatened the equaliser and Saints’ Billy Turley saved well from Graham’s fierce shot before the crucial moment in the game arrived on the hour. Centre forward Jacob Erskine produced a superb finish from 20 yards to beat Turley and double the lead as Dartford broke at speed.
Within three minutes Erskine pounced at the far post to claim his second goal of the game to make it 3-0 and despite a spirited all round showing there was to be no way back for Brackley.
Late chances for both sides could have added goals but Louis’ fine run and deep cross saw Elliot Sandy’s header blocked in Brackley’s best chance of a consolation. Tony Garrod shot wide for Dartford and Sandy fired over in the final minutes but the score-line reflected the visitors’ superiority on the day.
Brackley return to league action at promotion rivals Chesham United this Saturday before the big local derby game on Boxing Day against Banbury United, kick-off 3pm at St James Park.
Brackley Town: Turley, Myles (Jaszczun 61), Clifton (Magunda 83), Palmer, Green, Kemp, Story, Solkhon (Dempsey 85), Sandy, Louis, Diggin.
Dartford: Wells, Jones, Rogers, Bonner, Goodacre, Champion, Hayes (Wallis 81), Harris (Burns 18 (Garrod 74)), Erskine, Bradbrook, Graham.