Brackley march on in FA Trophy Mickleover

Elliot Sandy battles for the ball against Mickleover
Elliot Sandy battles for the ball against Mickleover

Brackley Town travel to Weymouth in the league this weekend after edging a tight FA Trophy contest 1-0 against Mickleover Sports last Saturday.

A 94th minute winner was needed to separate two teams that both contributed in full measure to a highly competitive first qualifying round tie at St James Park.

A penalty in added time was the knock-out blow for the Derbyshire visitors, despatched high to keeper Damien Clarke’s right by Brackley substitute Jefferson Louis after right-back George Everett-Elliott had handled while on the ground.

Sports had survived an even more clear-cut penalty appeal on 82 minutes when centre-back Nick Wood handled but referee Andrew Fox had waved play on much to Brackley’s anguish.

Still goalless on 90 minutes, a single moment was always going to settle this tight encounter between two well matched sides. That moment should have arrived for the visitors on 74 minutes when central striker Karl Ashton fed the excellent Kieran O’Connell who took a touch before firing at close range at keeper Paul Walker who pulled off a superb save to keep the sides level.

An attritional first half edged by Brackley in terms of possession and territory brought a more open second half that still lacked goalmouth incident.

While Mickleover came more into the game, creating early pressure and breaking well, Saints looked dangerous down both flanks with wide-man Owen Story in the thick of things.

As the game went into its final minutes Saints’ Paul Dempsey’s fine shot deserved better than to strike the frame and then came the penalty.

Within seconds of the re-start it was all over and by the narrowest of margins to continue Saints’ fine run of form.

Unbeaten in five with five successive clean-sheets Saints return to Evostik Southern League Premier Division action at Weymouth this Saturday.

Saints will play either Hemel Hempstead Town or Croydon Athletic in the Vase second qualifying round after the sides drew at the weekend. They meet in the replay this Wednesday (October 26).

Brackley Town: Walker, Myles, Clifton, Palmer (Dempsey 65), J Green (Willmott 4), Kemp, Story, Solkhon, Diggin (Louis 65), Sandy, Winters.

Mickleover: Clarke, Everett-Elliott, Grocott (Strzyzewski 90), Walshe, Wood, Watkis (Smythe 65), Graves, Martin, Ashton, O’Connell, Slater.