Brackley v Vuaxhall Motors
Brackley Town extended their unbeaten run to 10 games with a slender 2-1 victory over Vauxhall Motors at St James’ Park this afternoon.
A dominant first half performance from Saints was rewarded with Steve Diggin’s penalty before Izak Reid’s superb free-kick doubled the lead on the hour-mark.
Vauxhall hit back through Matthew Williams’ deflected shot, but Brackley were well worth the three points despite needing some desperate late defending to hang on.
Kevin Roberts was named at right-back for Brackley after signing on-loan from Cambridge United this week, while Gary Mulligan partnered Diggin up front.
Saints made the livelier start at a sun-drenched St James’ Park, with Gary Mulligan putting an early half chance well over as Brackley bossed the opening exchanges.
Diggin and Glenn Walker also had half chances, before their early dominance was rewarded when, on 13 minutes, Walker was fouled in the penalty area and Diggin stepped up to coolly dispatch the spot kick and give Saints a deserved lead.
Walker should have made it two moments later but he shot straight at Jones from six yards as the home side overwhelmed Vauxhall with some slick interplay and high pressuring, forcing the visitors into a string of mistakes.
It was then Izak Reid’s turn to shoot straight at Jones after a mazy run, before the visitors had their first spell of pressure but Brackley’s intensity and impressive work ethic reduced Vauxhall to few openings.
Although the visitors did have their moments, Brackley never looked in danger of conceded as the back four showed why they hold one of the best defensive records in the country, well-marshalled by the ever-impressive Ryan Austin at the heart of the Brackley defence.
The remainder of the half saw little action, with Vauxhall growing into the game but they failed to test Billy Turley in the home goal, leaving Saints to take a deserved lead into half time.
Jon Brady’s side retained their threat after the break and remained marginally on top, with Steve Towers and Reid both going close, before the second goal arrived via a superb free-kick from Reid that curled into the top corner from 30 yards.
It appeared Brackley were heading for a comfortable victory, but Vauxhall Motors got themselves back into it seven minutes later when, out of nowhere, Matthew Williams’ shot from 18 yards took a wicket deflection, giving Turley no chance.
Vauxhall had barely threatened up to that point, but the goal breathed new life into the visitors and they began to enjoy more of the ball, with Turley having to be alert to keep Brackley’s slender lead intact.
The visitors cranked up the pressure and came within inches of levelling when the ball was whizzed across the home goal and it appeared destined to be touched in but Brackley somehow managed to scramble it clear.
Reid then had a golden chance to wrap up the three points but skewed his shot wide when well-placed following a Brackley break.
Some desperate defending was required to keep Vauxhall at bay as the visitors piled forward in the final minutes, but it was to no avail as Brackley held on to notch their seventh win of the season.
Brackley: Turley, Roberts, McDonald, Towers, Nisevic, Austin (c), Reid, Solkhon, Mulligan (Sandy 72), Diggin (Griffin 72), Walker.
Subs not used: Story, Kaziboni, Jarvis
Vauxhall: Jones, Wainwright, Barnes, Hannigan (c), Nocholas, Noone, Rutter, Williams, Stott, Noon, Kosylo (Fearnehough 56).
Subs not used: Clair, Rugg, Davies, Martindale
Referee: Neil Radford