BRACKLEY Town opened up their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 loss to Nuneaton Town at St James’ Park on Tuesday.
The match was a timid affair that was overshadowed by a serious injury to Nuneaton skipper Mark Noon.
Play was delayed for more than 40 minutes after the 28-year-old appeared to break his leg following an innocuous challenge.
Once play resumed, Nuneaton took little time to open the scoring when hesitancy from Brett Solkhon in his own penalty area allowed Andy Brown to nip in and fire past the helpless Billy Turley.
The visitors remained on top and almost doubled their lead moments later as Turley did well to deny Neil Cartwright at his near post.
Town came close to levelling following neat work from James Clifton and the lively Elliot Sandy but the latter’s free-kick flew just wide.
But Nuneaton, who were promoted from the Blue Square North last season, remained the better side and should have added a second but Danny Newton’s close range effort produced a fine save from Turley.
The rest of the half produced little quality in a match that was being played at walking pace.
Brackley made several substitutions at half time, including bringing on former Luton Town left back Sol Davis.
Town began the second half much the brighter side and came within inches of scoring when Sandy’s glancing header from Stephen Diggin’s cross sailed just wide.
Sandy came close again five minutes later as his powerful shot was saved by Nuneaton goalkeeper McDonald.
With under 10 minutes remaining, Nuneaton nearly put the game out of sight but Adam Walker volleyed wide.
Brackley had one final chance to snatch a draw with seconds remaining but Diggin’s long-range effort went wide to hand Nuneaton victory.