Brown heads Saints into an opening day victory

Brackley Town's James Armson takes on  FC United of Manchester's Connor McCarthy and Tom Brown
Brackley Town's James Armson takes on FC United of Manchester's Connor McCarthy and Tom Brown

Andy Brown marked his competitive debut for Brackley Town with the late winner as they beat FC United of Manchester on the opening day of the Vanarama National League North campaign.

Saints won 2-1 in a game they dominated but in which both sides struggled to find their rhythm, especially in a first half of few clear cut chances.

United’s Joel Senior cleared off the line from Lee Ndlovu, Jimmy Armson’s fierce shot was parried by keeper Lloyd Allinson and Alex Gudger fired over at full stretch as the visitors were on the back-foot and rarely threatened themselves. The best chance of the opening period fell to Shane Byrne after good work by Glenn Walker but his shot spun wide.

Saints finally made their dominance count by taking the lead through Armson in the 51st minute. Adam Walker’s surging run into the penalty area set up the chance and Armson made no mistake converting from close range.

As the home side spurned numerous half chances to put the game out of reach a rare foray by United brought an equaliser in the 74th minute. A fine cross by Connor McCarthy found Jason Gilchrist who finished off expertly to level the scores.

But within three minutes Saints were back in front as Brown headed in Shane Byrne’s neat cross. United created some moments of discomfort for the home defence in the closing stages but Saints held on for a deserved opening day win.

“It’s a good start and a welcome three points,” was manager Kevin Wilkin’s verdict.

“We played a solid game but had a nervy period when we allowed them to equalise. We created lots chances in the first half that we failed to take but having been pegged back we came back with a terrific second goal.”