Saints go clear at the top

Football.Brackley Town v Workington.Elliott Sandy.'120915M-E116
Football.Brackley Town v Workington.Elliott Sandy.'120915M-E116

Brackley Town went three points clear at the top of the Blue Square North after beating Workington 3-1 at a sun-drenched St James’ Park on Saturday.

Saints went into half time leading 1-0 but they were pegged back shortly after the break before going on to dominate the remaining 40 minutes.

The hosts created chance after chance – playing some superb football in the process – and they finally got their reward through goals from the outstanding Elliot Sandy and Glenn Walker.

Town are now three points clear at the top of the table following Chester’s 3-2 loss at Boston and they are also the only club in the top eight leagues in the country to hold a 100 per cent record.

The first half was an even affair with the only real moment of note coming when the linesman injured himself, which resulted in a seven-minute stoppage while a replacement was found.

But, despite struggling to carve out many goal scoring chances, James Clifton gave Brackley the lead on the stroke of half time.

The home side came flying out in the second period but it was Workington who levelled against the run of play.

However, that just seemed to spur Saints on as they went on to totally dominant the half and were only denied by an impressive goalkeeping display from Aaron Taylor.

But Town did finally breakthrough and went on to clinch a deserved victory.

The result was reward for a slick second half performance with manager Jon Brady more than pleased with his some of his side’s football that they displayed.

Under clear blue skies, Workington got the match under way and were immediately on the back foot with goalkeeper Taylor doing well to deny Sandy.

The striker had a second a chance moments later but a block denied him from 12 yards after a neat passage of play from the hosts.

Both teams struggled to carve out many scoring chances with the only incident coming when the linesman pulled his hamstring.

Brackley upped the tempo on the resumption and almost took the lead when Brett Solkhon fired narrowly wide from 30 yards.

The visitors then began to pose problems as they put together some neat periods of play before coming close to taking the lead when Jordan Connerton volleyed Phil McLuckie’s header just wide after a flowing move.

As the first half dwindled to an end – with 10 minutes of stoppage time – the visitors again went close but Jonny Wright’s header dropped onto the top of the net.

Workington were ending the half on a high and went closest to scoring again when a mix-up in the Saints defence allowed Gareth Arnison to get a shot on but Bully Turley saved smartly down to his left.

And they were punished for their wastefulness as Brackley went straight up the other end and took the lead seconds before half time.

After Workington could only half clear the ball fell to Clifton who rifled a 30-yard shot that was deflected into the bottom corner.

Brackley came out all guns blazing in the second half and – after having a big penalty shout turned down – almost doubled their lead but substitute Steve Diggin shot straight at Taylor.

With Brackley looking in command, the visitors levelled totally against the run of play when Wright tapped in after McLuckie’s glancing header from a free-kick.

Saints responded impressively as they immediately went up the other end and should have re-taken the lead but Diggin somehow missed from just two yards out.

The second half was being played at a frantic pace as there was barely chance to catch breath in an end-to-end encounter as Brackley went close again but Walker couldn’t reach Sandy’s cross-cum-shot.

Brackley began to assert their authority and they had a another chance when Curtis McDonald and Sandy linked up well before Taylor saved superbly at his near post from the former.

It was all one-way traffic as the home side wasted several golden chances with Story this time the culprit as his tame effort from 12 yards was easily saved.

Sandy, who had been orchestrating things throughout, then shot over before the outstanding Taylor produced a superb save to deny Solkhon.

But, finally, the home side did take the lead that they had worked so hard for as the impressive Sandy bundled in from a yard following a goalmouth scramble from a corner.

Brackley were content to play out for the win but they could count themselves lucky not to concede in the closing minutes as Josh Todd shot wide at the back post when left completely unmarked.

Saints remained dangerous and they sealed victory in stoppage time when Walker tapped in following a pull-back from Winters to clinch the three points.

Brackley: Turley (c), Clifton, Hatswell, J Green, McDonald, Story (Winters 76), Odihambo (Corcoran 90), Solkhon, Walker, Sandy, Mulligan (Diggin 37)

Subs not used: W Green, Nisevic

Workington: Taylor, Cowperthwaite, Rowntree, May, Bolton, Vaulks, McLuckie (Boyd 84), Hewson (c) (Todd 84), Wright, Connerton, Arnison (Wraighte 70)

Subs not used: Andrews, Simpson

Referee: Alan Young

Assistants: John Steel and Martyn Holmes

Attendance: 476

Star Saint: Elliot Sandy - Most of Brackley’s good play went through the striker as he caused problems for Working throughout the match with his vision and passing