Brackley Town will face a FA Cup second qualifying round replay at Gresley on Tuesday after the two teams drew 1-1 at St James’ Park on Saturday.
A spirited Gresley side earned a replay after a game of few clear chances as below par Brackley Town could not capitalise on their greater possession. The visitors packed the midfield to good effect marrying determination and tactical discipline to ask questions of their opponents from two leagues higher.
For much of the game it was the Glenn Walker show as Saints’ wide-man threatened every time he had the ball.
Four times in the first half Walker created space for a shot but was denied by the close attentions of defenders and on 67 minutes a fine move initiated by Greg Kaziboni saw Walker meet a deep cross from Nat Jarvis but shot straight at keeper Ross Etheridge.
The introduction of Jarvis and Kaziboni just before the hour livened up a Saints’ side running out of ideas before the deadlock was broken.
Both goals came within a minute of each other midway through the second half. Marc Strzyzewski conceded a foul on the edge of the penalty area receiving a yellow card and Walker stroked the free-kick home leaving Etheridge rooted. Within seconds, Gresley were level. Defensive hesitation saw Kieran O’Connell through but the striker was felled by Billy Turley who went into the book without argument and former Stoke City winger Marc Goodfellow tucked the penalty kick into the corner for his fifth goal of the season.
A disappointing final 20 minutes saw plenty of effort but little scoring opportunity so both sides head into a replay on Tuesday evening for a place in the third qualifying round.
Brackley: Turley, Nisevic, MacDonald, Towers, Story (Kaziboni 59), Austin, Reid, Solkhon, Griffin (Jarvis 54), Diggin (Sandy 88), Walker. Subs unused: Sharpe, Mulligan, Johnson, Worby.
Gresley: Etheridge, Roome, Guy, Strzyzewski, Barrett, Grice, Graves, Jepson, Oliver (Nadat 82), O’Connell (M.Withers 90+1), Goodfellow (Holmes 81).
Referee: Grant Taylor