FOOTBALL: Celebrations were sparked on Saturday as Brackley Town captured the Southern League Premier Division title with a hard fought 1-1 draw at Oxford City.
With Oxford Brackley’s only remaining challengers nothing short of a win could keep City’s lingering title ambitions alive. Those hopes were extinguished by a thoroughly efficient performance by Brackley as they secured the greatest prize in their 120-year history before a crowd of more than 500.
But the afternoon started badly for the visitors as a catastrophic defensive mix-up allowed ex-Saint Steve Basham to nip in and steal a third minute opener. The danger wasn’t over as an 11th minute header by left-back Adam Learoyd went just wide of the Brackley goal.
But Saints bounced back on 13 minutes as Glenn Walker’s cross evaded all-comers in the box and fell to Owen Story who finished with power and precision.
Brackley enjoyed the major share of possession showing the greater creativity before City finished the half on the offensive. After the break both sides had chances to add to the score. Elliot Sandy’s penalty kick was saved by City’s excellent young keeper Jason Mooney on 51 minutes and James Clifton’s strike was tipped over in spectacular fashion by Mooney on 75 minutes after good play by the energetic Story.
For City, Basham executed good skill and a fine shot that was just over. With 10 minutes remaining pressure on Billy Turley’s goal brought a scrambled clearance.
A heavy shower turned the pitch into a quagmire as the clock ticked towards full-time. When the final whiste blew joyous celebarations broke out among the Brackley players and fans.
Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton, McDonald, Palmer, J Green, Robinson, Story, Solkhon, Mulligan (Magunda 86), Sandy, Walker. Subs unused: Myles, Kemp, W. Green, Jaszczun.
Oxford City: Mooney, Clarke, Learoyd, Ballard, Skendi (Bell 68), Blossom, Lyon, Benjamin, Basham (McDonagh 86), Woodley (Barcelos 70), Martin. Subs unused: McLoughlin.
The new league champions play their final game this Saturday against St Albans City at St James Park, kick-off 3pm, when a bumper crowd is expected to turn out to salute them.
Next season they will step upto either the Conference North or South and will have a great opportunity to continue their success story under boss Jon Brady.