BRACKLEY Town beat Division Two side Northampton Town 1-0 to capture the Maunsell Cup at James Park last Saturday and get their pre-season campaign off to a fine start.
A 58th minute strike from Elliot Sandy was enough to see Saints home in front of a bumper crowd of more than 550.
Captain Barry Quinn lifted the silver trophy at the end of a well-contested game on a breezy, sunny afternoon.
The Brackley side featured just two new faces in the starting line-up with midfielder Brett Solkhon returning from Kettering Town and centre-forward Jefferson Louis, formerly with Maidenhead United, making a first appearance.
Northampton Town fielded a large number of first team regulars in their line-up.
A lively first half saw the greater enterprise from the Cobblers, Michael Jacobs and Jake Robinson impressing, with the closest to a goal coming on the half-hour as Saints right-back Jamie Clifton made a crucial covering tackle to deny Jacobs. Neither goalkeeper was troubled in a goalless first 45 minutes.
Saints’ first corner of the game on 58 minutes saw the ball scooped away by Cobblers’ keeper Sam Walker with Premier League referee Pete Walton waving away Brackley claims that the ball had crossed the line. It was a decision of just centimetres but from the resulting throw-in Louis’ superb flick header found Elliot Sandy who pounced to steer home a fine shot just inside Walker’s right-hand post.
Just minutes later Sandy’s second strike of the game flashed just wide with Walker beaten and on 66 minutes Owen Story was put through but was denied by Walker’s superb close range save. Within minutes splendid wing-play by Story and a pinpoint cross set up Francis Green but the striker’s header flew over as Saints turned on the style.
Both sides made use of substitutions as managers Jon Brady and Gary Johnson tried out new players but the game retained its flow with Saints holding their lead until the whistle to claim the Maunsell Cup for the first time.
Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton (Dempsey 45), Gould (Jaszczun 59), Quinn (E. Myles 85), Willmott, Kemp, Story, Solkhon, Louis, Sandy (W. Green 77), Winters (F. Green 45).
Northampton Town: Walker, Young, Corker, Turnbull, Tozer (Kaziboni 68), Webster, Davies, Robinson, McKay, Akinfenwa (Wedderburn 45), Jacobs (Yosseff 55).
Brackley are next in pre-season action against Conference side and FA Trophy holders Darlington at home this Wednesday, July 20, kick-off 7.30pm.