Brackley Town manager Jon Brady admitted that his side were deservedly beaten by an impressive FC Halifax side in Sunday’s Blue Square North final at St James’ Park.
Halifax dominated much of the match and won it 15 minutes from time when Lee Gregory scored after Billy Turley saved from the hugely impressive Dan Gardener.
Brady said afterwards: “No complaints at the final score to be honest.
“Both teams were very edge for most of the day, I thought we had one or two half chances and maybe thought we had a penalty opportunity with Gary Mulligan in the first half but really – did we test their goalkeeper enough today? No, not as much as I’d liked.
“Last week my front two were absolutely outstanding but today I thought that their back four and Matty Pearson who held in midfield for them snuffed out anything up to our front two.
“The only time we looked a really strong threat was when Marvin [Robinson] and Steve Diggin came on after the goal.”
Despite the disappointment, Brady was quick to praise his players after a superb campaign that has seen Saints go from relegation candidates to third place in their first season in Blue Square North – the highest level the club has ever played at during their 123-year history.
Brady added: “Our target was 50 points and safety was the idea. We made safety pretty early and then we tried to push on from there. It’s been a really good season, we’ve learned a lot of lessons but we’ll come back stronger.
“Let’s get it right, Halifax have been at this level for two years and they know the level, they’ve got a very strong side.
“But we’ve got a good side as well and it’s fine margins all the time in football – Billy [Turley] makes a fantastic same from the first shot and they get to the rebound quicker than us and then Marvin goes up the other end and has a header just inches wide – they’re the fine margins and over 45 games to get to this point and we lost by one goal.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the fact that these players and my staff have given me everything. To have that fan base turn up today, 1,500 Brackley supporters and if they can come and support us next season, I’m sure we can go one step further.
“I think the only thing that will eat away at the players and me throughout the summer is I know we’re better than that today. It’s a one-off day and Halifax edged the day but there’s good players, good character, good management and we’ll comeback stronger.”