Brackley Town produced arguably their best performance under Kevin Wilkin to date when they swept to a thoroughly deserved 4-2 victory at Stockport County.
County came into this game lying second in National League North and they started well as Brackley adjusted to a changed line-up in Luke Graham’s absence, but it was not long before Saints were in control and they never relinquished their grip despite the home side’s second half fight-back.
“It was a good response to Tuesday’s defeat and a polished performance,” was how Wilkin summed up the afternoon.
Lee Ndlovu had already seen one shot blocked when well placed before he side-footed his side in front in the 20th minute after good work by Shane Byrne.
As Brackley surged forward again just a minute later, Steve Diggin’s deflected shot won a corner from which captain Gareth Dean headed his side’s second goal to stun home supporters in Edgeley Park.
Former AFC Fylde winger Danny Lloyd reduced the deficit with a 27th minute solo effort, but ut Brackley immediately restored their two goal cushion as Matt Lowe drove forward from midfield to pick out Diggin who made ground and played in a superb low cross that Ndlovu fired into the net.
Both sides spurned a chances apiece for further goals before the break, Jimmy Armson’s shot deflected for a corner after Diggin’s perfect pass had found Ndlovu and only Alex Gudger’s last ditch block keeping County out as Saints defended manfully.
Two-goal Ndlovu limped off to be replaced by David Moyo for the second period as Brackley braced themselves for an onslaught, but this did not materialise as a well-crafted move involving Diggin and Adam Walker set up Armson who went close and Moyo brought a good save by Hinchliffe.
That won Saints a corner and for the second time in the match, they scored with a header direct from a pin-point delivery, this time Gudger winning a powerful header to put his side into a 4-1 lead.
Substitute Adam Thomas forced in a loose ball from an 89th minute corner for The Hatters and the referee added four minutes of additional time but the final result was not in doubt.
With seven points from three away games Saints leap-frogged above Stockport and are in seventh place after the opening five fixtures, all against teams in the top half of the table.
“We won’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Wilkin. “We look at each game, one at a time.
“Next up is a difficult home game this Saturday, but a performance and a result like this makes Sunday morning a lot more enjoyable!”