Donaldson's strike ends Saints' hopes in the FA Cup

Brackley Town skipper Gaz Dean and Thierry Audel combined to thwart Hartlepool United striker Nicke Kabamba duirng Saturday's FA Cup tie. Photo: Mark Fletcher
Brackley Town skipper Gaz Dean and Thierry Audel combined to thwart Hartlepool United striker Nicke Kabamba duirng Saturday's FA Cup tie. Photo: Mark Fletcher

A solitary goal from Ryan Donaldson was enough to see Hartlepool United home against Brackley Town.

Four times Saints have reached the first round of the Emirates FA Cup but the trip to Hartlepool stood in the way of a fifth appearance.

Despite putting in a performance that more than matched their National League hosts, it was ultimately a frustrating afternoon for Kevin Wilkin’s side as Hartlepool progressed to the next round following Saturday's slender 1-0 victory.

“We knew Brackley are a good side and that they would cause us problems and they did,” was the verdict of Hartlepool interim manager Anthony Sweeney. “We rode our luck today.”

Donaldson’s long range strike on the hour proved to be the winning goal in a game in which Saints enjoyed the better of things throughout.

Glenn Walker was denied by ‘Pool keeper Ben Killip in the best chance of the first half and it was Walker’s second half shot that came back off the post for Jimmy Armson’s follow-up effort to be spectacularly saved by Hartlepool man of the match Killip. In between, Saints’ saw a clear penalty award for handball waved away and restricted their National League opponents to few sights on goal.

It was the visitors’ industry and creativity that caught the eye in a performance deserving of better on an afternoon of great promise that ended in ultimate disappointment.

“I am proud of everyone’s performance this afternoon, I could not ask for more and of course bitterly disappointed to be out of the competition” Kevin Wilkin said.

“We were away from home, we carried the fight to Hartlepool, we were sharp and moved the ball well and really deserved something from the game. But we now have to dust ourselves down and try to move our league campaign on.”