Holders pushed all the way but come through big test

Brackley Town's Liam McAlinden gets in  a shot against Hayes & Yeading United. Photo: Jake McNulty
Brackley Town's Liam McAlinden gets in a shot against Hayes & Yeading United. Photo: Jake McNulty

Buildbase FA Trophy holders Brackley Town moved into the next round after an entertaining tie played in atrocious conditions.

Saints beat Hayes & Yeading United 4-2 in Saturday’s first round tie in which all six goals came in the second half.

The first half was dominated by the home side who failed to capitalise on their chances. The second period however delivered richly on goals as Saints twice went ahead only for a spirited Hayes & Yeading side to level twice before the hosts finally sealed the win late on.

For the visitors, Duncan Culley went close early on but it was Saints who were unable to make more of good opportunities in a goal-less first half. Glenn Walker and Matt Lowe had shots cleared off the line and Hayes’ keeper Jack Smith saved well from Liam McAlinden on his first appearance.

After the break the goals rattled in as Saints took the lead in the 49th minute when Adam Walker found the clinical finish that had been missing in the first half set up by Shane Byrne’s fine pass. But United were level within a minute as Culley won an aerial challenge and Hassan Jalloh’s accurate shot beat Danny Lewis.

Just after the hour mark Saints were again ahead through Daniel Nti’s header from Glenn Walker’s cross. The visitors drew level through captain Scott Donnelly’s splendid 78th minute strike from distance.

Matt Lowe put Saints back in front in the 84th minute and Smith pushed another effort by Lowe onto the post before Shaun Jeffers’ added-time fourth goal as United were exposed pushing forward for a third equaliser.

Boss Kevin Wilkin said: “We are not showing the level of form that we did last season in winning this competition but we will get together and work to hopefully improve. We conceded just three times in eleven games in last season’s competition and that gives an idea of what is needed to be successful.”