Winters fires Brackley to verge of play-offs

Elliot Sandy heads towards goal. Picture by Brian Martin.
Elliot Sandy heads towards goal. Picture by Brian Martin.

An 89th-minute goal from Tom Winters gave Brackley Town a 1-0 victory over Solihull Moors and took them to within one point of securing a play-off place in the Blue Square North.

Played in pouring rain, the game was not one for the purist but Saints came through it to earn a fifth win in six games.

Brackley remain third in the Blue Square North, eight points above FC Halifax – who have three games in hand – and it would take a minor miracle for Saints to miss out on the play-offs as Harrogate would have to win their final five games with Brackley losing their four.

Up against mid-table Solihull, neither keeper was tested in a dead-locked first half as the two defences were on their mettle and time and space were at a premium for players on both sides.

Midway through the half, Gary Birch picked out Dior Angus who burst through for Moors but shot over and in reply, Izak Reid skipped through on goal but saw his shot earn only a corner for Saints.

The second half opened up a little with both sides creating some goal threat.

On the hour, Glenn Walker’s fine cross fell to Eddie Odhiambo whose shot clipped substitute Jefferson Louis and squirted just wide of Jasbir Singh’s right-hand post and Winters whipped corner passed right across the penalty box without anybody able to apply a finishing touch on 63 minutes.

For the home side, Birch set up top scorer Omar Bogle but his shot screwed wide before Saints carved out the best chance of the game with 10 minutes remaining as Elliot Sandy’s far post header was charged down from Winters’ corner kick.

For the first time in the match Brackley got on top as Moors were pinned back and, in the 89th minute, a penetrating run into the box by Walker brought a shot by Odhiambo, a scramble in front of goal and a lunging save by Singh but the ball fell to Winters who fired gleefully into the net to give his side a priceless lead with seconds remaining.

There was still time for Billy Turley to have his kick strike substitute and former Brackley player Danny Spencer, for the rebound to be chased down and a final moment of danger to be cleared.

A third successive clean sheet was testimony to outstanding defending and a third successive victory to all but secure Saints a play-off place.

Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton (Story 69), McDonald, Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, Reid, Sandy, Walker (Corcoran 90+2), Robinson (Louis 52), Winters.

Subs not used: Nisevic, Diggin.

Solihull Moors: Singh, Connolly, Langdon, Denny, Kemp, Pierpoint, Knights, Beswick, Bogle, Birch (Spencer 83), Angus (Joseph 83).

Subs not used: Martinez, Hayden, Brown.

Referee: Michael D’Aguilar

Attendance: 211