Highriding Saints inch closer to Premier title

Brackley keeper Billy Turley saved two penalties
Brackley keeper Billy Turley saved two penalties

FOOTRBALL: Brackley Town need just a point at Oxford City this Saturday to clinch the Southern League Premier Division title.

Following a 4-0 win at home over Swindon Supermarine last Saturday, tabletoppers Saints opened up an 11-point gap on their rivals with only Oxford capable of catching them.

But if City don’t grab all three points at Hemel Hempstead this Thursday, the title will go to Brackley.

Against Swindon, Brett Solkhon opened the scoring with a fine headed goal on four minutes and from there the result was never in doubt against relegation-threatened Swindon Supermarine.

Boss Jon Brady was full of praise for his players. “The performance was excellent from start to finish. Swindon played with five across the middle and we had to press which we did very well. The players have done everything asked of them. I even asked for an early goal and they delivered. It is terrific as a manager when players respond and deliver.”

Brady was most pleased with the way his team took control of the game and put the result beyond reach.

“We went out and killed the game off. There was real energy in our play and a ruthlessness to finish the job. In every game we set out to work harder than our opponents so that man for man the superior ability of these players can come through.”

Saints’ third clean sheet in three games came courtesy of two penalty saves by Billy Turley.

The first on 27 minutes brought a good save from Nick Stanley who followed up only to strike the cross-bar. The veteran keeper beat away the second in the dying minutes as substitute Ashley Edenborough struck his effort straight down the middle. Beyond this Swindon rarely threatened and all of the action came at the other end as Brackley attacked relentlessly.

It was Owen Story’s fine corner that brought Solkhon’s excellent early headed goal and the winger’s free kick minutes later was only inches wide. The hard-working Gary Mulligan created an opening when he won possession, rounded the keeper but had to cut back and fired over. On 14 minutes Glenn Walker waltzed through the defence and tucked home his shot in style to double the lead and on the half hour Elliot Sandy added a third from the penalty spot following Stanley’s hand ball.

Brackley’s dominance continued after the break. Marvin Robinson’s aerial prowess set up Sandy who fired just over before Robinson notched the fourth goal on 53 minutes heading home after excellent work on the right by Story. A rare incursion by Marine on the hour brought a shot by Ben Wells from distance while at the other end Saints created chances at will.

On 67 minutes Sandy flicked on to Robinson who saw his effort well saved by the busy Grant Porter and Brackley continued in the ascendancy until the final whistle.

Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton, McDonald (Jaszczun 62), Palmer, J Green, Robinson, Story, Solkhon, Mulligan (Magunda 42), Sandy (W Green 73), Walker.