5th February 2019

Hillier Senior Cup – Semi Final

Brackley Town Saints (0) Brackley Town FC (1)

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Myles, Fairlamb, Byrne, G.Walker, Dean, Sterling-James (Lowe 74), Nti, Jeffers, Baker (Armson 83), A.Walker.   Subs unused:  Ndlovu, Noon, Staff. 

BT Saints:  Worby, Middleton, Brock, Carter (Godfrey 45), Goddard, Ward (Green 83), Bowden (Jordan 71), Watts, Knight, Hammond, Kille. Subs unused: Baldwin, Ball 

What a fantastic evening for football in Brackley. On a cold, wet and windy night 305 fans thoroughly enjoyed watching Town and Saints serve up an entertaining Hillier Senior Cup Semi Final on a cracking pitch. 

As expected Town dominated possession for much of the game and the quality and experience of their players was clear to see. However Saints battled, defended and competed admirably and were always in the game right up to the very end. 

Saints started well and had the first chance, catching Town cold, after only two minutes when James Hammond picked up the ball on the halfway line and ran at pace directly at the heart of the Town defence which backed off allowing Hammond to feed the ball to Ryan Knight in the left channel of the penalty box. His shot was agonisingly the wrong side of the post. 

For 15 minutes there was little in the game, however Town gradually began to dominate possession and were finding plenty of space out wide. Saints were defending stoutly and although Town had 10 shots on target in the first half many of these were from distance. At times it was all hands to the pump but the back four coped very well and when they were breached Ali Worby was in great form making 3/4 excellent saves and making others look routine because of his solid positioning. 

The best chance of the half for Town was probably a Glenn Walker header which he would have been disappointed to flash past the post. 

Saints were struggling to retain possession, although there was a 30 pass move just before half time which was top drawer, and although the final pass went awry the crowd showed their appreciation of the difficult task that the Saints were facing with the loudest round of applause of the evening. 

The second half started in much the same vain. Carl Baker immediately tested Worby who tipped over and on 50 minutes Shaun Jeffers opened the scoring for Town with a deflected shot that wrong footed Worby, and which had a sniff of offside about it. Unfortunately the ref and linesman did not smell it. 

Town continued to pile on the pressure but despite this they were unable to find the second goal that might have opened the floodgates. Instead Saints enjoyed a final 20 minutes where they began to break intelligently, and created 2/3 half chances. On 72 minutes Knight broke down the left wing and fired across the goal just a touch too far ahead of the onrushing Chris Jordan who stretched and slid but could not quite reach to touch the ball into the unguarded net.  

With 4 minutes to go Dan Middleton and Curtis Green combined with Hammond who cut inside skilfully and exchanged passes with Knight and shot on target only to be denied by Danny Lewis down to his left. 

In added time Saints created one more clear cut chance. A corner was only partially cleared and the scramble on the edge of the box saw the ball rebound to Charlie Kille unmarked just outside of the six yard box. Again Danny Lewis was on hand to somehow keep out Kille's shot. 

All in all Town fully deserved their victory but Saints can hold their heads high after a strong team performance in which everybody gave their all. Particular praise for the back four of Dan Middleton, Ollie Goddard, Joe Ward and Harry Brock, backed up by Worby. Clearly that is likely to be the toughest examination that they will face this season and although it was hard at times they acquitted themselves brilliantly.