Brackley Town  1-0  FC United of Manchester  27/4/19 

Nti sets up a Sunday semi 

Daniel Nti’s brave late header earned a tenth successive home win for Brackley that secured third place and home advantage in Sunday’s play-off semi-final. 

Saints laboured to overcome already relegated FC United in challenging conditions as the wind swirled around St James Park in front of the season’s second highest league attendance swelled by United’s vocal travelling supporters. 

But Brackley never gave up and with Spennymoor leading in their game and time ebbing away Saints finally made the break-through in the 86th minute.  Lee Ndlovu challenged keeper Andy Fisher, Matt Lowe hooking the loose ball goal-wards for Daniel Nti to head the ball into the net, the substitute sustaining a head injury that led to his immediate substitution. 

Jimmy Armson and Lee Ndlovu had both spurned chances while Kurt Willoughby had the only chance of the match for the visitors bringing a strong second half save from Danny Lewis. 

“Before the final two games against Chester and today’s match we knew we needed a win and to only get one goal from those two games is disappointing for the quality of performances we’ve put in and the chances and opportunities we’ve created,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “But Daniel gets off the bench and makes the difference for us.  It was a bit of a scrappy goal but that doesn’t matter.  I am delighted for him.  The most important thing of course is that we now skip the midweek game and have got a home tie in the semi-finals.  With the greatest of respect we never really looked in any danger today but when you are not clinical enough in front of goal and lots of half chances come and go you have to make your mark.  It’s something we have improved on during the season but we know we need to improve further and there is work to be done.” 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Murombedzi, G.Walker, Byrne, Dean, Hall, Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu, Baker (Nti 77 (Myles 87)), A.Walker (Fairlamb 66).   Subs unused:  Jackson, Prosser.

 FC United:   Fisher, Lynch, O’Halloran (Peers 89), Mohammed, Baird, Potts, Sharp (Donohue 61), Winter, Willoughby, Myers. McDowell-Jallow (Bannister 81).   Subs unused:  Grimshaw, Logan.

Referee:    Steve Copeland          Assistants:    Tim Walker and Jacob Lehane

Attendance:    935