FC United of Manchester 1-2 Brackley Town Sat 15 April 2017
Brackley closing in with another win
With just three more games to play Brackley earned three more points to keep up the pressure for play-off places at the end of a week when rivals dropped points and 4th-placed Darlington were ruled ineligible to contest the play-offs.
Saints came away from FC United fully deserving of a 10th away win of the season. After a one-sided first half the visitors took a one goal lead into a more evenly contested second period and emerged with the win despite some nervy final minutes.
A bright and breathless start by Brackley penned United back. In just the 4th minute a fine sweeping move brought Ellis Myles into play on the right but from his cross Jimmy Armson fired over before keeper Ryan Schofield had to get his body behind Steve Diggin’s fierce shot. Lee Ndlovu mis-cued when well placed and moments later United somehow cleared from a goalmouth scramble after good work by Ndlovu.
The break-through came through captain Gaz Dean’s 34th minute header, Dean’s fourth league goal of the season, steering the ball low past Schofield from Diggin’s well judged cross.
Ndlovu’s effort was ruled out for off-side after a delightful passage of play as the half ended with United failing to trouble Laurie Walker. United’s first attempt on target came on the hour as Dale Tonge’s header was well gathered by Walker while their first shot on target was the equaliser from the penalty spot, Nathan Lowe finding the corner after Tomi Adeloye had been felled.
But Brackley struck back within two minutes as Alex Gudger’s cross was despatched into the net by Armson’s stooping header with 20 minutes remaining. Brackley spurned further chances while United rarely threatened but five minutes of added time had to be navigated before the points were secure.
“We deserved the win,” said Kevin Wilkin, “but we were wasteful in not taking more of our chances. It’s an exciting time with three games remaining and we have a chance but it’s frustrating also because we should be up there. However, our run of results and events elsewhere keep the door open for us. There are lots of permutations still but whatever happens with other teams we have to keep winning our games to keep the pressure on the others.”
Brackley’s unbeaten run extends now to six games and includes four wins as relegation-battling Gainsborough Trinity are the visitors to St James Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Brackley Town: L.Walker, Myles (Clifton 71), Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean, G.Walker, Armson (Lowe 87), Ndlovu, Diggin (Hempenstall 76), A.Walker. Subs not used: Moyo, Gough.
FC United: Schofield, Tonge, Chantler (Glynn 66), Kay, Fagbola, Ashworth, Thomson (Greaves 72), Lowe, Gilchrist (Wolfenden 50), Wright, Adeloye. Subs not used: Sheridan, Brown.
Referee: David McNamara Assistants: Scott Taylor and Christopher Porter