Brackley Town 3-0 Darlington 17/2/18
Saints record back-to-back home wins and clean-sheets
Brackley maintained the division’s only unbeaten home record to keep pace with Salford City and Harrogate at the top of the table. An even first half saw Saints with a narrow half-time lead before their superiority was made to count in the second period.
“It was a good performance overall”, Kevin Wilkin said. “We worked hard especially out of possession, got our noses in front and stayed organised. We were full value for the win to stay on the tails of the leaders. Last Saturday was really disappointing but we responded well in midweek and again today.”
Lee Ndlovu opened the scoring after Darlington had started well, his 13th minute shot finding the corner with Aynsley Pears wrong-footed. Josh Gillies fired a free-kick just wide and Jimmy Armson’s fierce shot was beaten away by Pears as both sides went close to scoring the next goal.
After the break Brackley took control. Matt Lowe’s near-post shot brought a smart save from Pears with Brackley dominating as The Quakers struggled to ask questions of the home defence.
Brackley’s new signing from Chester, 23 year old Shep Murombedzi, came off the bench and made an immediate impact as Aaron Williams applied the finishing touch to Murombedzi’s shot to double the home advantage on 73 minutes, Williams recording his 25th goal of the season.
A fine finish by Armson four minutes later sealed the result for Brackley. Danny Lewis saved Terry Galbraith’s 80th minute penalty after Greg Mills had been bundled over to make it two clean-sheets in a week at St James Park for third-placed Brackley.
“We have a massive game coming up next week,” said Wilkin. “We need everyone to be fit and available for that. I would have loved it to have been a home tie of course. Stockport are an improved side but we will go there and take nothing for granted. The players deserve to go further in the competition.”
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles, Gudger, S.Byrne, Graham, Dean, Lowe, Armson (Diggin 88), Ndlovu (Murombedzi 64), A.Williams (Brown 85), A.Walker. Subs unused: Streete, Lucas.
Darlington: Pears, Trotman, O’Hanlon, Turnbull, Heaton, Galbraith, Mills, Wheatley (Glover 78), Saunders, Syers, Gillies. Subs unused: Scott, Bancroft, Brown, Milburn.
Referee: Anthony Tankard Assistants: Daniel Jarvis and Jamie O’Conner