Brackley Town 1-1 Bromley AET (5-4 pens)    20/5/18

Wilkin’s Wembley Winners 

Kevin Wilkin’s Brackley Town emerged as Wembley winners after an epic final against National League Bromley. The nerve shredding match was quite exhilarating and left Saints supporters celebrating an extraordinary conclusion to a remarkable season for the St James Park side.

“The players showed great spirit and character,” Wilkin said. “We started to shift the ball better in the second half, we worked the goalkeeper, got a bit braver and had a bit more quality. As the game went on my heart beat a little bit harder as we felt we might not get that break or little bit of luck you need but the players held their nerve and stepped up in that penalty shoot-out. Character got us through.” 

Omar Bugiel gave Bromley a 19th minute lead finishing well after Adam Mekki’s run and the lead was almost extended at the start of the second half as Danny Lewis saved well. But Brackley began to dominate possession and to create chances, Jimmy Armson striking the post and twice Bromley scrambling the ball clear under pressure. Glenn Walker’s pull back for Armson was skewed wide and Aaron Williams went close as desperate defenders somehow repelled the Brackley attacks in chaotic scenes in the Bromley penalty area.

After 5 minutes of added time and with seconds remaining Matt Lowe’s long range shot came back off the post and Gaz Dean forced the ball over the line from close range to provide a heart-stopping climax to a dramatic 90 minutes and to herald extra-time.

After a further 30 minutes and no further goals the teams lined up for penalty kicks to settle the destination of the silverware. In front of the Brackley supporters Sutherland’s emphatic first kick put Bromley ahead before Shane Byrne’s spot-kick was saved by David Gregory. Bromley’s Raymond, Hanlan and Rees despatched their shots with aplomb as Williams, Diggin and then Armson did theirs before Beguil shot over leaving Glenn Walker to tuck his effort into the corner with steely confidence to level the score.

In the final twist Bromley captain Jack Holland hit the post and Andy Brown coolly stepped forward to fire past Gregory to signal an eruption of celebrations among the massed Brackley fans. Gaz Dean lifted the trophy amidst wild scenes of jubilation as Brackley Town’s name was etched into the Wembley history books on a thrilling day nobody in the town of Brackley will ever forget. 

“There was no shortage of character and belief out there,” said Wilkin. “Discipline, focus, hard work, attention to detail can make the difference and today it is all worthwhile. We have some good players in that dressing room and some great characters. The supporters have been fantastic. The noise and sheer jubilation was just fantastic. It is important that everyone enjoys the moment to the max. People in the town have been so supportive nothing gives me greater pleasure than those people enjoying this win. It’s special for everyone.”

 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Lowe (Diggin 114), Franklin (Myles 75), Byrne, Gudger, Dean, G.Walker, Armson, Ndlovu (Brown 52), Williams, A.Walker.    Subs unused: Graham, Streete.

Bromley: Gregory, Holland, Raymond, Dennis (Hanlan 67), Mekki (Chorley 71), Higgs, Sterling, Porter (Rees 61), R.Johnson, Sutherland, Bugiel.   Subs unused: Dunne, D.Johnson.

 

Referee:   Chris Kavanagh       Assistants: Dan Cook and Daniel Robathan

Attendance:  31,430