Flackwell Heath 4 v 2 Brackley Town Saints

(Tuesday 3rd October 2017)

Saints travelled to play the league's second placed team, Flackwell Heath, needing to put on a performance to avoid the risk of losing confidence following their previous game and away fans were treated to positive, high tempo display of the slick, pass and move football that makes them difficult to play against and great to watch.

Flackwell Heath started the game quickly and scored the opener after just 5 minutes when a shot from the edge of the Saints area beat keeper Dan Farrell, 1 – 0.

With Saints struggling to adapt to the pace of the game the home side went further ahead minutes later with a headed goal from a corner, 2 – 0.

The reaction from the Brackley youngsters to going 2 goals down so early in the game was brilliant, rather than sit deep to try to protect their goal they raised their game to take the attack to the hosts. Being brave on the ball and pressing quickly when out of possession they created a couple of chances before, in the 14th minute, striker Chris Jordan twisted away from a challenge on the edge of the Flackwell Heath penalty area and smashed a shot past the home sides keeper, 2 – 1.

Lifted by the goal Saints continued to take the game to the hosts, a driving run into the box from midfielder James Hammond was halted when the ball was hacked away for a corner by a Flackwell defender and a well hit shot by Alex Stott was well saved by the keeper. When the home side did attack Saints keeper Dan Farrell made a good save, turning the shot away for a corner which the visitors defended comfortably.

Half-time: Flackwell Heath 2 v 1 Brackley Town Saints

Saints started the second half as they finished the first trying hard to get the equaliser that their play deserved, a shot from Matt Johnson went just over and Chris Jordan steered an excellent pull back from Ryan Knight wide, but, somewhat against the run of play, it was Flackwell Heath who scored the next goal when a cross from their left was struck past keeper Dan Farrell, 3 – 1.

The 3rd goal disrupted Saints rhythm and just after the hour mark Flackwell scored their 4th when the assistant referee failed to make the correct call on what looked like a clear offside decision, 4 – 1.

Feeling hard done by Saints recovered from the setback well and once again went on the attack trying to get back in the game.

Pressing high Saints were open to the long ball and centre-back Joe Ward was called on to make a great recovery tackle in the 65th minute but most of the play was again in the Flackwell Heath half.

With 20 minutes left, from another quick passing move, Alex Stott broke clear into the penalty area and un-selfishly played the ball across the goal for Chris Jordan to get his, and Saints, 2nd goal, 4 – 2.

Saints Substitutions: Tom Kalugin on for Sam Bridges (78), Callum Williams on for Chris Jordan (84)

Saints continued to attack and, in the 90th minute, from a great run down the right, Matt Johnson cut inside and played a 1 – 2 with Ryan Knight before shooting but the keeper turned the shot round the post for a Saints corner. From the corner midfielder James Hammond just failed to convert a brilliant overhead kick.

Full-time: Flackwell Heath 4 v 2 Brackley Town Saints

Against one of the best footballing sides in the league Saints youngsters produced possibly their best performance of the season. This was the "real" Brackley Town Saints, working hard for each other, playing as a team, brave in possession of the ball, full of inventive, creative movement, making good decisions about when to press or when to drop when out of possession, and playing with that positive, attacking mindset that has delighted their fans in previous seasons. 

Well done players and staff, roll on the next game...

Saints: Dan Farrell, Sam Bridges, Joe Ward, Lewis Baldwin, Dan Middleton, James Watts, James Hammond, Matt Johnson, Alex Stott, Ryan Knight, Chris Jordan

Subs: Tom Kalugin (replaced Sam Bridges), Callum Williams (replaced Chris Jordan), Keegan Giles (unused)