Leamington  0-0  Brackley Town  1/1/19

Saints dominate but points are shared

The goal-less score-line does not begin to tell the story.  After the Boxing Day draw at St James Park, another draw was harsh on a Brackley Town side that dominated the first half and was on top for much of the second period putting in an impressive display lacking only the finishing touch in front of goal.

“The way we went about it today and our work-rate were terrific,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “Leamington have been in good form and this is a tough place to come.  We were dominant in that first half and it then opened up a bit more in the second half, they gave us more to think about, but they have hardly created a chance against us today.  We had some gilt-edged chances but didn’t make them count.”

In Connor Hall’s absence Saints played with Glenn Walker and Connor Franklin joining Gaz Dean as a back three in a re-worked line-up with Shaun Jeffers paired with Lee Ndlovu up front.  Defensively the performance was composed, the team’s passing was cohesive and incisive, the tackling tenacious and, in attack, questions were asked of Leamington’s defenders throughout.

Shaun Jeffers was unable to capitalise on a fine opening after just five minutes bringing a close range save from Tony Breeden and after twelve minutes Jeffers was fouled earning a penalty.  Glenn Walker stepped up but saw his kick graze the outside of the post in another early let-off for the hosts.

The goal threat came from all directions but somehow The Brakes made it to the break all square.  On the hour on-loan striker Jordan Murphy brought a sharp save from Danny Lewis low to his left in almost Leamington’s first goal attempt of the game.  Meanwhile Brackley continued to probe and threaten with Matt Lowe and Shep Murombedzi always dangerous.

Breeden clung on well to Glenn Walker’s inswinging corner and Jimmy Armson’s header drifted just wide from Matt Lowe’s fine cross.  As the final whistle neared, Shane Byrne’s first time pass found Jeffers through on goal getting his shot away but bringing a game-saving stop from Breeden.

“We’ve not found too many clean sheets before today so there are lots of positives from this performance,” an up-beat Wilkin added.  “Obviously we’d like to have won the game but it really pleased me the way we knuckled down to it.  I could not fault any player today.  We had those losses just before Christmas, which was unusual for us, and it’s been an intense period just now but sometimes if you can show that bit of resolve to get through it you do come out the other side and things can turn for you.  It was great to see so many Brackley fans here getting behind the team today and it would have been terrific if we’d got that goal to reward them.  However, today’s performance gives plenty of reason to be optimistic for the future.”

 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Lowe, Franklin, Byrne, G.Walker, Dean, Murombedzi, Armson (McAlinden 87), Ndlovu, Jeffers, A.Walker.   Subs unused:  Morgan, Myles, Nti, Fairlamb.

Leamington:  Breeden, Mace, Gudger (Bowen 76), Flanagan (Clarke 83), Hood, Lane, Dunbar (Obeng 81), Gittings, Bishop, Edwards, Murphy.    Subs unused:  Taylor, Dwyer.

 

Referee:   Ben Speedie           Assistants:  Reubyn Ricardo and Jacob Lehane

Attendance:   623