Brackley Town 2-2 Leamington 26/12/18
Hit and miss of spot-kicks decides the points
Saints reversed an early set-back to lead at the break but could not find a crucial third goal, missed a penalty, and Leamington levelled so that this festive fixture finished all square as it did twice last season.
“It was frustrating again today, “Kevin Wilkin said. “Missing the penalty was a pivotal moment but not just that, we didn’t defend down the sides well enough today giving away the early soft penalty and allowing play to develop for their second goal. For all our possession we only had two goals to show for it. One was a tremendous goal from the skipper and we did show great qualities to battle back after falling behind but when we get the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck we’re not doing it.”
The first half was a rugged and tight encounter of few chances but three goals. Leamington went ahead with a 17th minute penalty by Colby Bishop before Jimmy Armson levelled after 33 minutes. Strong work by Lee Ndlovu to win the ball and put Adam Walker away set up Armson to finish from close range.
Within five minutes Saints’ noses were in front as Gaz Dean struck his shot from 20 yards and more to find the top corner and turn the tables on The Brakes.
The second half was altogether more open. Lee Ndlovu was tripped and awarded a 51st minute penalty. Ndlovu himself stepped up to take the spot-kick only to see Tony Breeden save to his left.
Dean’s goal-line clearance from Junior English’s fierce shot kept his side in front as Brackley piled on the pressure searching for a third goal. Matt Lowe’s fine run and shot was thwarted by Breeden before the officials got themselves in a tangle as Ndlovu was bowled over inside the penalty area only for a free-kick to be awarded, after lengthy consultation between referee and assistant, on the edge of the penalty area.
With 75 minutes played, Kieran Dunbar’s shot found the back of the net after Dean had blocked a first shot in a goalmouth scramble bringing the sides level again and despite great endeavour by both teams neither could create the clear opening that would ultimately win the game.
Nuneaton are the visitors on Saturday as St James Park hosts another National League North fixture before the trip to Leamington on New Year’s Day as the games come thick and fast.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles (Jeffers 84), G.Walker, Byrne, Dean, Hall, Lowe, Armson, Ndlovu (Nti 82), McAlinden (Fairlamb 59), A.Walker. Subs unused: Morgan, Murombedzi.
Leamington: Breeden, English, Gudger, Clarke, Mace, Lane, Dunbar (Obeng 88), Gittings (Flanagan 67), Bishop, Edwards, Taylor (Murphy 59). Subs unused: Hood, Bowen.
Referee: Barry Lamb Assistants: Ryan Williams and Alan Cox