AFC Rushden & Diamonds  0-0 (2-4 after pens) Brackley Town   2/4/19

Penalty experts seal trophy win

Brackley Town lifted the Hillier Senior Cup for the fourth time defeating AFC Rushden & Diamonds in a penalty shoot-out at a rain-swept Sixfields.

Brackley’s much-changed line-up fought out a tight 90 minutes with Diamonds, neither side creating too many moments to excite a large crowd, before late substitutions put Saints in the ascendency without finding the break-through.

Oran Jackson deflected the ball onto the post and away to safety in the closest to a first half goal by either side while Omari Sterling-James twice shot close and Daniel Nti’s neat turn and shot forced another corner as the National League North side applied late pressure to break the stale-mate.

The inevitable penalty shoot-out brought emphatic finishes from the spot for Brackley by Alex Prosser, Dan Nti, former Diamond Luke Fairlamb and Jimmy Armson while Rushden twice saw Danny Lewis save well to his right to settle the destination of the silverware.

“It was a tight game.  We had lots of possession but couldn’t make the break-through and you need to turn that possession into goals of course,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “It is nice to win it and the game was played in the right spirit.  The most important thing was to get some minutes on the pitch for some players who have been on the fringe and not had games.  So we mixed it up and made changes so from that perspective it’s a good exercise.  At this crucial stage of the season we wouldn’t want to pick up any more injuries and touch wood that’s not been the case.” 

Brackley Town:  Lewis, Myles (Byrne 75), G.Walker, Prosser, Jackson, Dean, Fairlamb, Murombedzi, Nti, Sterling-James (Armson 75), Jeffers (Lowe 75).   Sub unused:  Hall.