Brackley Town 0-0 (4-5 pens aet) Spennymoor Town 5/5/19
Promotion hopes extinguished in penalty shoot-out
For the second season Brackley were knocked out in the play-offs as Spennymoor progressed to the final having ridden their luck and held their nerve in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
120 minutes of tense but pulsating action did not produce a goal despite chances for both sides, Saints enjoying the better of them, before the visitors edged through 5-4 on penalties in a dramatic finale.
“We carved out the better openings but sticking the ball in the back of the net is where we’ve fallen short again,” Kevin Wilkin said. “To have only scored one goal in the closing three games of the season and an extra time is where we’d expect to do better. We had some great chances and good moments today but we’ve come up short and not finished the job. It’s difficult to lose on penalties but you have to work the target. If you stick it on target you give yourself a chance. But Spennymoor have come here and been competitive and done fantastically well. They got the rub of the green and we wish them well in the final. We are obviously disappointed but we have to dust ourselves down and pick everybody up and be ready to go again.”
After a first half of few openings the visitors finished the half more brightly and began the second period in similar vein before Brackley came back to dominate the later stages and extra-time.
Carl Baker scuffed his shot at close range from Lee Ndlovu’s cross and another Baker shot was cleared off the line before Matt Lowe hit the post while Stephen Brogan’s turn and shot brought a fine save from Danny Lewis as the match caught fire on the hour mark.
In extra-time, Baker’s effort beat Matt Gould but not the cross-bar, Gaz Dean headed over from Shane Byrne’s corner kick and Lee Ndlovu could only find the side-netting after Gould and Brogan collided as Saints did everything but score. Substitute Alex Prosser fired over when well placed and a chance for Byrne came and went, while at the other end Adam Boyes shot wide when through one-on-one with Lewis, as neither side could break the dead-lock.
In the penalty shoot-out Alex Prosser, Glenn Walker, Shane Byrne and Omari Sterling-James gave Gould no chance from the spot while Lewis almost kept out Mark Anderson’s shot and then brilliantly saved from Rob Ramshaw. Lee Ndlovu stepped up but fired over to allow Boyes to level the scores before Luke Fairlamb also lifted his shot over the bar leaving Lewis Hawkins to send his side into the final.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles (Fairlamb 66), G.Walker, Byrne, Hall, Dean, Lowe, Murombedzi, Ndlovu, Baker (Sterling-James 112), A.Walker (Prosser 105). Subs unused: Jackson, Franklin.
Spennymoor Town: Gould, Williams, Brogan, Chandler (Anderson 105), Harrison, Curtis, Hall, Hibbs (Boyes 91), Taylor, Ramshaw, Hawkins. Subs unused: Atkinson, Elliott, Thackray.
Referee: Lewis Smith Assistants: Andy Genders and Tom Bowkett