Brackley Town  1-2  Oxford United    11 July 2019

Saints edged out on an important night at St James Park

Kevin Wilkin’s side’s first pre-season friendly served up a lively and competitive game played In good spirit in front of 770 spectators on a remarkable evening for the club.

Just three weeks after a devastating fire tore through the St James Park clubhouse the club hosted a first team game against League One Oxford United demonstrating that it is business as usual with the big National League North kick-off just weeks away.

Saints won the contest on corner kick count but succumbed to two goals midway through the first half, the first a well executed finish low to Danny Lewis’ right by Fabio Lopes followed minutes later by a simple tap in from James Henry after a speedy attack on the left caught Saints short.

An own goal  on the half hour after a Luke Fairlamb corner kick halved the deficit, Gaz Dean’s header struck the bar and overall Saints gave a good account against higher league opponents already with three games behind them.

New signings Thierry Audel, Kelvin Langmead and Dan Holman all started.  A flurry of substitutions for both sides changed things around in the second half, including Connor Franklin returning to the fray after a long lay-off through injury.

“It was a good work out,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “They are a strong side and are already deep into their pre-season preparations and it was tough for us.  We learned something from it and we won’t come up against a side like Oxford every week.  I am delighted to see Connor back and I hope he can be a big player for us this season.  The result is not the most important thing tonight clearly but we got minutes into players tonight and learned from it.  We will mix it around for the Barwell game on Saturday.  There was a good crowd here tonight and good atmosphere.  A lot of work went on to get the ground ready and great credit to everyone for getting the game on.”  

Starting XI:   Lewis, Myles, Fairlamb, Byrne, Dean, Langmead, Murombedzi, Armson, Holman, Ndlovu, Audel.