AFC Rushden & Diamonds  0-2  Brackley Town   19 Nov 2019 

Saints progress to final four 

Kevin Wilkin’s side deservedly won through to the Hillier Cup semi-final on a chill but still evening at the Hayden Road home of AFC Rushden & Diamonds. 

Both teams fielded strong sides and provided an entertaining match for a sparse crowd in what was a replay of last season’s final, Brackley triumphing on that occasion in a penalty shoot-out at Sixfields.  Penalties were not needed on this occasion as Saints won comfortably with a goal in each half. 

The lead came after 15 minutes when former Diamond Luke Fairlamb fired in a low cross that evaded everyone and found the bottom corner of keeper Ben Heath’s net.  The visitors started the second period strongly.  Tendai Daire’s shot was only half blocked but Mark Noon’s follow-up effort was cleared off the line before excellent play by Lee Ndlovu saw a deflected shot well saved as Saints threatened to double their advantage. 

A wonderful move on the hour involving Ndlovu, Jimmy Amson and Fairlamb almost delivered the second goal before the home side came more into the game.  Andy Peake’s side came closet to drawing level when only a saving tackle by Glenn Walker denied Ryan Dove at close range.  The decisive goal however came after 81 minutes as Ndlovu applied the finishing touch to substitute Matt Lowe’s cross for the striker’s third goal in two games to put the game out of reach for the Southern League Premier side. 

Brackley will contest the semi-final in February. 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Myles, Franklin, Noon (Lowe 81), Audel (Walker 60), Dean, Fairlamb, Armson (York 60), Ndlovu, Daire, Murombedzi.    Subs unused:  Byrne. 

Referee:  Shaun Barry      Assistants:  Corey Snuggs and Matt Lake