Brackley Town  0-1  Chester   FAT Q3   23 Nov 2019

Saints exit Trophy at first hurdle

A first half stalemate matched the dreary Northamptonshire weather as the teams cancelled each other out.  But the second half was altogether brighter as Brackley enjoyed the better of possession and chances, yet it was Chester who made the break-through that proved decisive to send The Blues into the next round.

“For 45 minutes we never really got going,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “Credit to Chester for that but I thought too many players were a little bit loose in their play.  We didn’t bring the talent and athleticism we have in the team to the table until the second half.  We had good moments in the second half but you can’t win games if you don’t score goals.”

The sides met three weeks ago in a drawn league game and the first 45 minutes had another draw written all over it.  The half was almost devoid of goalmouth action or goal chances until Saints rallied to end the half on the front foot, Shep Murombedzi and Shane Byrne denied.

After the break Brackley seized the initiative.  Lee Ndlovu’s shot was well saved by keeper Russ Griffiths, Matt Lowe shot too high and twice Chester cleared after goalmouth scrambles.  The visitors spurned a chance when George Waring fired over after Brad Jackson’s shot was beaten away by Danny Lewis and Scott Burton hit his shot sweetly from 20 yards bringing a diving save from Lewis.

The dead-lock was broken on 73 minutes when Saints conceded possession cheaply allowing Jackson to find substitute Anthony Dudley well placed and he gleefully slammed the ball into the net.

Chester managed the remainder of the game well, Lowe’s mazy dribble the closest that Brackley came to an equaliser as his shot was over the bar to Chester’s relief.

“It is disappointing to exit the competition,” Wilkin added.  “Over the last few seasons we have done well, reaching two quarter-finals and obviously winning it but we wish Chester well in the competition.  We have a tough run of away games coming up now and we have to learn from losing at home as we have today and to take that into these away fixtures.” 

Brackley Town:  Lewis, Myles, Franklin, Byrne, Audel, Dean, Lowe, Murombedzi (Daire 82), Ndlovu (Armson 69), York, Walker (Fairlamb 74).   Subs unused:  Langmead, Noon.

Chester:  Griffiths, Morgan, Taylor, Burton, Livesey, Grand, Jackson, Glendon (K.Roberts 90), Waring (Asante 67), Stopforth, Waters (Dudley 67).   Subs unused:  G.Roberts, Elliott, Hughes, Murray.

Referee:  Dean Hulme      Assistants:  Matt Jackson and Jacob Lehane

Attendance:  334