21st August 2019
Bluefin Sports UHL Challenge Cup
Brackley Town Saints (4) Old Bradwell United Development (2)
Saints: Crowther, Thompson (Kille 60), Gabbidon, Dowse (Hammond M 70), Brock, Hartley, Ball, March, Knight, Godfrey, Stott
Sub not used : Mister
This was always going to be a difficult tie against opposition from a lower division looking to cause an upset and arriving to find a stunning St James Park pitch to play on. Manager Chris Hurley was forced to shuffle his pack again due to injuries and holidays.
The early exchanges were pretty even with neither side managing to put more than 3 or 4 passes together. There were a couple of half chances for Saints firstly for the lively Alex Stott and then George Ball whose left foot drive was just over the bar.
But Bradwell came closest to scoring on 25 minutes when Lewis Gabbidon’s pass was intercepted on half the way line and a long accurate pass split the Saints defence and found Darryl Smith whose left foot shot whizzed past Matt Crowther and the post.
Saints finally broke the deadlock on
33 minutes when Gabbidon found room in the Bradwell box after an incisive Saints move. His shot was going wide of the far post but Dan Smith stuck out a long leg and diverted the ball into his own net. Saints almost Immediately doubled their advantage when Stott rose like a salmon to meet a James Thompson cross with a good downward header which was hooked off the line.
On 42 minutes Saints were guilty of poor defending when Dale Collins found space all alone to head a free kick past Crowther and into the empty goal. Saints restored their lead almost immediately with Dean March rising to powerfully head home a Jordan Godfrey corner.
Saints started the second half at pace with shots from Ball and Ryan Knight testing Dan Willett in the Bradwell goal. A flowing move then ended with a teasing cross from Godfrey that just eluded Knight. Saints were on top and on 54 minutes a move down the left wing saw Harry Brock and Godfrey combine to release Stott whose curling and dipping shot from 30 yards beat Willett and found the top corner.
Two minutes later a further good passage of play, this time down the right, saw Ethan Dowse feed Godfrey and he crossed accurately to Knight at the back post and he calmly smashed the ball past Willett.
Game over...Not so. On 65 minutes Bradwell reduced the arrears when a cracking long ball found Ben Green whose excellent first touch took him past Gabbidon and his second touch was coolly slotted past Crowther. Game on.
5 minutes later Bradwell had the ball in the net again but this time it was ruled out for offside. No VAR at this level, but not too many moans from the Bradwell players.
The last 20 minutes were relatively quiet with neither goalkeeper troubled. Saints will be delighted to get their first win of the season after a much more fluid second half. Well played Bradwell and good luck for the rest of your season.
Next up for Saints is the short trip to Banbury for a Bank Holiday Monday fixture against Easington Sports FC in the league.
Come on You Saints!!