Brackley Town Saints – 3
Flackwell Heath – 4
Brackley Town Saints exited the Perpetua Press Floodlit Cup at the third round stage on Wednesday evening at a reasonably warm St James Park. Flackwell were dominant for the opening twenty minutes or so; scoring one and should have had more, but Brackley slowly got back into it and levelled before taking the lead & were the better side after their guests were reduced to ten men. They looked hopeful going into the break that they’d go on and win the tie, but credit to Heath who got themselves back into the game and using their pace scored twice in quick succession to proceed in the competition.
Flackwell passed the ball well and looked to utilise their front line pace and on four minutes Charlie Samuel tried his luck from distance but screwed wide. As Brackley tried to force their guests further down the pitch they were susceptible to a break away and Francis Amartey did just that and cut in from the left, his attempted shot across the face of goal had Brackley keeper Alistair Worby diving away to his left to smoother.
Worby then had to make a good save from an Elliott Carey effort from outside the box, but the visitors did then take the lead on thirteen minutes when Samuel was sent away down the right despite the home sides call for offside the flag stayed down, and the Flackwell striker deftly lifted the ball over the advancing Worby and into the empty net.
Heath should have doubled their lead just moments later when a cross from their right was met in the middle by Dean Allen but from twelve yards he headed wide of Worby’s right hand post. After twenty minutes of Flackwell pressure the home side got themselves back in the game, winning a free kick on the corner of the box skipper Lewis Baldwin lifted his shot way over the top, but it gave the home side some belief.
Just three minutes later the scores were level when a Flackwell attack broke down in midfield and the ball sent upfield for Tom Kalugin & Chris Jordan to chase down, the latter tucking into the bottom corner from eighteen yards out. The goal got the Brackley tails up, and as they asserted some pressure James Watts thumped a drive against a defender that looped over for a corner.
Samuel thumped a free kick over the top for Flackwell, then on thirty-six minutes the home side took the lead when a ball straight through the heart of the Heath defence gave Matt Johnson a clear sight of goal, as he drove at goal he skipped a tackle from behind that was waved play on, he went on to round David Lyons in the visitor’s goal and stroke home. The referee then called over the offending defender Adam Dickens who had tried to bring Johnson down, showed him a second yellow which meant his side were down to ten men.
Worby then made three fantastic saves to keep his sides lead intact, the second as he retreated back to his goal line seemed impossible with the power of the shot, but the chances were repelled and Brackley continued to press which saw the Heath back line under some sever pressure as the half ended.
Dan Middleton chased down what looked a lost cause in the corner, a Flackwell defender seemed to be simply shepherding the ball out of play but Middleton forced him into the error, won the ball and turned to fire over the crossbar from an acute angle. Kalugin was then given freedom to probe from midfield and as his shot seemed destined for the top corner Lyons threw himself to his right to palm around his post. H/T: 2-1
Brackley began the second half patiently passing the ball across midfield trying to unlock the Flackwell defence, Kalugin was eventually fed in between the centre halves and forced a good save from Lyons from close range.
But before the hosts could relax and enjoy their numerical advantage, their guests hit back on fifty-one minutes when a ball knocked up to Samuel saw the big striker twist and turn on the edge of the area and creating a bit of space he smashed past Worby to level the game. Within ninety seconds of levelling Heath were behind again when a long range shot hit Kalugin some four yards out and the ball sat nicely under his feet for him to poke home and restore his sides lead.
Again Brackley applied some spells of pressure but were finding it hard to break their opponents down, a powerful drive from Sam Bridges saw a defender bravely put his head in front of the ball to divert over for a corner.
Then on sixty-three minutes some lapses in concentration allowed a loose ball deep in the Town half to fall at the feet of Charlie Malin who had plenty of time and space to compose before smashing a shot off Worby and in, to level once again.
Two minutes later Flackwell took the lead when again Brackley allowed them too much time and didn’t close down quick enough, a cross from the right found Amartey alone in the middle and he had time to take a touch before driving into the bottom corner.
The home side now looked shell shocked and took time to regroup although Watts did shoot from outside the area but only into the waiting arms of Lyons. But it was the away side that looked more likely to score again, Amartey found space down the left to tee up Carey whose fierce drive came back off the post and was eventually cleared.
As much as Brackley huffed and puffed they couldn’t find a way past a resolute Flackwell defence who were determined not to lose the points, and in added time Worby came up to try and help his side at a corner, as the ball was cleared long Worby gave chase and an offside decision saw a free kick awarded, as the Town keeper went to retrieve the ball Malin kicked the ball away earning him his second yellow card of the night.
There was barely time for Brackley to try and make the most of playing against nine men but did win a free kick right on the eighteen yard line in front of Lyons goal. As Baldwin’s’ attempt crashed up off the wall the referee blew the whistle to end a thoroughly entertaining clash. F/T: 3-4
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