Brackley Town 0 County 0 ; Conference North
Over the centuries the citizens of Brackley have had to endure many things....the odious Richard I regularly held jousts in the town, and Wikipedia advises that Magna Carta was `almost` signed there- the barons and the king apparently deciding in the medieval equivalent of Fergy Time to do the biz in Runnemede! `Unlucky’ you might say, but not as unlucky as those locals that watched today`s game at St James` Park- a classic no score bore draw!
Despite the Saints sitting pretty at 7th in the table, this was a disappointing result as Town were reduced to 10 men before half time when Dominic Langdon got his marching orders from referee Robert Ellis. But County, who had looked comfortable on the ball for much of the game, simply proved unable to press home their numerical advantage, and as the ideas slowly ran out....so Town pushed forward and gave the blues more discomfort than they should have rightly expected in the closing stages.
It was not all doom and gloom for County however.....Lees was immense at the back throughout the game and Moses, Duxbury and Milligan were lively pretty much all the game as well, with O`Halloran and Jacobs not far behind them, with Ian Ormson again doing all that was asked of him and more, but once again there was absolutely nothing coming from the forwards in the last third – Billy Turley, the great communicator in goal for Town, had nothing to stop in the first 45, and precious little after the break. AL waited until the 83 rd minute to introduce Sanchez Payne, which was a shame because he looked quite lively almost immediately he came on, but by then a point looked to be the summit of the blues ambitions. That said.......I suppose that a point away from home against promotion hopefuls, is not that bad, but it`s still 12 games since we last won, and yonks since we even scored, and that`s disappointing.
The game started 7 minutes late in common with all other games, in acknowledgement of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster- the first action ending in the first disappointment for the home specs as Town won a corner via Owen Story, and then promptly wasted it. County had Milligan in an advanced position at this stage, but none the less it was Ormson in action next cutting out a dangerous cross from Dominic Langdon. It was 5 minutes before County fashioned a worthwhile response and this started with Moke , but when he cut inside and passed to Moses, he was fouled ushering in an early free kick. It was a decent one too from Milligan, and not that far away, but that said Turley was able to watch it fly inches over the bar.
|Walker launches a free kick.|
So far so good......things were progressing OK....the County offside trap was working well, and Town were getting regularly ensnared in it, but the 10th minute ushered in an alarm of sorts as Ryan Rowe was fouled by O`Halloran. The free kick from Glen Walker put the pressure on, but County defended it well enough and survived without any real problems.
Moke then ended a run with a shot that just cleared the bar, and Howard combined with Duxbury to win a corner, but Town defended this well and nothing came of either effort. County were looking quite good on the ball at this point with Lees looking dominant and Jevons bursting to take anything the back four ....Milligan...or Moses could provide , and make something of it, but when he ushered Duxbury`s pass back to Dennis, the ex Ashton man lost the ball and the move broke down. This would become a recurring theme as the match progressed!
A wayward shot from Howard.....a block by the same player on a high ball into the County box, and already 20 minutes had gone, with me searching feverishly for something......anything of note to write about! We badly needed a goal, but when one briefly threatened as Story turned beyond Lees in the box, we settled down again as his shot missed the target by a foot or more.
|Lees/ O`Halloran deal.......|
That last action did not give a true reflection of Lees` game at all, and he was soon back bossing matters, linking busily with Duxbury to break up an attack involving Story, Walker and Izac Reid that briefly threatened down the right.
Then...after Moke had won a corner, and Milligan had done well( twice) attempting to make something of it, County looked to have sprung a leak as a high looping ball bounced alarmingly just inside the box where Rowe and Story lurked menacingly. Either one looked on to prosper, but instead Moses saved the day with an immaculate tackle that won him the ball. Rowe rolled about in an effort to get Moses penalised, but the referee had none of it and rightly so!
Moses was beginning to win me over now and he was unlucky not to reach Jevons with a decent through ball next, and 30 minutes had now gone with it still 0-0.
The 31st minute gave the illusion that maybe a goal might be possible as Moke shredded the right side of the home defence with a neat run. He looked about as welcome in the box as a turd on a tablecloth, but the finish did not match the approach play and Turley had little difficulty in gathering the ball. And.....I allowed myself to dream again as Moses again shone brightly with some excellent work in winning possession.......and again as Milligan took the move on and planted a dangerous ball into the box where Howard awaited its arrival. Game on?....Yes....briefly, but the ball bounced wickedly and eluded the hard working ex Chester forward, and still it was 0-0!
Then we came to the 38th minute ,and it was time to come down to earth when Walker sent Rowe surging into the box......it was a moment of danger, but only a moment( or so I thought) as Moses stopped the rot with a neat tackle .
It was a corner and then worse( I thought) as Remy Clerima powered a header on target, but we all had reckoned without Ian Ormson who threw himself to his right to push the ball around the post in brilliant style. It only remained for O`Halloran and Duxbury to combine with Jacobs to see off the second corner and the danger was averted.
|County attack first half.|
After the last action the game was slowly meandering to half time, with only the continual verbals from Turley keeping me and others from their sleep. Then came the 41st minute, and a routine foul by Dennis on Langdon. It was a no brainer in so far as the referee saw it and gave a free kick, but Langdon promptly went AS and elbowed Dennis laying him out. That`s how I saw it, but others said he stamped on him, however after due deliberation the referee produced a red, and Langdon walked.
Nothing much happened in the last few minutes of the half......Ormson had to run out and head clear on the edge of the box, but he did it well and we reached the break with the score still 0-0.
Time at the break to sample the food on site......chips looked excellent.....sausages hugely tasty and huge ...pies absent. What I was impressed with though, I must say, was the fact that the PA only read out the Conference North results- excellent who cares about anything else!
With Lees and O`Halloran increasingly imposing themselves on their opponents, County were able to get more possession immediately after the break, but even so the occasional loose ball would undo them and it was fortunate that Town did not take advantage of more than one free kick.
On it went until ...at last....County tested the keeper on 55 minutes. It was a Jevons free kick, and a pretty good one at that, but as it curled towards the top corner Turley dived to tip it over the bar- a quality stop. Walker saw the corner off and that was that!
Lees and Milligan did their best to prompt some life in the County machine, but there was just no spark at the sharp end, and when possession was inevitably lost , we fouled , and we were potentially up against it when we shouldn`t be. The Reid free kick on 65 minutes was his best so far and Ormson was glad to see it whiz out an inch or so above the bar!
County might have had their moments too had they made better use of their free kicks, but after Rowe had gone straight through Moke laying him out, the kick was wasted and the 10 men of Brackley survived.
The blues were trying to hold the ball and play it about a bit, but Brackley looked distinctly unimpressed and just held off awaiting a chance to re-group and counter attack, which they did......Walker shooting wide.......Story running at us down the right ...then Walker again....... County should be attacking, but instead it was dismaying to see Walker through again – his shot was poor, going straight to Ormson, but it was not good from a blue perspective, especially when the local wags appealed for a penalty midst one red/ white attack. It was no penalty, but I have seen `em given!
|Jevons/ Odhiambo tussle|
|Turley in action.|
Briefly County did manage to work Turley , but he was not to be beaten it seemed, it would require better than County looked capable of bringing to the table I would say to do so.
The 83rd minute saw Sanchez Payne on for Moke, and he was immediately in the thick of it, as a lively attack ended with Platt`s shot being charged down. Payne won a corner on 86 minutes following good work from Duxbury, but County could not capitalise on this and it remained 0-0
|Sanchez Payne- came on....looked good!|
Unbelievably the final minutes saw County defending, and conceding free kicks, and again Duxbury did well, this time preventing a cross by Walker from causing mayhem.
Eventually it was game over, and a point was ours, but we need something altogether better on Friday at Edgeley Park when Altrincham are our visitors!
County line up;
Ormson, Jacobs ( Platt 75), Lees, O`Halloran, Duxbury, Moses, Milligan, Moke ( Payne 83), Jevons, Dennis , Howard ( Lofthouse 89).
Subs not used: Churchman, Todd.
Brackley Town line up:
Turley, Reid, Langdon, Odhiambo, Sharpe, Clerima, Story,Solkhon, Rowe, Diggin, Walker.
Attendance ; 390