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Brackley Town 3-3 (3-3 AET) 3-2P BSFC: MATCH REPORT

 

Brackley Town 3-3 (3-3 AET) 3-2p Bishop’s Stortford Match Report 7/11/20

 

Bishop’s Stortford suffered FA Cup heartbreak in the First Round Proper with a penalty shootout loss to Brackley Town. The Blues – unbeaten in 11 games this season – came from 2-0 and 3-1 down to force extra-time, but three penalty misses saw the hosts progress to the next round, with two goals from Darren Foxley and one from Tom Richardson in vain.

 

After a cagey start with neither side wanting to give anything away in the opening exchanges, it was the Blues who had the first real chance, with Mark Haines nodding down Foxley’s free kick but Ben Marlow’s cut back was blocked. Brackley goalkeeper Ali Worby was a late change to the starting XI, and looked nervy when he cleared straight to Marlow, but his through ball to Frankie Merrifield was too heavy. With their first venture forward, the hosts broke the deadlock, Lee Ndlovu with a clinical finish from a tight angle across Jack Giddens into the bottom left corner. They doubled their lead just seven minutes later, with the Blues suffering a similarly lethargic start to their FA Trophy match in midweek at home to Brentwood Town. Ndlovu’s shot was blocked by Haines but the rebound fell kindly to Matt Lowe who fired home on the half-volley. Jack Thomas’ driving run through the midfield won a corner for the Blues, Foxley swung it in but Ryan Henshaw could only head over the crossbar. Haines’ defensive header at the other end was only as far as Tre Mitford on the edge of the box, who fired wide, before Foxley put a free kick high of the target. Aaron Greene had his low cross blocked by Ellis Myles, before Shep Murombedzi shot wide from Ash Chambers left wing cut back. The Blues should have halved the deficit before the break, with Frankie Merrifield closing down Worby, his clearance lopped up into the air in front of goal, Foxley got underneath it to head home but hit the bar before Merrifield fired wide from close range. Foxley beat his full back with ease in the latter stages of the first half, but his crosses couldn’t find the target. The last chance of the first period fell to Merrifield, who opted against the early shot on his right foot, instead cut back on to his left and the shot was blocked.

 

HT 2-0

 

Steve Smith made a double change at the break, introducing Richardson and Correy Davidson, with the former making a near instant impact, running beyond the defence he volleyed at goal from a tight angle forcing Worby into a save. Ndlovu could have got his second of the afternoon with a volley inside the box, but Giddens got down quickly to deny him, before Merrifield cut it back to Richardson who drove powerfully at goal but Worby got behind it well to save. Mitford had a low cross cut out by Haines, as the hosts looked to increase their lead with a succession of dangerous corners, with Henshaw eventually heading clear. Ndlovu’s shot from the penalty spot was tipped round the post, and the Blues broke-away after clearing the corner, with Richardson sliding through to Foxley, who shot underneath Worby from 20 yards to get the Blues back in the game. The adage of being most vulnerable when you’ve just conceded nearly came true for Bishop’s Stortford, with Ndlovu rounding Giddens, but he got up quickly to shut down the angle and save the shot. Richardson’s shot from Davidson’s cross was deflected into Worby’s arms, with Mitford rounding Giddens and slotting home from a tight angle to restore the two goal lead at the other end. Just four minutes later and the Blues hit back again, with Richardson on hand to slam home after Worby had spilled Davison’s low free kick. Davidson had two more free kick efforts that went wide, before Foxley got his second, and the equaliser, after Archie Jones won the ball on the edge of the box, he passed to Merrifield who laid it off to the winger to scramble home.

 

FT 3-3

 

Into extra-time, with one great chance to win the game falling to either side. In the first period, Henshaw’s clearance rebounded off Ndlovu and rolled kindly for him to run and shoot, but he skied the effort from close range, before a lengthy stoppage with a floodlight failure. Once the pitch was fully illuminated again, substitute Louie Johnson struck the bar with a wonderful curling effort on his weaker right foot from the edge of the box.

 

AET 3-3

 

The Blues took the first penalty, which Richardson duly dispatched powerfully down the middle. Brackley captain Shane Byrne led from the front in the shootout, sending Giddens the wrong way to level up. Jones fired over the crossbar before Ethan Coleman converted. Merrifield chipped it down the middle, and James Armson thrashed home off the crossbar in the top left corner. Johnson had his low effort saved by Worby, diving to his left, before Ndlovu skied his spot kick to give the Blues a glimmer of hope. Davidson failed to convert, sending his penalty high of the target. The Blues therefore go into lockdown with a defeat, but can be proud of the run to get this far, having still not been beaten all season in 90 minutes.

 

TEAMS

Brackley Town XI

1 Ali Worby

2 Ellis Myles

3 Connor Franklin (Dean 68’)

4 Shane Byrne (c) (Yellow card 112’)

5 Ethan Coleman

6 Glenn Walker (Flowers 105’)

7 Matt Lowe (Goal 21’) (Yellow card 76’)

8 Shep Murombedzi (Yellow card 30’)

9 Lee Ndlovu (Goal 14’)

10 Tre Mitford (Goal 68’) (Armson 84’)

11 Ash Chambers (York 57’)

Subs

12 James Armson

14 Wes York

15 Gareth Dean

16 Brad Rolt

17 Danny Lewis

18 Mark Noon

19 Harry Flowers

 

Bishop’s Stortford XI

1 Jack Giddens

3 Sam Mvemba

4 Jack Thomas (Yellow card 96’)

5 Sam Robbins

6 Ryan Henshaw (c)

8 Ben Marlow (Davidson 46’)

10 Frankie Merrifield

11 Aaron Greene (Richardson 46’)

14 Archie Jones (Yellow card 105’)

15 Darren Foxley (Goal 65’ 87’) (Johnson 104’)

17 Mark Haines

Subs

2 Alex Warman

7 Correy Davidson

9 Tom Richardson (Goal 72’)

13 Peter Haxell

18 Jordan Brown

19 Louie Johnson

20 Ben Smith

By Hamish Arnold