Brackley Town all set for their huge summit showdown

The destination of the Vanarama National League North title could be a bit clearer by 5pm on Saturday.

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:32 am
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2022, 10:34 am
Lee Ndlovu takes the congratulations after he gave Brackley Town an early lead in their 1-1 draw at Spennymoor Town last weekend. Pictures by Glenn Alcock

Brackley Town are gearing up for their summit showdown with leaders Gateshead at St James Park.

The Tynesiders will arrive holding a three-point advantage over the second-placed Saints who still have a game in hand, which they will play at Curzon Ashton next Tuesday night.

The top two have been going punch-for-punch in the past few weeks and that continued last weekend as, while Gateshead were being held to a 0-0 draw by Bradford (Park Avenue), Brackley conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 stalemate at Spennymoor Town after Lee Ndlovu had given them an early lead.

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Brackley manager Kevin Wilkin

In the end, boss Kevin Wilkin was satisfied with a point in the north-east.

And while he recognises Saturday’s clash deserves it’s big billing, the Saints manager insists there will be plenty of big games to come after it in the race for the title.

“We have had some difficult games since we began trying to chase down Gateshead and, so far, we have managed to stay in there,” Wilkin said.

“This game is here now. They’re on a good run, we’re on a good run and it makes for an interesting one.

“It’s a massive week for us. It’s not me trying to talk this game down but we will both have massive matches to come after it as well.

“It’s one of a string of big games which have come about because of how well the boys have done.

“We have been really consistent and we probably got away with a point last Saturday.

“When you concede so deep in the game, people assume you’d be cheesed off with it but the reality is it was what Spennymoor deserved.

“We weren’t great in the second half and we possibly got away with the point.

“It only re-emphasised just how hard it is to pick up points on the road.”

Brackley were unable to add any fresh faces to their squad before last Thursday’s registration deadline.

Jordan Cullinane-Liburd has been sidelined due to a shoulder ligament injury while Max Dyche was recalled from his loan spell by Northampton Town.

But Wilkin insists he has full faith in the squad that have got Brackley to this point.

“We have lost a centre-half to injury and we’ve had one recalled by his club and all of a sudden we have gone from looking fairly comfortable to losing two key players who have done well for us over the last couple of months,” the Saints boss added.

“Finding players who are good enough to carry you forward isn’t easy at this time of year and we were a bit disappointed we couldn’t bring one in to bolster the ranks.

“But the boys we have got are the group who have got us to this position and they will see it through.”