I take full responsibility, says Brackley Town boss Wilkin after derby defeat

Brackley remain on top of the league but the new year kicked off with a loss at Kettering Town

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 8:47 am
Updated Monday, 3rd January 2022, 8:50 am
Kevin Wilkin watches on from the sidelines during Brackley Town's 3-1 defeat at Kettering Town. Pictures by Peter Short

Kevin Wilkin felt Kettering Town “adapted better to the conditions” than his Brackley Town side as they started the new year with a derby defeat at Latimer Park.

Having claimed a fine 3-1 victory at Boston United last Tuesday to ensure they went into 2022 on top of the Vanarama National League North, the Saints were undone by the Poppies by the same scoreline in the all-Northamptonshire clash on Sunday.

The Poppies held a 2-0 lead before Jordan Cullinane-Liburd headed home his first goal for Brackley to give them a lifeline.

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Jordan Cullinane-Liburd's first goal for Brackley gave them hope after trailing 2-0 but they were unable to find a way back at Latimer Park

But a late Harrison Neal strike sealed victory for Kettering who had the better of things on a tough, boggy surface.

Wilkin admitted a number of his players found the surface “extremely challenging” but insisted full responsibility for the loss fell on his shoulders.

“We knew what to expect with the surface and it’s a challenge for every team that comes here,” the Brackley manager said.

“The pitch is a challenge in itself and all I ask for is that it’s a fair test and the pitch makes it a bit of a lottery.

“I don’t want to use it as an excuse but I look at the good players I have got on the back of a good result at Boston and one or two found it extremely challenging.

“But that’s what you have to face during a season. If you are going to be successful, you have to come through situations like this and credit to Kettering because they recognised certain moments better than us.

“I felt the first goal was possibly against the run of play because I thought we started very well and there were moments where we should have done better.

“I thought we did okay for the most part. There were moments where we maybe didn’t get the breaks we needed.

“But, overall, I think Kettering were probably the better side and adapted better to the conditions than we did. They did a job on us.

“We knew the challenge we faced and I take full responsibility. I probably should have set us up somewhat differently to what I did and hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“We will have learned a lot from the game. It was a scrap and battle and my players will always scrap and battle.

“We have come out on the wrong side of it this time but you have to give Kettering credit. They have worked hard for the points and we have to go again next week.”

Brackley will be hoping to bounce back when they host Hereford at St James Park on Saturday.