FA Trophy: Saints face long trip after stalemate

Andy Brown missed a couple of good chances for Brackley Town against Barrow
Andy Brown missed a couple of good chances for Brackley Town against Barrow

Brackley Town face the long trek to Barrow for Tuesday’s Buildbase FA Trophy second round replay.

Town were unable to break the stalemate in Saturday’s tie at St James Park where the Vanarama National League side were glad to earn a second bite of the cherry.

The best news of the day for Saints fans came with the announcement that top scorer Aaron Williams had committed himself to the club for the remainder of the campaign.

The on-loan Newport County striker has been a big hit since he arrived at St James Park. But there was no place in the starting line-up for Williams against Barrow with boss Kevin Wilkin keeping faith in Andy Brown and Lee Ndlovu up front.

But Brown missed a couple of excellent chances which, had they gone in, would surely have propelled Saints to victory against a poor Barrow outfit.

Ndlovu created an early opening all of his own making before screwing his shot wide as Saints began on the front foot. Saints should have broken the deadlock when Jimmy Armson sent Glenn Walker away on the left and his dangerous cross saw Brown head over from six yards when he should have at least hit the target.

The over-lapping Ellis Myles wasted the opportunity to deliver a better cross after racing into the box and Ndlovu fired well over as Saints continued to make all the early running.

Barrow showed very little in the first half, especially in the final third, a couple of huge throw-ins from Dan Jones were the only moments of concern for the hosts.

Saints went close again when Armson fed Walker whose fierce drive was deflected just over the bar. Saints had plenty of attacking play down both flanks but the over-worked Barrow defence did their job.

But it took a last-gasp save from Joel Dixon just before the break to keep out Brown’s header on the line following another excellent cross from Walker.

Saints picked up from where they left off after the restart and Armson released Ndlovu in the box but the striker took far too long and the chance was gone. Shane Byrne shot over at the end of another good move and Wilkin had seen enough.

Williams was sent on to try and get the job at the first attempt but almost immediately Barrow carved out their first opportunity following another long throw-in from Jones. The ball wasn’t cleared and central defender Moussa Diarra fired over from ten yards.

It was a rare threat and another neat move involving Myles and Byrne ended with Armson turning neatly on the edge of the box but his curling effort went just the wrong side of the far upright. Brown saw his close range effort blocked and Matt Lowe’s low drive was deflected for a corner as Saints upped the tempo.

Barrow grew into the game as the second half progressed and Saints tired but it was still the hosts who looked the more likely to break the deadlock. Dixon was quickly out to thwart Lowe but, with the keeper stranded, the ball ran free and Brown’s speculative 40 yard effort landed on top of the net.

In the closing stages another long throw-in from Jones saw Lewis failed to claim the ball but Alex Gudger was on hand to head off the line. That was that and the two sides will meet again on Tuesday.