Wilkin left to reflect on what might have been after semi-final heartache

Brackley Town's Shane Byrne gets away from Spennymoor Town's Rob Ramshaw. Photo: Steve Prouse
Brackley Town's Shane Byrne gets away from Spennymoor Town's Rob Ramshaw. Photo: Steve Prouse

Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin was left to reflect on what might have been after Sunday’s Vanarama National League North play-off defeat against Spennymoor Town.

Lewis Hawkins scored the winner as Spennymoor won the penalty shoot-out 5-4 at St James Park where 120 minutes failed to break the stalemate. Saints had the better chances in normal time and extra-time but failed to take them.

We’ve come up short again and players have to understand they have to make the right decisions when it matters

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

So, for the second season running, Saints have failed to come through the play-offs, having lost in the final 12 months ago. Apart from their chances in the game itself, Saints had the opportunity to win it in the penalty shoot-out but top scorer Lee Ndlovu blazed over the bar. Substitute Luke Fairlamb did likewise leaving Hawkins to snatch victory.

Wilkin said: “Spennymoor had one or two chances but we’ve had the best of them and, over the last three games we’ve only scored one goal which is not good enough. Our defence has been rock solid, another clean sheet in the semi-final, and we created enough chances.

“At the end of the first half and the start of the second half we let the game get away from us and were poor. I’m not sure if some players let the occasion get to them but we kept turning the ball over and giving it back to Spennymoor.

“But we came back strongly and finished normal time on top and extra-time with plenty of chances but we haven’t made the keeper save any of them. Danny Lewis had to make one good save but we had all the best moments yet didn’t have anything to show for it.

“Apart from scoring I don’t think we could have done much more but we have to be more composed in certain parts of the game and not get anxious.

“In the penalties, I know it’s tough to go up and take one but if you’re unsure you have to make a good connection, perhaps it was inexperience but they were poor decisions. The train of thought has to be to hit the target.

“So much hard work has gone it in this, we let the opportunity pass us by last season and we have again now. We’ve come up short again and players have to understand they have to make the right decisions when it matters.”