Wilkin staying grounded as Brackley Town defeat title rivals

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin insists he is not getting carried away after his side’s 1-0 win at home to Vanarama National League North title rivals Gateshead on Saturday, writes James Wiles.

Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 9:18 pm
James Armson celebrates in front of the delighted Brackley Town fans after he scored from the penalty spot to seal a huge win over Gateshead at St James Park. Picture by Glenn Alcock
James Armson celebrates in front of the delighted Brackley Town fans after he scored from the penalty spot to seal a huge win over Gateshead at St James Park. Picture by Glenn Alcock

James Armson’s 81st-minute penalty ensured the Saints ended the afternoon level on points with the league leaders with a game in hand.

There was little to separate the sides throughout and Wilkin was full of praise for his opponents after the game.

Gateshead are a fantastic side with quality in depth,” he said.

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“We were aware that they would have the ball for periods today but we stayed resolute and organised.

“We rode our luck once or twice but that happens sometimes.

“It was a closely-fought game and fortunately we came out on the right side of the result.”

A crowd of 1,557 attended St James Park for the top-of-the-table clash, a record home league attendance for Brackley.

Wilkin praised the levels of support for and the work ethic of his team.

“It’s great to see so many people from the town getting behind us,” he added.

“It’s really appreciated by everyone at the club and hopefully they enjoyed our effort levels.

“It’s about winning games and making the most of the players we have.

“They work incredibly hard for each other and I couldn’t give them enough credit.”

One negative from an overall positive afternoon for the Saints was an injury suffered by top goalscorer Lee Ndlovu.

The striker was visibly struggling after being on the end of a strong challenge in the second half and was eventually replaced by Jaanai Gordon.

The Brackley manager is assessing his options ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Curzon Ashton.

“We need 24 hours to see how we come out of it because we’ve been stretched,” he said.

“But another positive about this group is that they roll their sleeves up and get on with it if you ask any of them to play in any position.”

Brackley have eight games left to play as they look to secure the only automatic promotion spot in the division.

They are now unbeaten in 15 league games, winning 11 of those matches and keeping 11 clean sheets.

Wilkin is adamant that Saturday’s win means nothing if his side cannot continue their momentum.

“Nothing has been won or lost league-wise today,” he added.

“We want to try to keep tabs with Gateshead but there will be lots more tests.

“We’re not going to get carried away with this result and plenty of challenges lie ahead.”

The Saints travel to Curzon on Tuesday night before welcoming York City to St James Park next Saturday.