Wilkin's delight as Brackley Town 'knuckle down' to seal derby-day success
Depleted Brackley Town claimed a 1-0 victory over Kettering Town at St James Park
Kevin Wilkin was delighted with the way his Brackley Town players “knuckled down” in difficult circumstances to extend their lead at the top of the Vanarama National League North.
The Saints had just 14 players available for their local derby with Northamptonshire rivals equally-depleted Kettering Town at St James Park on Tuesday night.
But they still managed to secure a 1-0 victory as they avenged their 3-1 defeat at Latimer Park on January 2.
Lee Ndlovu was the hero as his goal five minutes before half-time proved decisive in a game of few chances for either side.
It was far from an ideal situation for either side with illness and injuries taking their toll on both squads.
But Wilkin was understandably delighted as his team moved five points clear of second-placed Gateshead.
“I think you have to get on with these situations,” Wilkin said.
“Clearly, you want to go in with as many good players as you can available and clearly, we are really stretched.
“It was a test of both sets of players’ characters to get on with it and play the game.
“Things aren’t perfect for anybody at the moment so, with six frontline players unavailable for various reasons, we are delighted to come through that.
“We had to take our medicine at Kettering and they made a bit of a song and dance about it there and if they have had to take a bit this time then honours are even aren’t they?
“We had 14 players and a lot of inexperience in there, the two boys on the bench haven’t started a game for us yet.
“We knew we were sorely stretched and we had to be a bit fortunate. The two centre-halves we had were the only centre-halves we had available. I am sure Kettering have similar stories to tell.
“But the way people knuckled down to the task in front of them was fantastic.
“We are there to be shot at and we had the setback at Kettering. Maybe on a better surface, this was more of a spectacle and more of the sort of football match we’ve come to expect.
“We all want a fair test and I think that was a fairer test for me.”
Brackley are now without a game until they host Chorley on January 22 after this weekend’s trip to Chester was postponed due to their ongoing issues of staging matches with part of their ground being situated in Wales where stricter Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.