Monday, 21 May 2018

Brackley Town 1 Bromley 1

Match 139/17/1589 - Sunday, 20th May 2018 - FA Trophy Final

Brackley Town (0) 1 Johnson (o.g.) 90+5
Bromley (0) 1 Bugiel 19
Combined attendance: 31,430
After Extra Time (1-1 at 90 minutes)
Brackley Town won 5-4 on penalties
Played at Wembley Stadium

Admission: £5 Senior
Programme: £5
Mileage: 100/8,821

One again allowing timmy tabby to tell the tale:

After a ninety minute social get together with various reprobates, some whose paths had not crossed for all of twenty four hours and those who we had been out of contact with for a couple of years, it was time for Episode Two. With the first match, the aim was to see a decent contest, the second match I had a definite preference for Brackley, slightly because they were the underdogs on this occasion but I do like the town having visited at least twenty times since the first trip in September 1990 (FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round match against the now sadly departed Buckingham Town - A 1-1 draw for anyone that is remotely interested). Appreciate that they have a wealthy benefactor but Kevin Wilkin has quietly put together a stable team which has had an excellent season and to coin a much abused footballing cliche 'Did not know when it was beaten'. Plus excellent support, I am sure that the 6,500 supporters did not all come from Brackley itself as that would have been half the population of the town but I am sure that many of the surrounding villages were even quieter than what they normally are on a Sunday.

Quiet opening minutes with both teams both being overly cautious, but a penetrating run from Mekki and a precision pass inside allowed Bugiel to angle past Lewis to give Bromley the lead. A lead that could have been doubled but Lewis just managed to block and hold onto a Porter half volley. Little seen from Brackley going forward apart from a the type of tempting crosses across the face of the goal from Williams of the sort that the afternoon specialised in. At half time with Bromley in the ascendancy the fear was that Brackley could end up losing three finals in eleven days.

Much improved from Brackley in the second period as they created far more opportunities, however it was a question of them simply not being able to level. There was the usual array of timely blocks and crucial saves from Gregory. A curling effort from Arnson curled the wrong side of the post, the same player then struck the base of the post after the Bromley defence failed to clear a corner and to conclude what was a frantic period, Williams struck a shot against Gregory, the rebound falling straight back to the former but the resultant shot spectacularly cleared off the line. The best opportunity for Brackley though was when Arnson was set up by Lowe for what looked like that equaliser moment but the shot was sent inextricably high over the bar in what looked like being the occasion when you thought that it does not matter how hard they tried, Brackley were simply not going to be in a position to level.

The Bromley defence regained it's structure and as the minutes ticked down and possession was being directed into the corners there appeared to be only one outcome. Hanlan's failure to beat Gregory was not seen as a crucial miss. However, in one of those moments that will (hopefully) be embossed into Wembley folklore, we had a 95th minute Brackley leveller with Lowe's drive rebounding off the post, initially it looked as if Dean had forced the rebound over the line but clear that the leveller was an oggie as the ball rebounded off of Johnson's toe and over the line.

Extra time ensued and although Bromley started well with Hanlan's drive being kept out by Lewis' feet, Brackley were the more enterprising and determined but in the final third they lacked the required attacking prowess apart from the nth tantalising cross across the face that simply required a touch this time by Williams.

And so to the dreaded penalties. where Bromley gained the advantage as Gregory flew suspiciously quickly off his line to block Byrne's effort. Bromley managed to convert their quota leaving Bugiel to take the penalty which would have won the Trophy, but Bugiel's posture was all wrong as he sent his spot kick high over the bar. This led to Arnson converting to level at 4-4. Holland striking the post for Bromley and in turn Brown who in complete contrast to Bugiel calmly converted to turn around what had appeared to be a lost penalty competition cause and to ensure that this seasons Trophy Meanderings resulted in a win that was acclaimed in these parts. A degree of sympathy for the Bromley support which was numerous and no doubt vexed at going so close to their own moment of glory.

So Totsiens for 17-18 (not 18-19 as my erstwhile post proof reader pointed out as incorrectly inscribed in a previous posting) and a few weeks break in the company of a can of Pledge will now ensue. Hopefully, be back from 21st July on the proviso that there is something remotely resembling a competitive match.

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