FA Trophy: Brackley Town 1 Wealdstone 0
PUBLISHED: 16:57 17 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:57 17 March 2018
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Wealdstone will have to overturn a slender deficit in the second leg of their FA Trophy semi-final if they are to make it to Wembley.
An 85th-minute goal gave rivals Brackley the edge in wintry conditions, but Bobby Wilkinson’s men will feel they are still in with a good chance of reaching the final at the national stadium.
James Armson fired over from Lee Ndlovu’s pass in the second minute as the hosts had the first sight of goal on a heavy pitch.
But Mustafa Tiryaki was booked for the visitors on 17 minutes, before his dangerous low ball into the box was blocked by the leg of Danny Ellis.
Ryan Sellers saw a cross blocked, before the subsequent corner was dealt with by the home defence, but Stones had a let-off when the already-booked Tiryaki escaped a second yellow card for a high boot.
And there was another escape when Brackley’s Shane Byrne blasted the ball over from a corner on the half-hour mark, before Jonathan North held on to a header and was alert enough to claim the ball when Glenn Walker’s cross deflected off Ndlovu.
Stones then went close to breaking the deadlock at the other end, with Jake Sheppard producing a great run into the box and seeing his shot spilled by Lewis, before Bradley Bubb’s follow-up attempt was cleared off the line by Gareth Dean.
But Brackley’s Armson sent another effort over the bar from a corner, when Sam Cox was unable to clear for the visitors, and Dean managed to get a touch on another set-piece, but North held on as the first half ended goalless.
The second half was only three minutes old when Sheppard whipped a corner in for Eddie Oshodi to glance a header wide, before snow began to fall more heavily.
And Ricky Wellard then fired wide from Bubb’s lay-off on 51 minutes, before Walker’s free-kick found the head of Luke Graham as conditions deteriorated further around the hour mark and North saved.
Armson sent another attempt wide after a spell of possession from the home side, with Dean’s tame header from a free-kick comfortably gathered by North.
But Stones then saw a cross from Bubb deflect off the head of Brackley defender Ellis Myles and be saved by Lewis midway through the half, before Sheppard had his name taken by the referee and the home side saw Walker’s shot fly wide nine minutes from time.
North was equal to a bobbling shot from Byrne moments later, before Daniel Fitchett replaced Tiryaki, but Brackley broke the deadlock with just four minutes to go when a corner to far post was smashed into the top corner by Alex Gudger.
And that was how it finished, after three minutes of injury time, with the two sides set to meet again at Grosvenor Vale in seven days time to decide who makes it to Wembley.
Brackley: Lewis, Myles, Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean, Walker, Armson (Lowe 77), Ndlovu, Williams, Walker. Unused subs: Streete, Brown, Diggin, Lucas.
Wealdstone: North, Sheppard, Sellers, Oshodi, Wilson, Okimo, Wellard, Cox, Tiryaki (Fitchett 83), Green, Bubb. Unused subs: Constable, Whichelow, Olomoweewe, Ogle.