Battling display earns Town a valuable point
Johnson bags a vital equailiser
Lydney travelled to Brackley for the first meeting of the 2 clubs this season. Arrival at the ground saw a packed out car park but alas it was not for our game but for the spectators travelling to Wealdstone where Brackley Town 1st team were playing in the FA Trophy semi-final. After a well earned 1-0 win over local rivals Tuffley Rovers on Tuesday team changes had to be made due to the unavailability of Kerry Hale and the late withdrawal through illness of Toumani Sidibe. With Declan Morley-Lyne not travelling due to the imminent arrival of his first child and Lewis Halford away on holiday Ross Lindsay & Frankie Johnson came into the side and Josh Bennai, Keelan Hamblett, James Morse & Owen Williams made the bench.
Lydney started confidently and Jack Rutter tried a long range shot in the first couple of minutes but his effort was easily dealt with by keeper Luke Connell. On 5 minutes Dan Morgan forced a corner but the cross into the box came to nothing. The home gradually team came back into the game and centre forward Josh Bowden forced a corner off Sam Elliott. In the 9th minute Brackley were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and in the well worked move the ball found Bowden on the far post who headed to ball down to Dean Marsh who fired the ball past keeper Rich Thomas.
Despite this set back Lydney pushed forward and a Pete Macklin effort was palmed away for a corner by keeper Connell. On 22 minutes Lydney forced a corner and Morgans cross found Ross Lindsay wide on the right and his low hard cross was diverted into the net by Frankie Johnson. The game became very much a mid-field battle but on 35 minutes Lydney forced another corner but again the ball into the box was easily held by the home teams 6ft plus keeper. With half time fast approaching a cross from Matt Board, a recent signing from Chepstow Town, found the head of Ross Gabriel but his effort went just over the bar.
Lydney started brightly in the 2nd half and a Macklin shot went narrowly wide. Play was now scrappy with Lydney guilty of giving the ball away too easily allowing the young Brackley side to make runs at the Lydney defence which thankfully were dealt with. On the hour mark a Morgan free kick into the box was cleared but Gabriel retrieved the ball on the edge of the box and his shot brought a good save by keeper Connell. The Saints were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box but the Town defence cleared the danger.
A few minutes later Saints were awarded another free-kick but this time keeper Thomas easily dealt with the danger. Brackley were now making all the running and Lydney had to dig deep to defend the pressure. With 15 minutes to go a shot from the edge of the box saw Thomas push the ball over the bar. Lydney made changes with Josh Bennai replacing Ross Gabriel and Keelan Hamblett replacing Frankie Johnson but the Saints continued to exert pressure and with the Lydney defence holding firm the Town saw out the remainder of the game without too many scares.
This was certainly a well deserved point and although Lydney’s attacking play in the 2nd half became less threatening as the game wore on the Town defence of Voss, Sheppard, Elliott & Morgan were outstanding although all the team deserved mention for their battling display. With Highmoor Ibis from Reading visiting the Rec on Tuesday and a visit to Ascot on Saturday recent results must give the Town confidence going forward and with 7 home games to come their hopes of pulling out of the relegation zone must be improving. Mention must be made of one winner on the day and that was Pete Sheppard who pocketed first prize in the ground raffle which at least covered his petrol expenses!!!
After the game two results of note filtered through. There was joy in the clubhouse after Brackley Town 1st team won 2-0 at Wealdstone in the FA Trophy semi-final while our fellow UHL rivals Thatcham Town have reached the FA Vase final after beating 1874 Northwich 3-2. Both finals will be held on Sunday May 20th at Wembley with Thatcham Town playing Stockton in the Vase final & Brackley Town playing Bromley in the Trophy Final so with Brackley Town having risen through the pyramid system via the UHL the league has an interest in both games. Tickets for Finals day include admittance to both games, surely a great day out for non-league followers and especially Hellenic League supporters.
Report by RS