Brackley Town reached the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium for the first time in their history after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Wealdstone and a 3-0 win on aggregate in the Buildbase FA Trophy Semi-Final in front of a packed crowd at The Vale on Saturday.
The visitors came into the game with a 1-0 lead and always looked like adding to it; Shane Byrne’s 25-yard free kick went through a wall of bodies to double their aggregate score and Aaron Williams sealed it nine minutes from time, finishing off a counter attacking move.
Wealdstone did have a rare opening in the first half when Eddie Oshodi flicked a header onto Jerome Okimo from a corner, but the Stones skipper saw his header cleared off the line by his Brackley counterpart Gareth Dean.
It was the Stones who were chasing a goal, but it was the visitors who looked most likely to add to their aggregate tally throughout the tie. Williams gave them their first sniff when he blazed a free header over from close range on 22 minutes.
Jonathan North was the first keeper to be tested in the game, 36 minutes in. Alex Gudger saw his header blocked and Williams fired through a crowd of bodies from close range, but North got down well to hold.
Lee Ndlovu then nodded a header wide after rising above Jake Sheppard from Glenn Walker’s deep cross as the sides went in level at the break.
Byrne then fired a low free kick through a crowded area and into the far corner to give Brackley the lead after Ndlovu was tripped by Sheppard.
Wealdstone made a treble substitution to chase an equaliser and came close twice through Danny Green and Jerome Okimo.
But their attacking formation left them more susceptible to counter attacks, which the Saints hit them on in the 81st minute, resulting in Williams swerving an effort past North to send the Northamptonshire side to Wembley.
Brackley boss Kevin Wilkin was rather measured after final whistle saying: “We’ll let the boys enjoy tonight but then we must switch back on for a big league game on Tuesday.
“It helps that the final is so long after the season end because it can allow us to focus back on our league campaign because ultimately our target at the start of the season was to do well in that.”
“Getting to Wembley is a big bonus of course and Bromley are a side at a level we strive to be at. When we got together at the start of the season we wanted to condition ourselves more and challenge the professional teams in our league, and over the course of both legs we showed that.”
A hugely dejected Wealdstone manager Bobby Wilkinson had this to say: “I’m disappointed but immensely proud of my boys. We were just beaten by a better side in the end. It is my job as manager to get control of our emotions quickly and get the players ready for Monday night’s game against Eastbourne.”
Wealdstone (3-5-2): North 7, Sheppard 7, Sellers 6, Wilson 6 (Goodger 60, 6), Oshodi 6, Okimo 7, Whichelow 5, Cox 6, Tiryaki 5 (Wellard 60, 6), Green 6, Bubb 5 (Fitchett 60, 5).
Subs not used: Constable, Olomowewe.
Brackley Town (3-5-2): Lewis 6, Myles 7, Gudger 8, Byrne 8, Graham 7, Dean 7, G Walker 7, Armson 7, Ndlovu 6 (Lowe 79), Williams 8, A Walker 6.
Subs not used: Streete, Diggin, Lucas, Oti.
Picture Courtesy of Alan Palmer Photography