Saturday, 4 August 2012

Brackley Town - St James Park

Brackley Town FC

St James Park
Churchill Way
NN13 7EJ

01280 704077

Matchday Number: 210
Saturday 4th August 2012
Brackley Town 2-1 Clevedon Town
Southern League Championship Shield

I had bean meaning to visit Brackley Town for a while, having heard that they had a good club shop. So when the opportunity came to break the string of mundane friendlies, I jumped at the chance. This game v Clevedon Town was in the Southern League Championship Shield. Brackley having won the Southern League to gain promotion to the Conference North at the end of last season, while their counterparts had won the Southern League Cup.

On the day it was another washout in an inconsistent British summer. So I kept checking Twitter to save a wasted journey. In the end I left at 1PM, the journey scheduled to take an hour. By then the weather had improved though, so it was obviously game on. After getting some petrol, I was on my way and arrived at 2. I was happy to be only charged a fiver to get in, after some of the prices in pre season it was nice to get in so cheap. I also bought a basic programme for £1. To celebrate my good fortune at getting in cheap, I actually went in the bar and bought a pint. It was only boring old Strongbow, but I thought it was worth £3.10 to give the club a hats off. I also bought some Chips and Gravy for £1.70, it was very nice and I will be posting yet another review to Non League Chips website soon. After taking some pictures of the ground, it was time for the game.

The player I recognised most out of all of them was Brackley Town keeper Billy Turley. He has played against Wycombe for Rushden and Diamonds, Northampton and Oxford and is a bit of a character. He spent the whole game going apeshit at his defence for not following his instructions. Brackley dominated the first half and took the lead after 6 minutes after they hit the post and former Kettering midfielder Brett Solkhon followed up from close range. Clevedon were level on 20 minutes through James Flurry and that is how it stayed until half time.

I was pleased to see the club shop open during the interval. They had a good selection of programmes in the shop, but sadly none that I needed. Pennants were £5, but I decided not to bother as I was running out of space on my wall!

The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with Brackley dominating and hitting the woodwork on several occasions. The winner eventually came from Gary Mulligan but they failed to capitalise on further pressure and in the end there were a few close shaves as Clevedon pushed forward in pursuit of an equaliser. But in the end Brackley held out to win the Southern League Championship Shield. After an easy drive home, I was back in by 6 and that was with stopping off to pick up some cider again.

ST JAMES PARK is a tidy ground that I assume has been recently upgraded for the step up to the Conference North that they have made. When I was there to take pictures in 2005, they had the main stand, holding around 300. But all the other 3 sides were uncovered hard standing. Now, while the side directly opposite has not really changed, there is now cover behind each goal - to the left a covered terrace, and to the right  covered seats. Both areas at a guess hold around 200-300 and make the ground look in line with other smaller Conference North venues. There is a decent club shop which also sells old programmes and a great tea bar too. As already mentioned, the bar doesn't do a great selection of drinks cider wise, but at least it is well furnished and nice to spend time in, with big screen TV's for the live football. All in all, a good ground and club, well worth a visit.

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