Scarborough Athletic slip to 2-0 defeat at Brackley Town in National League North opener

Scarborough Athletic opened their National League North season with a 2-0 loss at Brackley Town.

By Andy Bloomfield
Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:41 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th August 2022, 7:43 pm
Scarborough Athletic FC report
Scarborough Athletic FC report

A trip to last season's runners-up, with the best defensive record (only 23 goals conceded in 42 league games) was always going to be a tough ask as Boro made their debut in National League North.

However, Jono Greening's side more than matched the home team at a sun-drenched St James Park, but conceded two scrappy goals early in the second half, to return home empty-handed from their long trek south to Northamptonshire.

Keeper Joe Cracknell, who played 35 games in his first spell at the club seven years ago, and pacy winger Dan Bramall, with Ballymena United last season, who both signed on the eve of the game, and former Halifax midfielder Dom Tear, were the only changes to Boro's promotion winning side, and all three impressed in an evenly fought match, but Boro, despite enjoying plenty of possession struggled to create many chances against the resolute home defence.

Brackley had four debutants in their side, and two of them scored the goals, with former Kettering Town striker Callum Stead looking especially sharp. He sent a stinging half-volley straight at Cracknell, then had another shot smothered, before Ryan Watson and Bramall linked up well, but Watson's cross into the goalmouth was gathered by home keeper Danny Lewis.

Long serving Glenn Walker, on his 400th appearance for the club, fired wide and a George Carline header was held by Cracknell, before Bracknell almost went ahead on 34 minutes when a Stead shot was blocked on the goal-line by Kieran Weledji, who had a terrific game.

Both Bailey Gooda and Will Thornton were strong at the back for Boro, heading a series of crosses clear, but the final ball was often disappointing from both sides in an even first half.

Shortly before the interval a long throw from Ash Jackson was headed clear, and Boro almost made a dream start to the second half, as Michael Coulson latched onto a ball into the goalmouth, but his close-range shot was brilliantly saved by Brackley keeper Lewis.

Within sixty seconds the home took the lead, when Stead capitalised on a rare mix-up in the Boro defence, to fire home his first goal for his new club.

Cracknell, who looked assured all game, saved another shot from Stead, but Brackley doubled their lead on 56 minutes, when new signing from Chesterfield, Carline netted following a corner from Jimmy Armson.

Boro probably shaded possession for the remainder of the game, with Kieran Glynn, Dom Tear and Dan Bramall all displaying skill and pace going forward, but few chances were created. A shot from distance from Bailey Gooda went straight to the keeper, and Weledji had a header that was easily saved.

For Brackley, a mazy run from star man Stead, ended when he laid off to Wes York, whose shot was deflected out for a corner, and Jordan Richards volleyed over, while a late chance for Boro saw Jake Charles pass to Bramall, who fired in a shot that brought only the second serious save of the match from keeper Lewis.

BRACKLEY TOWN: Lewis, Carline (Flanagan 89), Jones, Richards, Cullinane-Liburd, Dean, Walker (Lopes 86), Armson, Stead, York (Yusuf 81), Calder

BORO: Cracknell, Weledji, Jackson, Maloney, Thornton, Gooda, Tear (Charles 57), Watson (Heslop 70), Coulson, Glynn, Bramall

BORO MAN OF MATCH: Dan Bramall

GOALS: BRACKLEY TOWN - Callum Stead 48, George Carline 56

YELLOW CARDS: BRACKLEY TOWN - Jordan Richards BORO - Ryan Watson

ATTENDANCE: 723 (200 away)

REFEREE: Steve Parkinson