Final whistle

Newport State of Mind

Brackley Town face League Two strugglers Newport County at home in the FA Cup First Round Proper after convincingly beating Bamber Bridge on Saturday (October 24).

Their 3-0 win over the Lancashire side meant that Brackley went into the hat for the First Round draw on Monday night, screened live on BBC Two.

The Newport fixture may not be the glamour tie that Brackley supporters were hoping for – with local league sides Northampton and Oxford United in the hat – but it pits them against league opposition at home, with a great chance to be a giant killer. If ‘giant killer’ is the correct term. No disrespect to Newport, obviously.

Newport are now managed by John Sheridan, after he replaced former England defender Terry Butcher, who lost his job after the club’s woeful start to the season. They remain third from bottom of League Two with just 12 points from 15 games, but an impressive 4-1 victory over local rivals Bristol Rovers at the weekend may give them some much-needed impetus.

In fact, that victory in Bristol in the lesser known ‘Severnside derby’ lifted them off the foot of the table.

For Brackley, a league side at home, whoever it be, should give the fans a sense of excitement, and it would’ve been what they wanted after the final whistle against Bamber Bridge.

Brig, who were without their talismanic striker Brett Ormerod, did include ex-Preston, Forest and Hull midfielder Paul McKenna in their side (even if this particular Forest fan never noticed him! I only found out after the game!).

But despite testing Burton Albion loanee keeper Sam Hornby early on with a sweet strike from their best player, Sam Joel, Bamber Bridge were bossed by Brackley in a game played largely in dreadful conditions.

Steve Diggin put them on their way in the 17th minute with a cool finish, neatly rounding the keeper before slotting the ball into a gaping net. As conditions worsened, with driving wind and rain now battering the players, their lead was doubled by that same man in the 76th minute, who finished clinically from a pin-point cross.

The match was then put beyond any doubt 6 minutes later when Richard Batchelor’s towering header looped into the net after a deep cross to the far post.

The First Round fixture against Newport will be only the third time in the Saints’ history that they have reached that stage of the world’s oldest and most prestigious cup competition. It will be another huge game for the club with extensive television, radio and wider media and sponsorship interest.

And we’ll be there again, for the third time on our Quest. If we can get a ticket that is!

By the way, did anyone get the Billy Joel reference in the title to this piece?


The Bamber Bridge coach, a vehicle for a long journey home for the Brig players.


The game gets underway. Wind and rain not present. That came later.


The goal that Steve Diggin found in the 17th minute.


The final whistle, and Brackley are in the hat after a 3-0 win.


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