Bradford Park Avenue 0 Brackley 5
Bradford were simply brushed aside by Brackley as the promotion-chasers exacted sweet revenge for the previous Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat.
Avenue were woeful in the first period, and although Bradford boss John Deacey made changes to personnel and tactics at half-time, even he knew the second-half display was still not good enough.
Deacey said: “We started poorly and never really got going. We didn’t compete in any area of the pitch and that’s why Brackley won and fully deserved to win.”
Avenue had influential players missing – skipper Nathan Hotte and defensive cornerstone James Knowles were both suspended and midfielder Richard Marshall was injured.
There were also plenty of mutterings about the state of the pitch at Horsfall Stadium but Deacey felt those factors did not have a bearing on the result.
He added: “It was just a bad day from the minute we got here. The pitch is in dreadful condition but two sides played on it and Brackley didn’t seem to struggle so that’s no excuse.
“It is difficult when you have so many players out. We had five in total and they are the core of our side. But that shouldn’t stop the others that come in from taking their chance.”
Brackley were ahead after eight minutes when Glenn Walker nipped in between static Avenue defenders to convert a through ball by clipping it round home keeper John Lamb.
The visitors had more chances before they doubled their advantage midway through the first half.
Avenue had defended a series of corners but when another was swung in deep and Town’s right back Remy Clerima headed it back, all Avenue stand-in skipper Martin Drury could do was head the ball into the roof of the net.
With Drury possibly over the line when he made contact, the goal was given to Clerima.
The only contentious goal of the handful Brackley scored was from the penalty spot in the 37th minute. The Avenue defence backed off, Mitchell Austin ran into the box and the striker went down under a challenge from Lamb. The referee looked at his assistant before pointing to the spot.
Stefan Moore placed the ball and fired the penalty down the middle as Lamb dived to his right.
Though Moore’s first had come from a soft penalty decision, his second was pure class.
A diagonal through ball picked him out in the area and his first touch was exquisite and gave him the time and space to slot into the bottom corner.
Town substitute Steve Diggin also produced a moment of quality as he netted the fifth for the visitors. Eddie Odihambo battled to win possession back and then picked out Diggin with a perfectly-weighted chip. The striker rounded a defender before beating Lamb at his near post with a low shot.