Brackley Town kept their playoff hopes alive, cruising to an emphatic victory against Bradford (Park Avenue) at the Horsfall Stadium.
The visitors took an early lead as Glenn Walker fired a left-footed effort past John Lamb from 12 yards. Shortly after, an inswinging corner from Walker was misjudged by the Avenue goalkeeper and right-back Remy Clerima rose at the far post to nod the ball into the roof of the net. Before the break, the Saints extended their advantage. Gary Mulligan knocked the ball around Lamb, but the Avenue number one was adjudged to have brought down the striker as the referee awarded a penalty. Stefan Moore stepped up and sent Lamb the wrong way from the spot. After half-time, the afternoon got worse for the hosts. A neat flick from Mitchell Austin found Moore, and he put the ball through the legs of Ryan Qualter, before slotting home. Then, Jon Brady’s side added a fifth as a defensive error led to Steve Diggin collecting possession and placing the ball past Lamb from close range.
After a tightly contested opening five minutes, the away side opened the scoring as Glenn Walker brought the ball down and offloaded to Stefan Moore. The striker turned sharply and chipped a delicate return pass to the winger who smashed a first time volley past Lamb from just inside the area.
The visitors immediately went close to doubling their early lead as Eddie Odhiambo dispossessed Scott Maxfield in midfield and charged forward past Martin Drury, before offloading to Mulligan who rushed his shot, firing straight at the Avenue number one from eight yards.
Maintaining their first half dominance, the Saints went two goals up as Clerima converted Glenn Walker’s third successive corner with a powerful header into the roof of the net from the far post.
Jon Brady’s men continued to attack. Brett Solkhon picked up the ball and released a sweetly struck 30 yard strike, but the Avenue right-back Grant Black slid across to block his effort.
Then, the visitors were awarded a penalty after the Avenue keeper brought down Mulligan as he charged into the box. Moore stepped up and coolly slotted down the middle for his second of the game.
As the second half commenced, an under pressure Avenue, rallied by their half time talk, created two quick chances. Black’s 30 yard effort stung the fingertips of Billy Turley in the Saints goal, before Chib Chilaka sent a right footed volley over from 15 yards.
But, the playoff hopefuls were ruthless in front of goal. Moore swapped passes with Mitchell Austin on the edge of the box before collecting the return with an exquisite first touch and side-footed a low shot into the bottom corner for his second of the game.
Pushing for a consolation, Drury swung a set-piece in from the far left finding the head of Qualter, who rose above the defenders to fizz a header over the bar.
Drury was involved again as he cut inside past Solkhon and released a 35 yard strike straight at Turley to record Avenue’s second shot on target of the game.
The visitors made it five. Odhiambo played an accurate chip down the right flank to release the substitute Steve Diggin, who skipped past an Avenue defender before placing the ball past Lamb from six yards.
John Deacey, the Avenue manager, was disappointed with his teams performance but praised the visitors for playing in tough conditions:
“It was poor. We didn’t compete in any area of the park. The second half we played a little better but we made too many individual mistakes.”
Bradford (Park Avenue): Lamb, Black, Drury (capt), Price, Harris, Qualter, Deacey, Maxfield (Howarth 45), Chilaka, Boshell (Beesley 30), P. Walker.
Subs not used: Davidson, Hume, Clayton.
Brackley Town: Turley, Clerima, Langdon, Odhiambo, Sharpe, R. Austin, Mulligan (Rowe 62), Solkhon, Moore (Diggin 62), M. Austin, G. Walker (Bridges 74)
Subs not used: Nisevic, Reid.
Scorers: G. Walker (10); Clerima (24); Moore (pen, 37),(59); Diggin (82)