Stratford started very strong, and Brackley struggled to get into the game. Brackley did well to resist the constant pressure of Stratford, until the 10th minute when a defensive error by Brackley awarded Stratford their first goal.
The first half was much the same throughout, although Brackley did have a few occasions where they were able to play the ball around and hold possession. This style of play created the best chances during the half. Dan managed to get a shot in following some good build up play from Brackley, which was saved by the keeper. A 2nd goal came from Stafford on the turn of 15 minutes.
For a few minutes after kick-off, Brackley looked to get into the game, and a free kick from Dan was put just wide of the post by Fabio. Some defensive changes were made after 20 minutes, with Keegan, Josh H and Oli all coming off, replaced by Jack, Harry P-W and James. Stratford continued to push forward, scoring a 3rd goal after 23 minutes.
A further string of passes from Brackley created a chance when Dan had another strike. Harry P-W was also able to get in a shot after 25 minutes. Then, following loss of possession and the Brackley defence standing off, Stratford had another chance on goal to make it 4-0 on 37 minutes. An unlucky clearance header attempt from Jack after 42 minutes ended up in the Brackley for an own goal on 42 minutes, to make it 5.0 at Half Time.
The second half started with substitutions, Jack, Ben, Josh I and Jamie all coming off, and Owen, Keegan, Josh H and Oli returning to the game. Although Brackley made a slightly better start to the second half, Stratford remained hungry for goals, and scored a 6th after just 45 minutes. It was clear that Stratford wanted the ball more during the game, and this paid off for them with lots of attempts on goal, and good possession football. Stratford played some really nice football, switching play on a regular basis, and using pace down the line to create chances.
A final goal from Stratford in the 70th minute to make it 7-0.
Overall a poor performance from Brackley, against a strong Stratford team. We can learn lots from this performance – we need to keep discipline and be STRONG. Defensively we need to react to pressure to avoid conceding goals. Looking around when about to receive the ball to know your options and where the ball can go is important. Too many times we were caught in possession, either trying to make the wrong pass or not having any options. The positives are that we never gave up, we improved as the game progressed, and the 2nd half was a much better performance. When we played from the back, we had more success, and when we pressed hard at times we were able to force errors.
Unfortunately Harry D had picked up an injury prior to the game, and was unable to take part, and Jack is still struggling with return following his serious pre-season injury. We look forward to having a fully fit squad in the coming weeks. Overall, not our best performance, but plenty to take from the game going forward.
Well done to Stratford for a fine demonstration of quick, attacking football. Following a run of good performances in pre-season, and since the start of the season, it was disappointing to see Brackley performing below the high standard we have now come to expect – lets look for a return to form next week.