Nil reward on the longest day
Brackley’s longest away trip of the season brought no reward as Darlington deservedly took the points to strengthen their play-off hopes.
On a blustery afternoon and bumpy pitch Brackley laboured, struggling to test keeper Wilcznski and needed a determined first half rear-guard action and one exhilarating save from Laurie Walker to stay level at a goal-less half-time.
Matt Lowe had the visitors’ only goal attempt of the first period as they finished the half more strongly. But the scuffed finish from Jordan Hempenstall’s knock-down from James Clifton’s cross did not threaten.
The Quakers went ahead after 53 minutes as Stephen Thompson, who scored in the reverse fixture at SJP in October when the sides drew 2-2, lashed in the goal from a narrow angle after the Brackley defence failed to clear from a corner.
Darlington’s lead rarely looked in danger and only a further finger-tip save by Walker kept the home side from scoring again late on.
With 5 minutes remaining an aerial collision left Glenn Walker pole-axed on the ground and the subject of immediate medical concern from both benches. After a long delay for treatment Walker was eventually helped from the pitch reducing Brackley to ten-men for the remaining minutes.
The home win lifted Darlington into 5th place as Saints slipped to 11th with their own play-off chances looking very slim indeed as the teams around them won.
Brackley Town: L.Walker, Clifton, Gudger, Byrne, Gough, Dean, G.Walker, Lowe (Myles 63), Moyo (Diggin 80), Hempenstall (Ndlovu 63), A.Walker. Subs not used: Pitt, Barnes-Homer.
Darlington 1883: Wilcznski, Marrs, Ferguson, Tirnbull, Hunter, Galbraith, Syers, Falkingham, Beck, Cartman (Gilllies 90), Thompson (Saunders 73). Subs not used: Jameson, Wearmouth, Hume.
Referee: K Sarsfield Assistants: A Herczeg and M Ryan