Wilkin learns a lot as Brackley are held by Diamonds

Kevin Wilkin says Brackley Town’s penultimate pre-season friendly at AFC Rushden & Diamonds “taught us plenty” as the countdown to the new campaign continues.

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:56 pm
Goalscorer James Armson in action during Brackley Town's 1-1 draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture by Glenn Alcock
Goalscorer James Armson in action during Brackley Town's 1-1 draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture by Glenn Alcock

The Saints boss didn’t hold back as he fielded a strong starting XI at Hayden Road and they took a deserved lead thanks to James Armson’s near-post header from a corner while home goalkeeper Dean Snedker was forced into a number of fine saves.

However, as Wilkin rang the changes in the second half, Brackley’s grip on the game somewhat and the Southern League Premier Central hosts equalised thanks to a long-range effort from Jenson Cooper.

Brackley’s final pre-season stop is at fellow Step 2 outfit Hemel Hempstead Town on Saturday and Wilkin feels he will be going there with enhanced knowledge of the players who have been trying to earn a deal at St James Park this summer.

“It was a good workout, I found out plenty,” the Brackley manager said.

“I think the game has given us the best indication so far about where each individual is at.

“From a learning perspective it was really beneficial. When you play the likes of Solihull Moors and Burton Albion, you perhaps don’t get as much of the ball and it’s probably not realistic towards what you are going to face week in, week out in the National League North.

“This game gave us the opportunity to look at people and see how they responded in certain roles and responsibilities and it taught us plenty.

“Their goalkeeper has made some great saves in the first half and they have got some great blocks in. I thought we were thoroughly dominant in the first half.

“If you were to look at both halves and the changes we made, in the second half we were a patch of the team that played in the first.

“But you have to convert those moments. We have still had some guilt-edged chances in the second half even when we weren’t in control as much as we had been.

“That’s something that was our achilles heel last season and it’s important we don’t allow that to be the case this time.”

Brackley’s Vanarama National League North campaign gets under way next Saturday (August 6) when they entertain newly-promoted Scarborough Athletic.