Thame pull off dramatic giant killing in FA Cup

THAME United overcame two leagues higher Brackley Town 2-0 at home in the first qualifying round of the prestigious FA Cup.

Thame were forced to defend for lengthy periods but the younger, less experienced, home side team played above their normal level and as a result they will be in Monday’s FA Cup draw.

The visitors dominated the first 15 minutes with Thame keeper Nick Bennion forced into action after three minutes, making a good save from a Brackley shot. Two minutes later Brackley hit the crossbar from a header as they pressurised the home goal.

After the initial onslaught Thame recovered and started to create chances of their own and Alex Stuart was unlucky to see his lobbed shot fly just

wide with the visiting keeper beaten.

Towards the end of the first half it seemed Thame were capable of not only containing the visitors but creating chances of their own as both Aaron Rogers and Alex Stewart went close.

Brackley came out for the second half determined to break the deadlock as they again put the home goal under siege. They hit both uprights during a frantic 10 minutes in which the United defence excelled itself.

Thame recovered, and on 56 minutes a free kick from Thame substitute Matt Hall hit the Brackley post.

The home side’s first goal come on 64 minutes when Stewart met a Hall cross with a goal-bound shot which was blocked at point blank range by Brackley defender Chris Willmott’s arm.

The referee, perhaps harshly, pointed to the penalty spot. Mitchell Meredith comfortably converted the resultant spot kick, sending the visiting keeper the wrong way. The rest of the game was end to end stuff with the visitors having more possession and Thame playing some inspired defensive football.

A goal bound header, from a corner, was cleared off the Thame goal line and United man of the match, Bennion made some outstanding saves. The home team increased their lead with a bizarre goal in the final minutes. Following a Thame attack the visiting keeper collected the ball but his kick was intercepted by the alert Rogers, the ball hitting him on the chest and allowing him to dribble it over the goal line. The Thame team ran the length of the pitch to congratulate him.

Two minute later the final whistle blew on an outstanding performance by the Thame team which both they, and their supporters, will remember for many years.

Thame United: Bennion, Willett, Meredith, N Rhodes, Brown (Steadman), Hayes, Connelly, West, Stewart (MacDonald), Rogers, Ricketts (Hall).