Substitute Kaiyne Woolery’s goal booked Tranmere Rovers place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup at the expense of a determined Brackley Town at Prenton Park.
In a game of few clear-cut chances the National League North side, 56 places lower in the football pyramid than their opponents, went toe-to-toe with League Two Tranmere and carved out several chances.
But the injection of Woolery in the second half decided the game, the forward curling home from 18 yards to give the hosts their seventh consecutive win in all competitions and they now await Monday’s third round draw.
- Emirates FA Cup
- Second round
- 7.55pm, Friday 27 November 2020
- Prenton Park
The hosts came into the contest amid a strong run of form which had seen them go six matches unbeaten in all competitions and it was they who started the stronger, dominating possession of the ball.
But there were early glimpses too of the threat which Lee Ndlovu would pose for Brackley as he hassled and hounded the Tranmere defence in the early exchanges.
The first real chance of the contest also went Brackley’s way, to cement their positive start, when Tre Mitford’s powerful effort from the edge of the box had Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies scrambling only for it to narrowly go over the bar.
In response, Calum MacDonald blazed wide and James Vaughan missed with an overhead kick for a Rovers side who were being met blow for blow in the opening half.
To epitomise that, on the half hour mark Shepherd Murombedzi was only inches wide for the visitors with his curled effort from outside the box.
With only minutes to go in the opening half Shane Byrne was on the spot to deny Corey Blackett-Taylor as his slide tackle prevented the Tranmere man a goalscoring opportunity, sending the sides into the break level.
The hosts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, Kieron Morris shooting wide before Blackett-Taylor had another chance prevented when Ethan Coleman blocked the cross which had been heading his way.
As time continued to go on Tranmere appeared to get more frustrated by their resolute opponents who once again showed their might as they went close in the 65th minute, Murombedzi narrowly missing the target after Ndlovu had smartly managed to hold the ball up and then tee him up.
Two minutes later though and the visitors were made to pay for squandering their chances when Woolery curled home into the top right corner of the net after a well worked quick move.
The goal was a huge blow for Brackley who had more than held their own and the breakdown of James Armson’s promising move showed that it would take something big to turn the game back in their direction.
With six minutes to go the tie should have been sealed but Vaughan could not connect from close range following Woolery’s whipped cross.
And there was still time for Brackley’s biggest chance to force extra time when Wes York’s dangerous ball from the right was fired into the six-yard box but no teammate could get on the end of it.