Fisher strike sinks Brackley

Brackley Town 0 St Albans City 1 (James Fisher 32) James Ronayne at St James Park A FINE strike from the edge of the area from James Fisher was enough to give City their first win of pre-season. Fisher s effort, 13 minutes before half time, settled a ga

Brackley Town 0

St Albans City 1 (James Fisher 32)

James Ronayne at St James Park

A FINE strike from the edge of the area from James Fisher was enough to give City their first win of pre-season.

Fisher's effort, 13 minutes before half time, settled a game that in truth lacked any real goalmouth action despite two disallowed goals.

City started with an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation which gave fans the chance to see Fisher, Solomon Shields and Luke Thurlbourne patrol the middle of the park.

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It was something that worked last night and looks as though it would work in Blue Square South with the three players complimenting each other. Thurlbourne provides the tenacious tackling, Shields the intricate passing and creativity while the industrious Fisher, on current form brings the most important thing to the table - goals.

Steve Castle has made no secret of his desire to add another option at centre half and gave 21-year-old Jason Mitchell the opportunity to shine alongside Ryan Frater. After a shaky start, defender seemed to look more comfortable as the game wore on, albeit against an attack that never threatened Paul Bastock's goal, and with the former Maldon Town man set to feature against Leyton Orient on Thursday it will be interesting to see how he fares against a more experienced attack.

Brackley winger Tom Winters looked a decent prospect, and he was involved in two attacks that tested the City backline. First he got the by line and although Frater was able to clear his cross he could only get it as far as Ben Mackey but the striker's volley ballooned harmlessly over the bar. Winters then went it alone picking the ball up 25 yards out and firing narrowly wide.

Sandwiched in between these two efforts was the first ruled out goal. A great long ball over the top found Jamie O'Donoghue who showed great composure to fire home only for it to be ruled out by the linesman's flag.

City eventually broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute with Shields and Daniel Chillingworth both playing a part in the build up.

Jamie Thurlbourne's long corner found Shields at the far post, who knocked the ball down to Chillingworth. The former Cambridge United man laid the ball in to the path of Fisher who guided his shot inside the far post with the goalkeeper motionless.

It was to be Chillingworth's last action as he limped off to be replaced by Drew Roberts.

Brackley had their best spell just after the break and Mark Rawle should have done better when gifted a free header on the edge of the box, but the former Boston man dragged his effort wide of Bastock's post.

Fisher could have doubled City's lead when he ghosted in unmarked to meet a Jamie Thurlbourne corner but the midfielder headed over the bar.

From this City attack Brackley immediately went up the other end and had the ball in the back of the net with Elliot Sandy flicking on Dwayne Clarke's cross for Rawle, who cleverly lifted the ball over Bastock only for it to be scrubbed out by the linesman's flag.

Mackey came close with an effort from the edge of the area before a flurry of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game.

As a result the ball spent the majority of the remaining time in midfield were Shields came into his own with a fine display of short passing and movement.

The former Orient man linked up with Drew Roberts on the edge of the box but Roberts' effort curled the wrong side of Richard Morris' post.

At the other end Dwayne Clarke picked up the ball and cut inside trialist Conor Baker but the Brackley winger dragged his effort disappointingly wide of the post.

The final action of the game saw Morris do well to push out a Craig Mortimer free kick as City wrapped up a deserved win.

Attention now turns to Clarence Park, where City take on a Watford XI tonight, with Mark Peters taking charge of the team for the first time.

Brackley Town (4-4-2): Richard Morris; Liam Nicell, Josh Green, Danny Spencer (Luke Carnell 81), Mark Ducket; Dwayne Clarke (Ross Oulton 86), Elliot Sandy (Richard Groves 59), Jon Brady (Wayne Blossom 59), Tom Winters (Jamie Gould 59); Mark Rawle, Ben Mackey. Subs: Jack Longford, Jack Goode.

St Albans City (4-3-3): Paul Bastock; Alex Bailey (Knock 69m), Ryan Frater (c) (Peters 72), Jason Mitchell, Jamie Thurlbourne (Conor Baker 60); Solomon Shields, Luke Thurlbourne, James Fisher (JJ 59); Daniel Chillingworth (Roberts 32), Gary Cohen (Mortimer 72), Jamie O'Donoghue (Miller 60).

Referee: Chris Miller (Isham)

ATT: 178