Brackley Town left their supporters with unforgettable memories after coming from behind to win on penalties in the 2018 Buildbase FA Trophy final.
Bromley seemed destined to win upon their first return to the National Stadium since 1949 thanks to Omar Bugiel’s first-half strike, but Roger Johnson’s dramatic own-goal late into second-half added time took the tie to extra-time.
Neither side could be separated after thirty minutes of grueling extra-time and substitute Andy Brown swept home the winning penalty to send his side’s supporters back to Northamptonshire feeling jubilant.
Both sides started the FA Trophy Final brightly as they looked to settle any early nerves. George Porter came close for Bromley as he headed over from close range, although the flag was raised for offside anyway. Shortly after though, when the London side’s goalkeeper David Gregory was caught sleeping, a deep cross caused trouble in the Bromley box.
The National League side continued to dominate in terms of chances. A left-wing corner was headed only as far as Bugiel who shanked a shot into the side netting.
James Armson had an audacious attempt on-goal after 17 minutes but his shot went well over.
And the Northamptonshire-based club were left rueing their missed chances as two minutes later Bromley took the lead. Adam Mekki drove forward from the half-way line, slotted Bugiel through-on-goal and the on-loan striker finished superbly past Danny Lewis.
Brackley came close to levelling in first-half added time, with Shane Bryne sending a shot towards goal – although his volley flew just wide.
The Ravens almost doubled their lead shortly after the half-time interval, but Roger Johnson had his close-range header saved superbly by Gregory.
Shortly afterwards the London side found themselves under a period of immense pressure. Armson struck the post from just six-yards out before Gregory made an impressive save from point-blank range before Jordan Higgs smashed Armson’s rebound effort off-the-line.
But it proved to be a day to forget for Brackley Town and Armson. The midfielder had another great chance to level the scores when Glenn Walker pulled the ball back to him, but hewasted yet another chance by shanking a shot over.
Brandon Hanlan had the perfect chance to seal the win when he reeled onto Josh Rees’ through-ball, but the substitute had his shot saved by Lewis.
Although it was not over yet. With fifteen seconds left on the clock, Brackley piled forwar. A deep corner caused havoc in the Bromley area and, after Gregory saved the initial effort, the ball bounced off Johnson into his own net to take the game into extra-time.
With tiresome legs, neither side threatened to take the lead during the first-half of extra-time. Although, Bugiel came closest early in the second-half with a boucning header that went wide.
Bromley seemed destined to win as they took a 4-2 lead in the penalty shoot-out but, after consecutive misses, Andy Brown stroked home the winning penalty to win the 2018 Buildbase FA Trophy and leave Bromley thinking what could have been.