Competition: Vanarama National League North
Location: LCI Rail Stadium, Cheltenham
Admission: Adults £13, Concessions (65+, NUS) and 12 and under free
The Tigers will be looking to increase our unbeaten run to six games when we host 11th placed Brackley Town on Tuesday night, writes Joshua Slack.
The Tigers draw at Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday meant we extended our unbeaten run to five matches. On Saturday it looked like Tim Harris’ men would come away with nothing, until Sam Avery fired the ball into the roof of the net following a frantic goalmouth scramble. Previous to that the Tigers recorded wins over promotion hopefuls Salford City, as well as defeating play-off contenders Tamworth, whilst also seeing off Worcester City in the Severn Derby at Whaddon Road. City also defeated Telford 2-0 on the road. Despite winning five out of our past seven games, Halifax’s win on Saturday meant we lost ground on the play-off places. We’re currently eight points off Halifax, who occupy the final play-off place.
Our visitors to Whaddon Road on Tuesday night come in the form of Brackley Town, and are in a real poor run of form. They’ve won just once in their last 10 games. Their last win came in a 2-0 win over Stockport County on the 17th of January. However, despite the poor run in form, The Saints are just one place below the Tigers, and a win on Tuesday night will mean they’ll close the gap to just one point.
Sam Avery has been excellent for the Tigers recently, putting in a man of the match display on the weekend against Gainsborough Trinity, and grabbed a goal when all seemed lost. Avery, who made his professional debut in the 2014/15 season has grown into an experienced National League North defender, and has over 100 appearances for the Tigers. He’s thrived this season, scoring four times in 21 appearances – making him City’s highest scoring defender.
Midfielder James Armson is a real threat for the visitors. The 27 year-old has seven goals to his name in 26 appearances since his move from Solihull Moors in the summer, and scored a brace in just three minutes in the FA Trophy as Brackley overcame Wealdstone 4-1 earlier this month.
Head To Head
The Tigers have faced off against Tueaday night’s visitors nine times in total in the National League North, winning three, drawing twice, and losing four times. The first meeting between the two sides came back in the 2012/2013 season, Brackley coming out on top – winning 4-1. However, the Tigers responded later on that season, winning the return fixture 1-0 at St. James Park. Going into the 2013/2014 season would see the first draw between the two sides as it finished 2-2. Later on that season would see the Tigers take all three points – winning 3-1 at Brackley courtesy of goals from Jake Gosling, Charlie Griffin & Lewis Hogg.
The next season would see the Tigers strike late through Joe Parker to gain all three points. Brackley were reduced to 10 men earlier in the game before Joe Parker scrambled home late to earn a 2-1 win for Tim Harris’ men on Boxing Day. However, it would be Brackley who would come out on top in the return fixture, winning 1-0.
Brackley won by the same scoreline the next season – courtesy of a goal from Steve Diggin. The game late on in the 2015/2016 season saw the first goalless draw between the two sides. Going onto this season, and Tuesday night’s visitors came out on top in the previous encounter. They were comfortable 3-0 winners at St. James Park thanks to goals from Adam Walker, Steve Diggin & Jimmy Armson.
Tom Webb, Calvin Dinsley & Chris Knowles are all out. Jack Deaman is also a fitness concern ahead of Tuesday night’s game, but manager Tim Harris is hopeful he’ll be fit in time.