Bracey save ensures Blues Under-15s get deserved point in thrilling contest
PUBLISHED: 16:48 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:09 13 January 2020
Brixington Blues and Alphington ended their Exeter and District Youth League Under-15 Division One meeting with honours even after a terrific encounter that saw both sides play some excellent football.
With regular Blues skipper Jake Haggerty out injured, Russ Bracey stepped up from his vice-captains' role to wear the armband.
In a high-tempo opening the action was end-to-end with both defences having to work hard to contain a couple of lively forward lines.
Reece Alexander and Haydon Simpson were at the heart of the Blues defensive effort, the pair continually working hard to break up the Alphas midfield approach work.
Blues went close when, after some neat inter play involving Jack Drew-Cull and Oliver Bradley, Makan Coulibaly drew a fine save out from the Alphas goalkeeper.
Soon after, Lewis Ayley won possession and sent Louis Vinnicombe away and, when he crossed into a crowded area, Luke Paramore had a goal-bound header cleared.
Back came the opposition and Bracey was called into action to make a smart save. The Blues stand-in skipper then launched a swift counter-attack which involved contributions from Jayden Marles and Joel Knott prior to another Paramore effort being blocked.
Just before the break, after wining the ball, Simpson found Drew-Cull and his superb first touch gave him time and space to get a shot away that arrowed past the Alphas glovesman and into the net to see Blues into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
The second half saw no let up in the high tempo nature. Alphington pressed for an equaliser but were denied by some fine goalkeeping from Bracey.
At the opposite end of the pitch Oscar Grunt launched a move that ended with Coulibaly teeing up Paramore to see another shot well saved.
Parity was restored to an intriguing contest when Alphington found a way past Bracey with a well-truck free-kick.
Buoyed by their equaliser Alphington looked for a winner and were denied all three points but a stunning Bracey save - a genuine contender for 'save of the season'!
However, a second goal for the Alphas would have been harsh on Blues who certainly deserved to have something to show for their contribution to a fine game.