Gillingham v Brackley - Saturday 15:00
Lightning couldn’t possibly strike twice, could it? Three years ago, Brackley dumped Gillingham out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle with a 1-0 win at their St James Park ground. On that occasion, they needed a replay, having initially been denied by a 97th-minute Bradley Dack equaliser at Priestfield. This time, they could complete the job at the first time of asking.
On the surface, the profile of this tie is almost identical. The gap between the two teams then was 61 places in the football pyramid. Right now, it’s 63. The Gills occupy the exact same position in League One, the Saints are two places further down in the National League North. But enough has changed at both clubs in the meantime to negate any feelings of revenge.
For Gillingham, the concern isn’t just a run of one win in 11 league matches, it’s the level of denial being employed by Justin Edinburgh. He’s convinced there isn’t much wrong, that this is essentially the same team that pushed for promotion last season. In such secnarios, an FA Cup embarrassment can often be the necessary hammer blow that finally delivers the sobering reality.
As for Brackley, they now operate under Kevin Wilkin, the ex-Wrexham boss who ran Stoke mighty close to a third-round upset at the Britannia two seasons ago. The Dragons grabbed a deserved lead on 73 minutes only to run out of steam when Mark Hughes turned to his bench for fresh legs. Edinburgh has no such resources to fall back on, so chance the away win at 17/2.£10 Free Credit and a £500 Deposit Bonus