A late goal from Alex Gudger gave Brackley Town the 1-0 edge over Wealdstone in the first leg of their FA Trophy Semi-Final at a freezing and snowy St James Park.

Bobby Wilkinson’s overall game plan worked well for 95 per cent of the huge contest as they nullified and continually broke up Brackley’s domineering style of play that has brought them so much previous success, particularly at home.

Stones pressed the ball hard throughout, often frustrating the hosts’ midfield and cutting off the supply to their lethal forwards.

These tactics inevitably produced a cagey game, limited in chances throughout but the ‘first half’ of this two-legged semi-final was settled in the 86th minute when Shane Byrne's deep corner was met by Gudger’s fine strike into the top corner.

“We more than matched them until a lapse right at the end but we got our tactics correct against a very good side, make no mistake about that,” said Wilkinson.

“We all need to go into the second half next Saturday with total positivity and everyone again getting behind the team as the fans did brilliantly at Brackley with a big crowd at The Vale.

“If it ended a 0-0 we would still have to score as it is with a 0-1 situation.

“We will go for it as we did at their place - the tie is very much alive and there is everything to play for."

Wilkinson made several changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Havant & Waterlooville with many of his first team players returning.

But it was one of the survivors from Tuesday night’s side that had the first chance of the game. Mustafa Tiryaki did well to beat Ellis Myles in the box before his low cross was kicked away by keeper Danny Lewis.

Wealdstone then had their best chance of the game. Jake Sheppard made a bursting forward run into the box before his shot was spilled by Lewis, Bradley Bubb toe-poked the rebound goalward but Gareth Dean was there to clear off the line.

The Stones began the second half well with Eddie Oshodi flicking a header wide of goal and Ricky Wellard missing the chance to add to his FA Trophy goal tally when he hit a shot just wide from the edge of the box.

The hosts rallied and Dean and his defensive partner Luke Graham both had headers held by Jonathan North.

Byrne then had a chance at goal, using the bobble of a testing pitch to try and catch North out, but the Welsh stopper was equal to it.

Brackley’s pressure finally brought a goal on 86 minutes when Byrne seemed to overhit a corner, only for Gudger to be lurking at the far post, he took a touch and unleashed a fierce effort past North into the top corner.

The hosts now take the advantage into the second leg at Grosvenor Vale on Saturday, March 24 (kick-off 3pm) but the tie remains finely poised with Wembley the prize for the victor next Saturday.

Tickets for the second leg are available in advance by clicking here or from the Ruislip Social Bar during opening hours. Fans can also pay through the gates on the day of the match, but are advised to arrive early to avoid queues.

Wealdstone: North, Sheppard, Sellers, Oshodi, Wilson, Okimo, Wellard, Cox, Tiryaki  (Fitchett 83), Green, Bubb. Subs not used: Constable, Whichelow, Olomowewe, Ogle.