Stockport County’s FA Trophy run came to an end in Northamptonshire as two second-half Brackley goals saw the ’Saints’ deservedly win the second round replay.
It was a first defeat in 11 matches for the Hatters, whose starting line-up featured a trio of changes from the team that had taken to the field for the original tie at Edgeley Park three days earlier.
Kaine Felix, Josh Amis and Courtney Meppen-Walters replaced Mark Ross, Kay Odejayi and the injured Jimmy Ball in a 3-1-4-2 formation.
The Hatters got off to a lively start, as they forced three corners in the opening quarter of an hour.
And from the first of those, Meppen-Walters almost broke the deadlock when, after 11 minutes, his header was cleared off the line by Luke Graham.
More generally, however, the opening 45 minutes, as on Saturday, saw an evenly-contested half – with clear-cut opportunities at a relative premium.
Danny Lloyd and Scott Duxbury unleashed low shots on target for County, while Steve Diggin and Glenn Walker responded in kind.
But both Ben Hinchliffe and his opposite Number One Laurie Walker dealt comfortably with the efforts that came their way.
By contrast, the second half saw County struggle to make any further impression on the game, as their hosts took control.
Ten minutes after the resumption, Brackley broke through Lee Ndlovu, who picked out Jimmy Armson, and the latter’s left-footed shot from 15 yards out put the Saints ahead.
The goal was the first that the hosts had ever scored against County at their own ground. And, unfortunately for the Hatters, another was to follow just 12 minutes later.
Ndlovu was the architect again – squaring from the right for Glenn Walker to side-foot home, double the lead and see Brackley through to a Third Round tie at Wealdstone.
The Hatters, for their part and facing a well-drilled home defence, did not register an attempt on goal after the break.
Their minds will now revert to league action, and three further challenges in January against fellow play-off hopefuls – concluding, on the month’s final day, with a prompt return-visit to Brackley.
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan, Duxbury, Montrose, Clarke (Capt.), Smalley, Felix (Marsden, 72), Stopforth (Ross, 65), Amis, Meppen-Walters (Cartwright, 46), Lloyd. Unused Subs: Odejayi, Ormson.
Booked: Meppen-Walters, Stopforth, Cartwright.