Brackley boss Jon Brady feels the club’s FA Cup run to the second round is the reason behind Town’s poor end of season form that has seen them miss out on promotion.
A 1-1 draw with Worcester City on Saturday was Saints’ fourth in a row and ended all mathematical hope of a play-off spot, much to the disappointment of Brady after last season’s unexpected third-placed finish.
He said: “Last season’s performance certainly raised expectations for this season.
“If I look at the league table and the teams above us I feel sick to be honest, because I know how many points we have dropped from drawing and winning positions.
“There is no getting away from the fact that the long cup run has ultimately taken its toll, and it has been hard to lift the players after the euphoria of the cup success and the media attention it attracted.”
Brackley’s first visit to Kidderminster Harriers’ Aggborough stadium brought a goalless first half followed by an incident-packed second period that saw Saints reduced to 10 men for the second successive Saturday as Saints and Worcester shared the points.
Ryan Rowe touched in Glenn Walker’s pacey free-kick to put the visitors into a 52nd minute lead, but a hotly-disputed penalty saw Brett Solkhon red carded for handball on the line and Ethan Moore converted from 12 yards to share the spoils.
Brady said afterwards: “We played some good football and defended well, especially when down to 10 men.
“Worcester are a big, physical side. We should have won this game. It was a very poor decision to award the penalty and send the defender off. The ball hit him on the chest, even their players were saying that.
“I am using these final games to assess one or two things, although mostly I have made up my mind about the squad for next season.
“I needed to look at Ryan Rowe as he is with us on loan.
“He nipped in to score the goal from Glenn Walker’s fine delivery just after the break.
“He has held the ball up well bringing other players into the game and at the end his shot was only kept out by a great save.”