Last-gasp County deny Saints

Sam Whittall. Picture by Steven Prouse.
Sam Whittall. Picture by Steven Prouse.

An injury-time winner cruelly denied Brackley Town what would have been a fully deserved point away to Stockport County in the Conference North.

Saints enjoyed the better chances of a well-contested game, but Scott Spencer’s last-gasp goal condemned Jon Brady’s side to a seventh defeat of the season and leaves Town 17th in the table, just one point clear of safety.

The wet conditions failed to spoil a high-quality and entertaining match played in front of a healthy crowd of 2,475 as Brackley welcomed Tom Sharpe back to the start line-up.

Playing a fluid 3-5-2, Saints were organised and assured and started brightly, Shaun Jeffers twice in space unable to get a telling shot away, while County’s Lee Stevenson fired over when well-placed.

On 35 minutes, a fine run from midfield by Ebby Nelson-Addy produced a slide-rule pass for Ryan Rowe, whose shot at goal brought a finger-tip save from goalkeeper Ian Ormson.

Rowe was again in the thick of the action minutes later as he turned on the edge of the penalty area, beating two defenders, took a touch but saw his shot graze the outside of Ormson’s right-hand post.

After the break, Jeffers was again through but saw his shot cleared before County produced an incisive move switching the ball to the left and crossing for Ritchie Baker to nip in ahead of his marker at the near post to give his side a 60th minute lead.

Having enjoyed the better of the game to this point, Saints could have wilted but instead showed great character in fighting back. Will Green replaced Jeffers before Nelson-Addy shot over and Saints’ determination finally brought its reward on 76 minutes. A free-kick was played into the danger zone, County failed to clear and from the melee Sam Whittall fired home bringing the sides level.

Goalscorer Baker tested Billy Turley with a fierce effort the ‘keeper saved well low down and Will Green saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Stephen O’Halloran as both sides sought the winner.

The game’s decisive moment arrived in added time as Stockport again worked the ball from right to left before whipping in a fine low cross that evaded everyone except Spencer who arrived at the far post to find the net.

Within moments of the goal ,the referee blew for the end of the game leaving County to celebrate a sixth successive home win and Saints to reflect on a cruel twist to a game in which they had more than matched County.

Brackley make the short trip to local rivals Oxford City this weekend.

Brackley: Turley, Samuels, Carruthers, Eddie Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, Nelson-Addy, Whittall, Rowe, Jeffers (Green 60), McDonald.

Stockport: Ormson, Belezika, Fagbola, Moses, Lees, O’Halloran, Baker, Stevenson (Lofthouse 82), Owens, Spencer, Milligan.

Referee: Ricky Wooton

Attendance: 2,475