Saints see their play-offs hopes take another hit

Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin saw side suffer successive defeats
Brackley Town manager Kevin Wilkin saw side suffer successive defeats
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A solitary goal from Stephen Thompson has all but ended Brackley Town’s play-off hopes in Vanarama National League North.

Town’s longest away trip of the season brought no reward as Darlington 1883 deservedly took the points in Saturday’s 1-0 success to go fifth while Saints slipped to 11th.

On a blustery afternoon and bumpy pitch Saints laboured, struggling to test keeper Ed Wilcznski and needed a determined first half rearguard action and one exhilarating save from Laurie Walker to stay level at halftime.

Matt Lowe had the visitors’ only goal attempt as they finished the half more strongly. But the scuffed finish from Jordan Hempenstall’s knock-down from James Clifton’s cross did not threaten.

The Quakers went ahead in the 53rd minute when Thompson, who scored in the reverse fixture at SJP in October when the sides drew 2-2, lashed in the goal from a narrow angle after the Saints defence failed to clear from a corner.

Darlington’s lead rarely looked in danger and only a further finger-tip save by Walker kept the home side from scoring again late on.

With five minutes remaining an aerial collision left Glenn Walker pole-axed on the ground and the subject of immediate medical concern from both benches. After a long delay for treatment, Walker was eventually helped from the pitch reducing Saints to ten men for the remaining minutes.