PENALTIES conceded in each half sent Brackley Town crashing out of the FA Trophy after a pulsating game at a wet and windy Guiseley AFC.
In what was an enthralling match of exciting football, Saints will take a full share of credit for an impressive display that could have seen an entirely different result on another day.
The visitors began well and took the game to Guiseley as they won several early corners and almost went ahead but the home side cleared off the line.
For their part, the Lions spurned a golden chance on 16 minutes when centre forward Kevin Holsgrove scooped his shot over when well placed.
But the opening goal shortly followed as Holsgrove made amends for that miss after he was felled by Josh Green in the penalty area and Nicky Boshell despatched the penalty via the post.
The Lions missed two further chances to extend their lead before half time but Brackley remained just one behind at the break.
The second half saw Saints back in the ascendency with the introduction of Tom Winters on the hour providing further fire power – the winger straight into the fray and playing like a man possessed and drawing double-marking from alert Guiseley defenders.
The 69th minute equaliser was nothing less than Brackley deserved. Created by fine work from Steve Diggin on the right, Glenn Walker rifled home a fierce shot for his eighth goal of the season.
But the goal only seemed spurred on the home side with the vocal crowd getting behind their team.
Billy Turley saved well from Wayne Brooksby on the left before Brooksby was adjudged to have been brought down in the penalty area and substitute Gavin Rothery restored Guiseley’s lead on 73 minutes.
Before Saints could draw breath, Guiseley were out of sight as Holsgrove grabbed the third goal with an exquisite lob from 30 yards with Turley stranded.
Brackley never let up and in the final minutes both sides had chances to increase the scoring – Holsgrove shot wide after a defensive slip put him through on goal before first Winters’ free-kick struck the bar and then somehow the ball stayed out as Elliot Sandy’s shot hit the post.
That was to be the final action of a captivating encounter that sees Brackley exit the FA Trophy, while in the league, Saints lost their spot at the top of the Blue Square North after Chester FC’s 4-1 win away at Histon.
Brackley Town: Turley, Corcoran, McDonald, Odhiambo (Sandy 79), Green (Mulligan 79), Nisevic, Story (Winters 58), Solkhon, Diggin, Robinson, Walker.
Subs unused: Clifton, Sharp.
Guiseley: Drench, Holdsworth, Meynell, Rea, Ellis, Pearson, Wilson (Rothery 63), D.Boshell (Clarke 80), Holsgrove (Walshaw 80), N.Boshell, Brooksby.
Subs unused: Dale, Giles.
Referee: Martin Coy