Saints have to settle for another point in survival bid

Glenn Walker beats Chorley keeper Sam Ashton to give Brackley Town the lead at St James Park
Glenn Walker beats Chorley keeper Sam Ashton to give Brackley Town the lead at St James Park

Brackley Town remain just outside the Vanarama National League North relegation zone following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chorley.

But, once again, it was a case of two more points being dropped as Saints established the interval advantage through Glenn Walker before allowing Chorley back into the contest with Richard Batchelor’s own goal gifting the visitors a second half equaliser.

In the end, the point keeps Saints once place above the drop zone, on goal difference from Lowestoft Town, who have a game in hand.

It’s now one defeat in eight outings for Saints but too many draws have prevented them from pulling clear. Now Saints must turn their attention to Tuesday’s clash with AFC Telford at St James Park where three points must be gained.

Steve Diggin was back in the starting line-up as manager Kevin Wilkin picked an attacking formation for the first of three home games out of the last four which would give Saints their best chance of staying up.

It was a cagey opening by both teams with Saints showing more appetite for the three points which, given their position, was hardly surprising. A first half of few chances and little action in the final third was notable only for the goal which separated the two sides at the break.

It came in the 20th minute when David Moyo found space on the right flank and when he slipped the ball inside it ran for Walker to beat Sam Ashton despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.

Moyo spurned an opportunity to double Saints’ advantage when he exchanged passes with Walker but dwelled on the ball and his shot was deflected into Ashton’s arms. And Chorley nearly took advantage just before the break when Jake Cottrell fired over from 25 yards.

Having gained the interval advantage, a confident looking Saints were quickly out of the blocks after the restart and Moyo tested Ashton with a low drive. Chorley offered little in the final third with Paul Jarvis firing well over from a rare attack.

But as the half progressed Saints began to sit deeper as Chorley pushed the extra man up and got a foothold in the game. It still looked as though an equaliser would come through a Saints’ error rather than a goal of Chorley’s own making.

And so it proved in the 60th minute, Sam Hornby was nearly caught out by Will Beesley’s fee-kick from his own half and had to tip the ball over but from Jarvis’s ensuing corner skipper Andy Teague pressurised Batchelor into heading into his own net.

Boosted by the goal, Chorley began to look the more likely side to take all three points and Jarvis shot wide on the turn. Saints struggled to create any openings with Moyo and Diggin becoming more isolated up front.

Kieran Charnock headed just wide from a Mark Ross free-kick as Chorley finished the stronger of the two sides.