Saints held to draw by Leamington

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Brackley Town climbed a place to fourth in the Conference North despite being held to a draw at home to Leamington on Boxing Day.

Brackley enjoyed the better of this first ever Conference North clash with Leamington but were left frustrated with only a share of the points on a day when no team in the top five could find a win.

Having fallen behind, one big positive manager Jon Brady could take from the game was the determined assault on Brakes’ goal to find the equaliser as Saints finished brightly.

He said: “We had a fair few chances and were the only team looking to win the game. They made it hard for us getting men behind the ball and we struggled to break them down. Looking ahead we need to cut out the defensive errors that are proving costly. We finished the game positively but perhaps the long cup run has left us a bit jaded and the run of midweek games has left us carrying some niggling injuries. There is no doubt we are lacking freshness at the moment.”

While the visitors threatened from occasional corners and free-kicks, Saints dominated first half possession and went close on four occasions.

On 23 minutes, Eddie Nisevic fired in a fierce shot to win a corner, Steve Diggin turned beautifully to shoot against the post ten minutes later, before Nisevic again tested Tony Breedon bringing an unorthodox clearing punch from the keeper and a jinking run and shot by Neil Cartwright was just inches wide as the break approached.

Brakes started the second period more strongly, bringing an acrobatic save from Billy Turley tipping Stefan Moore’s lob over his cross-bar before Moore gave the visitors the lead on 56 minutes. Put through on goal courtesy of a defensive slip, Turley saved one-on-one but Moore picked up the ensuing loose ball and enjoyed far too much time to find the net with aplomb.

Slowly Saints built some forward momentum as they sought an equalising goal, Neil Cartwright always a threat on the right and substitute Izak Reid likewise on the left. With ten minutes remaining Saints came close as substitute Charlie Griffin hooked over at close range after Ryan Austin’s fine header from a pin-point corner before Brett Solkhon got his head to Walker’s superb cross to notch the equaliser and his third goal of the season.

There were no further goals however and, frustrated though Saints were, the 1-1 draw was a fair reflection of a below-par game full of endeavour but low on attacking verve and invention.

Brackley Town: Turley, Cartwright (Griffin 78), Nisevic, Odhiambo (Reid 58), Sharpe, Austin, Story, Solkhon, Mills (Newton 65), Diggin, Walker.

Leamington: Breedon, Mace, Morley, Magunda, Daly, J.Green, Dodd, Owen, S.Moore (McNamee 83), Johnson, L.Moore.

Referee: Guy Stretton

Attendance: 529