Brackley Town recorded just their second win of the season when they overcame bottom-of-the-table Hyde FC 1-0 on Saturday.
Ryan Rowe’s 29th minute was enough for the three points, although Saints had further chances to extend the lead, as they saw out an anxious final few minutes to seal a vital win that keeps them in touch with those above them.
After describing last week’s 3-0 defeat to Guiseley as “unacceptable from start to finish”, Brackley boss Jon Brady was pleased with his side’s performance against Hyde.
He said: “It’s an important step in the right direction that took character. Both teams were cautious and a bit nervy to be fair.
“Give credit to Hyde who came here to play and to try to win the game. Last week we did not do what we had trained for and talked about. Today we were improved in many areas.
“Eric Odhiambo came in and played well today even though he is not match fit having waited for his international clearance to come through. Ryan Rowe was outstanding today with great work-rate for the team.”
Reflecting on a much-needed clean sheet, Brady also singled out young Dwayne Samuels for praise, adding: “It was a much improved performance by Dwayne at right-back and Jon Brown’s defensive work also supported us in that position. Together they stuck to our plan for dealing with their left-sided attack and saw it out.”
Full-back Connor Hughes’ push on Rowe conceded the spot-kick that Rowe himself coolly dispatched on the half hour with Saints looking the more composed and enjoying the greater possession and adventure.
Both sides had a penalty claim each waved away in a first half of few chances though Brackley’s Ebby Nelson-Addy and new signing Eric Odhiambo both created space for shots that were blocked.
After the break, the home side enjoyed a spell of pressure, pinning the Tigers back with striker Sam Smith seeing his shot blocked and Rowe curling a shot onto the post before Odhiambo was thwarted as he pounced on the rebound earning only a corner.
Jon Brown’s fine cross on 72 minutes was met by substitute Will Green whose header again crashed onto the woodwork and late on Green’s close range effort was somehow kept out by keeper Billy O’Brien after good work by Odhiambo in reaching the by-line.
The visitors rarely threatened with Dean Snedker making just two saves in the game, yet in the final minutes some anxiety crept in as five minutes of added time was played and Saints were relieved to close out the game for only a second clean sheet of the campaign so far.
Brackley: Snedker, Samuels, McDonald, Curtis, Sharpe, R.Austin, Brown, Nelson-Addy, Rowe, Smith (Green 70), Eric Odhiambo (Kaziboni 82). Subs not used: Webb, Pearson, Built.
Hyde: O’Brien, Hughes, Brownhill (Conchie 74), McQuade, Day (Ball 58), Thurston, Gray, Brizell, Tames, Bentham, Almond. Subs not used: Blakeman, Giverin, O’Connor.
Referee: Michael D’Aguilar