STEVE Diggin’s second half strike saw Brackley Town make a swift return to winning ways against Histon on Tuesday evening.
On a rainy evening at St James’ Park, Brackley fell behind inside 20 minutes but Elliot Sandy levelled the scores with a scrappy goal shortly before half time.
Brackley piled on the pressure in the second half and were only denied by some fine goalkeeping from Joe Mellings.
But the Histon ‘keeper could do little about Diggin’s winner as he rounded Mellings to slot home the winner.
Following their first slip-up of the season at the weekend – a 1-1 draw against Colwyn Bay – this victory puts Brackley a point clear of Guiseley, who have played a game more, at the top of the Blue Square North table.
Saints manager Jon Brady made three changes to his starting line-up with Diggin and Tom Winters handed rare starts.
It was Brady’s side who began on top but the greasy surface and horrid weather conditions made for a scrappy opening with few clear-cut chances.
Brackley attempted to get the ball down and put some pressure on the visiting defence but Histon did well to restrict the league leaders to long-range efforts – Winters going closest with a 25-yard shot that fizzed narrowly wide.
That was then followed by the best chance of the match, which fell to Glenn Walker who’s quick-feet saw him cut inside the full-back but his shot was straight at Mellings.
Just as it looked liked Brackley were taking control, the visitors took the lead completely against the run of play.
Some neat work down the right saw Sol Atubu put in a pin-point cross for Jordan Ivey-ward and he headed past the helpless Billy Turley.
The home side went in search of a swift response but Histon did well to frustrate Brackley and it was the visitors next to threaten when the lively Ivey-ward curled an effort narrowly wide.
Saints struggled to get a foothold in the match with Omar Folkes going close but eventually the home side upped the tempo and came within a whisker of levelling but Jay Dowie’s brilliant goal-line clearance denied Sandy.
However, from the resulting corner, Histon failed to clear and it allowed Sandy to smash in from three yards after a goalmouth scramble to level the scores.
The visitors remained dogged despite the goal and almost re-took the lead but for a fine Turley save on the stroke of half time.
The second half was a different story to the first as Brackley dominated and were only denied a second goal by Mellings, who made a series of fine stops from Michael Corcoran and Diggin.
But the Saints pressure finally told when Diggin rounded the keeper to slot home after a poor header from Jim Stevenson put him through.
Histon poured men forward in search of a point, which allowed Brackley to pick them off on the counter and they came close to a third on several occasions – Diggin hitting the bar – but the home side settled for the three points.
Earlier in the week, Brackley lost their 100 per cent record at Colwyn Bay when Josh Green’s early goal was cancelled out by Rob Hopley.
Brackley: Turley (c), Clifton, Green, Solkhon, McDonald, Winters, Corcoran, Odhiambo (Robinson 59), Walker, Sandy, Diggin (W Green 90).
Subs not used: Nisevic, Story, Robinson, Zylski
Histon: Mellings, Roberts, Harris, Dowie, Stevenson, Fitzsimmons, Mills, Sear (c), Atubu, Mwanyonso (Folkes 28), Ivey-ward.
Subs not used: Hoban, Dacosta, Ahmed, Thomson
Referee: Jake Hillier
Assistants: Ian Douglas and Mark Lucie
Star Saint: Steve Diggin – Caused problems for the Histon defence throughout and could easily have had a hat-trick.