Failure to convert easy chances cost Ardley United two UHLSport Hellenic League points in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Brackley Town Saints.
With several players still unavailable and two more making their debuts, Ardley again seemed to be up against it before the premier division derby started. But the way the players performed belied this fact and they fully deserved to win the game.
Pushing the home side into their own half in the opening ten minutes, Ardley looked the more likely to be first to score but a quick breakaway saw Chris Jordan beat the offside trap and sprint clear to put the Saints into an unlikely 12th minute lead.
Ardley didn’t let that setback trouble them though and they continued to press forward with Carl Tappin’s shot just being deflected over. From the resultant 25th minute corner Bradley Cox headed powerfully home.
A clearance from a throw-in set Matt Cruse free but his shot went just the wrong side of the far post but five minutes before halftime Elias Katsoloudi popped up with a gem of a goal. Receiving the ball from a throw-in, the striker turned and ran infield from the right touch line and, with everyone expecting a pass, he beat keeper Dan Farrell from 30 yards.
The second half was a more closely fought affair but there were few clear cut chances until the last quarter of an hour. Saints levelled in the 75th minute when a clearance from a set-piece was played back in to the box to find Matt Hammond at the far post and he made no mistake from close range.
With ten minutes left, Cruse broke clear and was tripped from behind by the last defender but managed to regain his feet and see his shot blocked. Saints had a late chance when Hammond shot wide and Ardley substitute Daryl Wood was denied by a last ditch block.