Shane Byrne hit the only goal of the game as Brackley Town beat Altrincham in Vanarama National League North.
Saints came out on top in a clash of two of last season’s play-off teams courtesy of Byrne’s stunning first half strike. Saints fully deserved the win, creating more than enough chances to have won the game more decisively but had keeper Danny Lewis to thank for saving a second half penalty.
The only goal of the game arrived on the half-hour mark and was struck sweetly by Byrne from 20 yards finding the net low past Steve Drench at full stretch in off the post.
After the restart, the home side passed up two gilt-edged chances to have opened up a two-goal lead. Jimmy Armson picked a perfect pass to play in Matt Lowe who was thwarted with the goal seemingly at his mercy before Lee Ndlovu followed up but saw his back-heeled effort cleared off the line in a double let-off for the Robins.
The visitors squandered the chance to level in the 65th minute after Jordan Hulme was brought down close to goal but Lewis produced a fine save from John Johnston’s ensuing spot-kick.
Captain Gaz Dean’s towering header was pawed away by Drench who also saved well from Byrne in added-time as Saints finished strongly. The visitors rarely threatened Lewis but did create some pressure in the final 20 minutes, Sean Williams shooting just wide and substitute Max Harrop cutting in and firing hard at goal bringing Lewis into action to keep the shot out.