Byrne’s penalty miss proves costly

Shane Byrne missed a penalty for Brackley Town at Chester
Shane Byrne missed a penalty for Brackley Town at Chester

Brackley Town missed the chance to take the race for second place in Vanarama national League North to the final day of the season.

Impressive Saints were on top throughout in Monday’s stalemate at Chester which had everything but a goal. And it was Saints who missed the best chance when Shane Byrne failed to convert a penalty.

We just need to find that cutting edge in front of goal and when we do that we are a match for any team at this level

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

Chester rarely threatened to score, their best chance coming in added-time when George Green brought a sharp save from Danny Lewis, the only time the Saints keeper was called into serious action all afternoon. At the other end, Grant Shenton was kept busy throughout the 90 minutes with Saints always on the front foot, creating numerous chances to take the lead.

Lee Ndlovu was thwarted twice one-on-one by the keeper who had to be in top form to tip over Gaz Dean’s header from Byrne’s corner. Three minutes before the break Saints were awarded a penalty when Shep Murombedzi was bundled over but Byrne, who had converted his previous four penalties, this time fired over the bar.

Kevin Wilkin’s side continued to dominate in the second half, creating good chances but unable to apply the finishing touch as time finally ran out. The point keeps Saints in third place with one game remaining.

“It was a fantastic performance this afternoon, the only thing lacking was the goal,” Wilkin said: “I can’t ask any more from the players. We got into numerous good situations, one-on-ones and good opportunities when we really should score but that is the only disappointing aspect.

“Chester are not so far away but we’ve dominated the game. I can’t fault the attitude, commitment and quality at times and that’s encouraging of course. We just need to find that cutting edge in front of goal and when we do that we are a match for any team at this level.”