Last-gasp City deny Saints precious win in relegation battle

Greg Kaziboni. Picture by Steven Prouse
Greg Kaziboni. Picture by Steven Prouse

The desperate battle to avoid relegation from the Conference North looks to be heading for a nail-biting conclusion and Brackley Town have their work cut out following Tuesday’s gut-wrenching 1-1 draw at Worcester City.

In a performance full of character and endeavour, Saints took an early lead through Greg Kaziboni’s superb 14th minute goal and the visitors looked to be on course for a priceless and potentially season-defining three points, only for Mike Symonds to pop up deep into injury-time and break Brackley hearts.

The point could yet prove decisive come the end of the season in a nerve-jangling race for survival, however, as Saints remain second bottom but with a trip to already relegated Hyde to come plus two homes games in their final three, there is still every chance Jon Brady’s men can beat the drop.

In a well-contested first half, a spectacular volley from Worcester’s Joao Sousa brought a fine save from Billy Turley on 10 minutes but it was at the other end where the breakthrough arrived.

David Moyo won the physical battle and fed the ball to an eager Kaziboni, who turned inside and rifled a 20-yard effort into the roof of the net, giving keeper Nathan Vaughan no chance.

Moyo was then thwarted by Vaughan as Saints pushed for a second before the striker teed up Eddie Odhiambo, who could not find the finish.

Symons’ glancing header squirted just wide in a warning to Saints as the visitors maintained their slender advantage through to half-time.

The second half had the visitors guarding their narrow lead, on the back foot and struggling to retain possession and with Billy Turley unable to take goal kicks, Ryan Austin and Stuart Pierpoint helping out, Saints were pinned back.

But the Blues spurned numerous half chances as Saints survived attack after attack while at the other end, Eric Odhiambo ran Brackley’s only second half chance too wide and the opportunity to seal a precious win was snuffed out before City had Turley’s goal under siege for what was surely a final time.

With 93 minutes on the clock, Saints’ luck ran out as Symons delivered a devastating blow to the visitors’ survival hopes by lashing home after a goalmouth scramble.

There was still time for further City pressure but Saints hung on to claim what could prove to be a crucial point, though it could have been so much more.