A late second-half fightback was not enough to prevent Brackley Town from going down to their first defeat of the season on Tuesday when they were beaten 3-2 by Alfreton Town, writes Tim Carroll.
“Mistakes cost us at both ends tonight,” reflected a frustration Kevin Wilkin afterwards.
“Their goals all came from set-plays, they created virtually nothing from open play, but you’ll win few games if you give away three goals as we did.
“We had plenty of good chances to score and you have to take them.”
It was all the more frustrating because the wounds were self-inflicted, Brackley gifting the visitors three goals and spurning scoring opportunities at the other end.
The home side enjoyed the better of the first half, looking the more threatening but rarely creating the clear opening as Alfreton defended robustly.
It was The Reds who had the first real chance after 18 minutes, Craig Westcarr bringing an excellent point-blank save from Laurie Walker in the Brackley goal on his first appearance.
Alfreton captain Dan Bradley put his side in front after 37 minutes with a fine finish firing in a loose ball after Walker had failed to clear.
Saints started the second-half missing two golden chances to level. On 46 minutes Jimmy Armson put Lee Ndlovu through but the striker found only the body of on-rushing keeper Fabian Spiess and three minutes later, Glenn Walker headed wide after excellent work by Ellis Myles.
Catastrophe struck for the home side just before the hour as Westcarr found the net direct from his corner and within minutes the lead was increased still further as Tom Allan was allowed a free header from another Westcarr corner.
Armson got up to convert a 62nd minute penalty for Brackley to reduce the deficit as Wilkin rang the changes and reverted to a more traditional four at the back, introducing young strikers David Moyo and David Pitt.
Adam Walker’s 69th minute cross created the kind of chance Brackley supporters have seen Diggin convert many times before but the striker’s shot flew just wide before Armson headed his second goal of the night from Glenn Walker’s cross with four minutes remaining.
The comeback was not to be however as Alfreton saw out the final minutes to leapfrog Saints in the table, leaving Brackley in 13th place ahead of the visit on Saturday to Stockport County.