Shane Byrne bagged a brace as Brackley Town beat Boston United 3-1 in Tuesday’s Vanarama National League North clash.
A dominant first half performance followed by a battling second half earned a vital away win for Kevin Wilkin’s side at their close rivals.
Saints’ three-man midfield proved too much for the home side as they took a two-goal lead into the break before two halftime substitutions by Boston made for a more even second period.
Saints were on top from the start as Lee Ndlovu and Shane Byrne tested keeper Seb Malkowski, who endured a torrid night. Connor Hall went close with a header before Byrne got the crucial opening goal in the 26th minute direct from a corner as Malkowski failed to gather at the near post.
Saints doubled their lead seven minutes later in strange circumstances as Byrne’s deflected free-kick was struck on to the bar by Hall who had time to follow up and finish neatly for the defender’s third goal in seven games.
James Jones cleared off the line from Ndlovu’s back heel with Malkowski beaten and Hall spurned another good chance at the far post just before the break. Danny Lewis tipped Ashley Jackson’s fierce effort round the post in a warning to Saints in the final action of an excellent 45 minutes for the visitors in which James Armson, Adam Walker and Byrne dictated the game from midfield.
After the restart, Matt Lowe’s fine volley was well saved by Malkowski before Boston pulled a goal back on the hour mark to set up a tantalising second half. Substitute Jordan Slew picked up a loose ball after the referee had played the advantage, homed in on goal and fired past the advancing Lewis.
Saints were up to the challenge however, holding off sustained late pressure from a revitalised Boston. Byrne got his second goal of the night and Saints’ third in stoppage-time, cutting in and finishing smartly into the bottom corner of the net.