Irwin denies Saints all three points with late penalty

James Armson gave Brackley Town the lead at FC United of Manchester
James Armson gave Brackley Town the lead at FC United of Manchester
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A late penalty from Steve Irwin denied Brackley Town all three Vanarama National League North points at FC United of Manchester.

One of only two games to survive the wintry weather, both teams served up an open and well contested match but created surprisingly few scoring chances in the 1-1 draw.

It wasn’t our strongest performance. They are in good form here and had a big home crowd behind them

Saints manager Kevin Wilkin

The draw moves Saints back into second place in the league table as those at the top all sat out a snowy Saturday.

Missing the services of Glenn Walker and Jack Byrne in addition to Adam Walker, manager Kevin Wilkin reverted to three at the back and presented Steve Diggin with a rare start.

Craig Lindfield’s early free-kick was close and Danny Lewis did well under aerial pressure to push away a cross while Jimmy Armson and Alex Gudger both had shots from distance comfortably saved by United keeper Lloyd Allinson as neither side threatened a goal in the first period.

The second half was played in falling snow but that did not settle although the surface became more slippery. Lindfield brought a good save low down from Lewis before Jimmy Armson put the visitors ahead in the 58th minute, firing in from ten yards after a towering header by Alex Gudger from Shane Byrne’s free-kick.

Roared on by a vocal home crowd, the young United side pushed forward in search of an equaliser. But Town’s defence, marshalled by Gaz Dean, stood firm and it seemed would see out the game for a crucial away victory.

That was until the 85th minute when a break on the left by substitute Joel Logan delivered the cross that was adjudged to have been handled and conceding a penalty. Irwin converted the ensuing spot-kick, placing the ball high beyond Lewis to earn United a deserved point.

Wilkin said: “It wasn’t our strongest performance. They are in good form here and had a big home crowd behind them.

“However it is disappointing not to hold on to a lead and to concede so late. They rarely threatened a goal and we did not create many chances either.”