Rueful Saints punished by Oxford

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BRACKLEY Town’s barren run was extended to five games on New Year’s Day after two late Oxford City goals and a Steve Diggin missed penalty saw them beaten 2-1.

Saints controlled much of the encounter and appeared to be heading for victory when Tom Winters gave the visitors the lead 17 minutes from full time.

But Oxford struck twice within 10 minutes to turn the match around before Diggin saw a penalty saved by Matt Ingram in the closing minutes to send Brackley down to their fourth defeat of the season.

In a tight first 45 minutes, Saints created the clearer chances but Oxford finished the half strongly.

After the break, Brackley found more space and, with wide-man Winters in full flow on both flanks, it seemed a goal would come to break the deadlock.

Winters’ low pile-driver on 50 minutes was just wide of the mark and on the hour he reached the goal-line, hooked the ball into the danger zone at full stretch but Elliot Sandy could not apply the finishing touch.

Pressure mounted on Ingram’s goal as Winters’ well struck free-kick thundered back off the cross-bar before substitute Steve Diggin pressured Ingram into a sliced clearance from which City’s Declan Benjamin was forced to head behind for a corner.

The hard fought break-through for Saints came at last on 73 minutes. With a perfectly weighted first-time pass, Eddie Odhiambo found Winters lurking on the right and the talismanic winger cut inside before he danced inside the full-back and into the penalty area to fire a low, venomous shot that gave Ingram no chance.

Within minutes of the goal, Brett Solkhon found himself unmarked five yards out but the header from Winters’ corner was powered over as Brackley spurned the chance to double the lead and seal the win.

What happened next will continue to haunt Saints as two moments of defensive frailty were punished by Barcelos (78 minutes) and then Ballard (80 minutes).

The arrival of Marvin Robinson added a further goal threat to City and on 86 minutes the tall striker was felled by right-back Jack Mills leaving referee Steve Daly in no doubt as to the award of a spot-kick. Diggin stepped up but saw his shot saved by Ingram who guessed right.

Despite the addition of five minutes extra play, Saints could not find the equaliser on a sorry afternoon of harsh footballing lessons and a bitter start to the New Year.

Brackley: L.Walker, Clifton, McDonald, Odhiamdo, Austin, Nisevic (Robinson 85), Story (Diggin 63), Solkhon, Mulligan, Sandy, Winters.

Subs not used: Corcoran, Sharpe, Green.

Oxford City: Ingram, Mills, Stonehouse, Ballard, Learoyd, Willmott, Janes, Pond, Holgate (Basham 68), Benjamin (Mulvany 78), Barcelos.

Subs not used: Gunn, Stanley.

Referee: Steve Daly

Attendance: 342