Brackley Town had to be content with a solitary Vanarama National League North point in Saturday's stalemate with Guiseley.
Saints enjoyed the better of things from the start but were unable to break through a determined Guiseley defence in a game that will have won few plaudits from the purists. Saints dropped points for the second time in the week, failing to find the net in successive games.
The loss of top scorer Lee Ndlovu in the first half did not help Saints' cause in trying to find the breakthrough, much to the frustration of manager Kevin Wilkin.
“We had lots of corners and moments in and around their box but we haven’t worked their goalkeeper as much as we would have liked so it was frustrating for us today,” Wilkin said.
“They have come here and, fair play to them, they have made life difficult for us. We huffed and puffed a bit today and that little bit of guile in crucial areas perhaps was missing. From an effort level we put a lot in but it didn’t happen for us today.”
The visitors picked up three yellow cards in the first half of what was at times a physical battle with some uncompromising challenges. Leading marksman Ndlovu departed early with injury after a heavy tackle bringing the introduction of Tendai Daire.
While Saints enjoyed good possession and were largely untroubled, clear-cut goal chances were at a premium. The best opportunities for Saints came from Shane Byrne’s deflected first half free-kick pushed to safety by keeper Marcus Dewhurst and Byrne’s probing run in the second half, turning inside onto his right-foot and shooting to bring Dewhurst into action again but substitute Daire was unable to follow up with the finish from close range.
Jimmy Armson’s overhead kick was comfortably gathered by Dewhurst while Carl Baker’s dangerous crosses were a threat that were dealt with well by the defenders.
Guiseley rarely threatened but Lee Shaw brought a save at full stretch from Danny Lewis late on. The Lions’ top scorer Aaron Martin took an early bath following a second yellow card after 82 minutes but ten man Guiseley held on.
“Brackley are a good gauge for us, “Guiseley manager Marcus Bignot said.
“We’ve had two close games with them this season so we can see we are going in the right direction. Brackley will be there or thereabouts around the top places so it is a good gauge for our young team.
"We had to stand up to lots of corners today, especially first half, and we can be happy with the point. We are coming into the business end of the season now and we might look back and see this as a massive point."