Brackley Town’s hopes of a play-off place were dented on Easter Monday when they were beaten 4-2 by struggling Corby Town.
With other play-off rivals failing to win, this was a perfect chance to pull away from the chasing pack but Saints failed to convince at both ends of the field while struggling Corby performed like the play-off hopefuls.
Both keepers had early work to do as Lewis Webb’s effort was smothered by Billy Turley and Tom Winters’ free kick was turned round the post by Paul Walker before Saints took the lead on 23 minutes.
Jefferson Louis found Winters on the left and the winger beat ex-Cobbler Jason Crowe and crossed for Steve Diggin’s glancing header to be helped over the line by Corby’s Gareth Jelleyman.
Before the half hour was up, Corby were level as Ryan Semple hit a long free-kick that failed to find an attacker’s head but sailed over a stranded Billy Turley into the net for a curious equalising goal.
Sensing Saints’ vulnerability, the Steelmen pressed for the lead and found it through Semple’s stooping header direct from a 41st minute corner, the former Brackley wide-man’s second of the game.
Brackley began the second period more brightly before another bizarre goal compounded by poor defending increased the visitors’ lead on 53 minutes.
Gary King escaped the attentions of two defenders far too easily before finding the far corner of the goal from the narrowest of angles with an extraordinary finish.
Saints responded and on the hour Marvin Robinson fed Winters, whose perfect cross into the danger zone was bundled past Walker by Carl Piergianni for Corby’s second own goal of the day.
At 2-3 the game was on but the fight-back failed to materialise as Saints were unable to build sustained pressure and half-chances went begging before Turley tipped over King’s fiercely struck free-kick and from the resulting corner, Piergianni rose to head home Corby’s fourth to re-establish a two goal lead that they held onto to claim the points.
With games coming thick and fast, Saints will need to leave this defeat and pallid performance behind them ahead of tomorrow’s visit of second-placed Guiseley.
Brackley: Turley, Clifton, Nisevic, Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, Story (Reid 56), Sandy, Louis (Robinson 56), Diggin (Walker 56), Winters.
Subs not used: Nelson-Abby, McDonald.