Brackley Town gave their Conference North survival chances a huge boost at the weekend when they recorded back-to-back wins for just the third time this season with an invaluable 2-1 victory over bottom side Hyde.
Despite last weekend’s shock win over leaders Barrow, Saints were still in the bottom three and on the brink of relegation, but Saturday’s win takes them above Colwyn Bay and into safety with just one game remaining.
It now sets up a season-defining showdown against Hednesford Town at St James Park this Saturday. A win would guarantee Saints’ survival but anything else will open the door for Colwyn Bay, who take on Worcester on the same day.
Brackley were ahead inside 10 minutes against already relegated Hyde thanks to a fine sweeping move that was started by a driving run from Curtis McDonald. David Moyo then switched the play to find Owen Story on the right and his deep cross was headed powerfully past keeper Ed Wilczynski by Stuart Pierpoint, taking full advantage of poor marking.
Undeterred by the setback, Hyde persisted with their game of passing and possession and on 24 minutes Ryan Masterson found the equaliser after the speedy Connor Hughes had dazzled on the right to conjure a cross that Saints failed to clear.
Pierpoint fired over after an excellent run by Eddie Odhiambo as Brackley sought to regain the lead and seven minutes before the break, as Sam Whittall’s header came back off the post, Moyo was on hand to prod the ball over the line in a goalmouth tangle of bodies.
Saints successfully navigated a period of defensive duties to reach the break with the narrow lead intact and immediately after the break came close twice to extending the lead.
First Moyo’s fierce shot was well saved low down by Wilczynski before Frank Sinclair’s sweetly-struck volley bought a flying save from the keeper.
Both sides searched for the next goal and Hyde came to dominate possession the longer the half wore on. However, neat build-up play and lengthy possession did not translate into clear-cut chances on goal and Brackley held on to clinch three priceless points, made all the more valuable as news of Colwyn Bay’s defeat came through and Saints moved out of the relegation places.
Brackley: Snedker, Pierpoint (Rowe 80), Fitzsimons, Eddie Odhiambo, Sinclair, Austin, Story, Whittall, Moyo (Green 80), Kaziboni, McDonald. Subs not used: Hammond, Carruthers, Farrell.
Hyde: Wilczynski, Riley, Burke, Brizell, Ng, Giverin (Sousa 58), Hibbs, Pearson (Thurston 75), Boyle, Masterson, Hughes. Subs not used: Pritchard, Broadbent, Gregory.
Referee: Gareth Mellor