Saints rue poor finishing

MHBG..Brackley Town'Brackley Town 2011/12 season''Pictured - Brackley Town manager Jon Brady'
MHBG..Brackley Town'Brackley Town 2011/12 season''Pictured - Brackley Town manager Jon Brady'

BRACKLEY Town and Oxford City produced a highly-entertaining goalless draw on Boxing Day to extend Saints’ winless run to four games.

In driving rain on a sodden pitch, it was a glittering spectacle as fans were treated to an exhilarating display by the home side in an ultimately futile pursuit of victory as City escaped with a precious point.

The best chances before the break came Brackley’s way as Gary Mulligan’s header was clawed away at point blank range on 25 minutes and Tom Winters’ free-kick was curled over the defensive wall but onto the post.

Winters’ pace tore through City and late corners put the away defenders under pressure at the interval. Andy Ballard’s long throw on 35 minutes was the only hint of danger for Saints.

Saints came out from the break firing – winning corners in quick succession to launch a tally of 13 second half corner kicks in total.

Eddie Nisevic and Winters combined on the left to torment full-back Jack Mills and there was a threat to the Oxford goal from every quarter.

On 48 minutes, Brett Solkhon’s close range effort was somehow cleared before Winters beat substitute Ashan Holgate on the touch-line firing in a superb cross that caused panic in the penalty area.

Mulligan’s header was tipped over by an alert Matt Ingram, Glenn Walker’s shot was deflected for a corner and Winters’ acrobatic effort was again well saved.

The introduction of Elliot Sandy and Steve Diggin on 70 minutes only increased the pressure as Walker and Odhiambo combined in a wonderfully fluid movement and moments later a breath-taking run on the left by Winters found Diggin storming through the middle but he shot over.

With time running out, a penalty shout for hand-ball was waved away, Winters’ shot flashed just inches wide, Ryan Austin headed onto the bar and Sandy shot over in added time.

It was a superb performance from Town, full of verve and energy but a lack of a clinical edge meant they fall 18 points behind leaders Chester.

Brackley Town: L Walker, Clifton, McDonald, Odhiamdo, Austin, Nisevic, Story (Sandy 70), Solkhon, Mulligan (Diggin 70), Winters, G Walker.

Attendance: 476