Brackley Town slipped to second from bottom in the Vanarama National League North table following a 1-0 defeat at improving Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday.
Park Avenue extended their impressive unbeaten run to swap places with Saints thanks to a solitary second half goal from Luke Dean.
Saints started brightly but the pattern of the game was quickly established and they had to defend resolutely while being unable to provide a goal threat. The corner count of 13-1 told the story as Saints were under the cosh for long spells and struggled to get service to the front men.
Had the home team been more clinical in front of goal the game would have been over long before the final whistle. As it was, Saints had late chances to pinch a point but could not capitalise on them.
The game’s solitary goal came from Dean in the 58th minute, Park Avenue’s best player neatly created space for himself before finishing smartly to give the home side a deserved lead. Moments later the ball was somehow gifted to lively winger Jason St Juste who was only thwarted by brave keeping from Dan Crane, the keeper smothering the ball at the striker’s feet and sustaining a nasty gash to the head requiring treatment.
Chib Chilaka battled throughout for Park Avenue to give the the Saints defence a tough afternoon but could not add to his recent goal glut while Oxford United’s on-loan full-back Aidan Hawtin performed well in marshalling the lightning quick St Juste.
In midfield, the eager Glenn Walker covered the ground always making himself available but found it hard going against determined opponents. Substitute Richard Batchelor’s header struck the post while Ryan Austin and Sam Smith had chances but Park Avenue were full value for the three points.