Saints thwarted by the basement boys in the gloom
Brackley Town dropped two vital Vanarama National League North points in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with basement boys Altrincham.
A mid-day inspection passed the St James Park pitch playable, a tribute to the groundsman as games all around were frozen off. But fog threatened the kick-off and, as it descended in the second half, made a farce of the re-arranged fixture.
And Saints boss Kevin Wilkin may have wished it had not gone ahead. His side conceded an early goal through a defensive mix-up, missed a penalty and numerous chances, had Adam Walker limp off with injury and saw captain Gareth Dean sent off in the final minute on an evening to forget as Altrincham claimed a rare point.
Laurie Walker’s punched clearance found only Nicky Clee whose neat chip found the net to give the Robins a sixth minute lead. Steve Diggin spurned an early chance to draw level before Adam Walker was fouled in the box to earn a 21st minute penalty but Jimmy Armson’s spot-kick hit the bar.
Adam Walker, who had fallen heavily, departed bringing Matt Lowe into the fray and Luke Graham received a yellow card for a foul when a red card might have been given as he was the last defender.
But Saints created chances at will, so open was the game, and they found the equaliser in the 25th minute when Armson headed in Glenn Walker’s cross. Saints created a battery of further chances, none of which were converted.
As the second half got underway the fog crept in, blanketing St James Park. Sam Heathcote’s injury brought a lengthy stoppage by which time it had become difficult for spectators to distinguish players in red and black from those in all yellow so thick was the fog.
With nobody too sure of quite what was taking place on the pitch, Saints pressed for the winner with David Moyo the prime threat on the right. Lee Ndlovu turned and shot but Tim Deasey saved well before Saints won a succession of late corners but they could not quite produce the breakthrough.
And in the last minute of added-time a rare Altrincham attack brought a free-kick when substitute Tomi Adeloye was brought down by Dean. The Saints skipper received a second yellow card and his marching orders to cap a thoroughly miserable night for Saints.