Brackley Town were unable to maintain their recent promising form when they were beaten 2-0 at home by high-flying AFC Fylde on Saturday.
A one-sided first half saw the visitors take an early lead from Danny Rowe’s 20 yard strike before Danny Lloyd McGoldrick doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Brackley made a contest of it in the second half but neither side could find another goal as Jon Brady’s side dropped to 16th in the Conference North, five points clear of relegation.
Fylde tested Billy Turley twice in the first moments of the game before the opening goal arrived on 11 minutes. Rowe was the scorer, the striker turning in too much space and firing a wonderful shot that flew into the net to give Turley no chance.
It characterised a lacklustre opening half hour from Brackley as the home side afforded the visitors easy possession with Saints’ sole chance of a sluggish first half coming when Ryan Rowe shot narrowly wide on 35 minutes.
It came as no surprise when, in added time, man of the match Lloyd-McGoldrick finished clinically for Fylde’s second goal after Brackley’s defence was exposed.
The Coasters created few further chances in the second period although Lloyd-McGoldrick brought a fine save from Turley in the dying minutes after a weaving run, and he saw another effort deflected over in added time.
Before that, Saints had enjoyed a period of better possession and threatened to halve the deficit with efforts from David Moyo and Michael Built.
At the whistle, however, there was no denying it was a deserved win for Fylde, who stay second and firmly in the promotion mix, while Saints remain in a relegation battle.
Brackley now face a crucial game away at fellow strugglers Gloucester City on Boxing Day before they host Leamington at St James Park on Sunday.
Brackley Town: Turley, Samuels, Carruthers, Eddie Odhiambo, Sharpe, Austin, Eric Odhiambo (Waldon 62), Whittall (Built 56), Rowe, Green (Kaziboni 30), Moyo.
Referee: Anthony Tankard