Saints see off strugglers to close gap on the play-offs
Despite missing a third penalty in four outings, Brackley Town picked up three valuable Vanarama National League North points.
Saints beat lowly Ashton United 3-1 at St James Park on Saturday. The result narrows the gap for Saints to the play-off places but continues Ashton’s poor record on the road and their position in the bottom three.
Saints were comfortable winners in a game that never hit the heights. The visitors struggled to pose a goal threat and were forced to re-organise with the enforced departure of centre-back and captain Matt Regan after just 15 minutes.
An early chance was created by Shane Byrne’s fine long pass picking out Matt Lowe but his shot flew across the face of goal.
The first goal was not long in coming however as Saints went ahead in the 21st minute through Shaun Jeffers, who converted a penalty conceded when Scott Kay fouled Shep Murombedzi. Captain Gaz Dean doubled the lead just before halftime with a spectacular strike from 25 yards to more or less settle the outcome.
In the second half, Saints increased the lead through Lowe who struck his shot beautifully into the top corner after 56 minutes. Saints should have gone on to win by more but spurned chance after chance, Josh Ollerenshaw saving well on at least three occasions.
Byrne’s free-kick was firmly struck and well saved, Jeffers missed the target with a second penalty kick, Jimmy Armson’s header found only keeper Ollerenshaw from close range who then thwarted substitute Liam McAlinden when he was put through on goal. James Jones pulled a goal back in stoppage-time for the visitors.