FOOTBALL: Brackley Town go into a busy Easter schedule aiming to bounce back after losing 1-0 at fellow promotion-chasing Stourbridge.
The league leaders tackle this Saturday’s home encounter against third-to-bottom Hemel Hempstead Town four points clear of the chasing pack.
Oxford City, who moved into second spot with a win last Saturday, have a game in hand and host Saints on Saturday April 21.
After the Hemel game, Brackley travel to Banbury United on Easter Monday.
Against Stourbridge, Brackley were without on-loan Eddie Nivesic, the defender being recalled suddenly to Nuneaton last Thursday for the rest of the campaign, while Josh Green was injured, which meant a re-shuffle by boss Jon Brady.
The key moment in the game came at the start of the second half as defensive indecision under pressure from striker Marcus Palmer saw the ball in the net for an own goal. Saints matched Stourbridge all of the way and created sufficient chances towards the end of the game to have secured the point they deserved.
In a tight first half the Glassboys saw an early chance cleared off the line by right-back James Clifton before Steve Diggin for Brackley struck a lob over keeper Lewis Solly that fell just wide. On 25 minutes Glen Walker was thwarted in the penalty area when well set and Owen Story’s effort from 20 yards was clawed away by Solly conceding a corner.
The goal on 48 minutes spurred the home side on creating two good chances as Palmer shot wide before Saints’ Billy Turley raced out to smother Leon Broadhurst’s shot just minutes later.
Tom Kemp and Steve Diggin limped off, the latter suffering a groin injury which could see him sidelined for the rest of the season. Saints re-grouped looking for the equalising goal. Glen Walker’s overhead kick was deflected away for a corner from which the ball was fired in on three occasions with the Stourbridge defence holding out manfully. As the final whistle approached Brackley created two fine chances to salvage a point as substitutes Marvin Robinson and Will Green both went agonisingly close. Robinson turned his shot around the post and Green’s lob clipped the bar deep into added time.
Stourbridge finished this pulsating contest with ten men, Paul McClone being sent off for two yellow cards..
Brackley Town: Turley, Clifton, Jasczun (W.Green 83), Palmer, Mulligan, Kemp (Magunda 67), Story, Solkhon, Diggin (Robinson 66), Sandy, G. Walker.
Stourbridge: Solly, Rock (Canavan 18), Oliver, McCone, Geddes, Bennett, Smith, Broadhurst, Palmer, Billingham, Evans (Griffiths 83).