Audel earns Saints a point against high-flying Chester
Brackley Town had to settle for a solitary Vanarama National League North point against Chester.
Bradley Jackson gave second-placed Chester the early lead in Saturday's 1-1 draw at St James Park where Thierry Audel's fifth goal of the season earned a point.
Ellis Myles hit a scorcher from fully 30 yards which went just wide but it was Chester who made the perfect start with a goal in the ninth minute. Jackson turned well on the edge of the box before curling the ball past Danny Lewis into the far corner of the net.
Saints got back on level terms in the 20th minute when Shane Byrne's free-kick wasn't dealt with, Audel's first effort was blocked but the central defender found the bottom corner of the net from the rebound.
Saints twice went close through Matt Lowe, following a quick break, and Byrne, whose low drive whistled past the far post. Saints began to make inroads and went close again when Lee Ndlovu set up Jimmy Armson who twisted and turned in the box before getting his shot away but Russ Griffiths saved well.
Apart from the goal, Chester didn't really create any openings and Saints were untroubled for the remainder of the first half. Saints went close again just before the break when Ndlovu took advantage of a slip by Gary Roberts to race into the box but his low effort from a tight angle went just past the far post.
After the restart, Byrne drove a free-kick into the wall before Myles exchanged passes with Lowe in the box but Griffiths produced another excellent save. Lowe combined with Byrne and Armson before he was thwarted in the box as Saints picked up from where they left off.
Armson's cross just evaded Ndlovu at the far post while in between George Waring's low drive was comfortably saved by Lewis after Anthony Dudley created the opening. Waring just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross from Jackson but Chester's chances were few and far between.
As the second half progressed Saints found it more difficult to open up the Chester defence, running out of ideas in the final third, and a draw looked the likely outcome.
Saints went for the late winner. Fom Byrne's corner, Griffiths struggled to deal with Gaz Dean's header and Lowe's follow-up was blocked by Kevin Roberts. Chester failed to clear the danger, with Ndlovu and Lowe both denied in quick succession by last-gasp blocks in the six-yard box.