David Moyo struck the late winner as Brackley Town shocked leaders Barrow with a 1-0 success in Saturday’s Vanarama Conference North clash.
A determined and spirited Saints performance earned three precious points at St James Park in their battle to stay up.
The game was only one minute old when Eric Odhiambo collected an injury that brought Curtis McDonald into first team action for the first time since September. After Barrow’s strong start, Saints settled giving as good as they got against the leaders.
In an even first half Tom Sharpe’s saving block from top scorer Andy Cook was the closest the visitors came while McDonald’s foraging run and pass almost set up Moyo who could not connect.
The second period was dominated by the visitors but they could not find the breakthrough goal as Saints’ defence stood firm. Sam Whittall deflected Lewis Guy’s effort onto the post, Danny Pilkington’s shot was just wide and three times Saints defenders cleared off the line in a series of goalmouth scrambles as Barrow exerted real pressure.
Cook’s goal-bound volley was blocked by captain Ryan Austin before Saints struck back. A mazy run by Owen Story saw Moyo fire over before he picked up the ball in the 78th minute and, turning away to create space, hit a curling shot from 20 yards that found only the top corner.
The Bluebirds pressed for an equaliser but a resilient Saints’ side held out and after the game manager Jon Brady paid tribute to all of his players.
He said: “To beat the leaders showed a lot of character. We came up trumps today and need to build some momentum from this through belief and hard work.
“David Moyo’s goal was outstanding, he deserved it because his work rate in recent games has been excellent. He has kept believing, working hard and giving everything.”
But Brady reserved his greatest praise for the defence, adding: “The whole defence was excellent today. They threw their bodies on the line.”