Pablo Mills bagged a brace as Brackley Town recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead to beat Gainsborough Trinity 3-2 in Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash.
Saints raced into a 2-0 lead at St James Park with goals in each half from Mills and new boy James Akintunde before Richard Batchelor was dismissed and Trinity got back on level terms. But Mills popped up to grab the winner and earn three welcome points for Saints.
Manager Kevin Wilkin bolstered his squad with Kidderminster Harriers midfielder Joe Clarke and Cambridge United striker Akintunde. Both went straight into the starting line-up and played a part in all three goals for Saints, Akintunde marking his debut by getting on the scoresheet while Clarke set up both goals for Mills.
It was the visitors who started the brighter. Nathan Jarman headed over from a Jamie Yates’ free-kick and Mark Newsham did likewise moments later.
Akintunde should have done better from Glenn Walker’s inswinging corner which evaded him in the six-yard box before Simon Russell headed wide from Josh Lacey’s cross as Trinity created the better chances.
But Saints broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when Clarke’s free-kick struck a defender and the ball fell kindly for Mills to beat Jan Budz from ten yards.
Boosted by the breakthrough, Saints upped their game and Steve Diggin received a pass from Glenn Walker, turned his marker but saw his shot come back off the upright.
Newsham went close with a shot on the turn after the restart but Saints doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half. Akintunde cut in from the left flank and his deflected shot from the edge of the box looped over the stranded Budz and nestled in the roof of the net.
Jarman fired over before Trinity reduced the arrears in the 58th minute and it proved to be a double blow for Saints. Lacey’s inswinging corner was handled into his own net by Batchelor and before Saints had kicked off the midfielder was sent off for picking up his second caution.
Batchelor’s exit left Saints with plenty to do to protect their slender advantage. Akintunde went close to restoring Saints’ two-goal cushion when he beat Budz with a low drive but the ball hit the upright and ended up back in the keeper’s arms.
And Trinity drew level in the 69th minute when Jarman found Newsham in the box after Mills misjudged the bounce of the ball and he tucked it past Dan Crane from ten yards.
But Saints got their noses back in front six minutes later when Clarke’s free-kick eluded everyone in the box except for the unmarked Mills who side-footed the ball home from 15 yards.
Trinity pressed for another equaliser in the closing stages but Saints held firm to preserve all three precious points.