Despite a spirited comeback, Brackley Town Saints came away from high-flying Wantage Town without anything to show for their efforts.
Saints lost 3-2 in Saturday’s UHLSport Hellenic League clash but made a fight of it after they found themselves 3-0 down with less than an hour played.
Three individual errors gifted Wantage their three goals in the premier division contest, a trip in the box led to a penalty before two surrenders of possession in front of goal gave Saints a mountain to climb.
But they can take heart from the effort they put in after Ryan Knight and Lewis Baldwin clawed a couple of goals back and, with a little more time, maybe they would have claimed something from the game.
Saints had the first chance when a flick-on sent Josh Bowden away, the leading scorer beat Curtis Meare but pulled his effort wide of the target.
Jim Glover was denied by Saints keeper Dan Farrell and Jon Davoile was off target from Nick Thorne’s cross while in between Matt Johnson found Bowden who fired over.
Wantage broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Jack Dunmall went down under a challenge and Ryan Markham converted the ensuing spot-kick. Thorne crossed for Markham who could only fire over but the home side doubled their advantage two minutes before the interval. Saints lost possession, Glover was thwarted by Farrell but the prolific Steve Robertson netted from the rebound for his 37th goal of the season.
Just seven minutes after the interval a Saints defender was robbed by Glover who took the ball on before rounding Farrell and firing home. Saints kept plugging away and were rewarded just before the hour mark when Knight raced clear and beat the advancing Meare. Saints should have had a second goal when Meare hesitated on a back pass under pressure from Johnson who then fired over with the goal at his mercy.
Glover’s fierce drive was pushed away by Farrell but with six minutes left Saints pulled another goal back when Baldwin’s free-kick beat Meare despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball after it took a wicked bounce.
Robertson saw his effort tipped over by Farrell and from the ensuing corner substitute Paul Alder saw his header saved by the Saints keeper Farrell at point blank range.
Saints threw everything into the final moments to tey and get the equaliser but Wantage held on to take three crucial points.