Saints secure play-off spot after last-gasp victory at rivals

Top scorer Lee Ndlovu put Brackley Town back on level terms at Altrincham
Top scorer Lee Ndlovu put Brackley Town back on level terms at Altrincham

Brackley Town bounced back from their first defeat in eight Vanarama National League North outings to beat play-off rivals Altrincham.

Saints came from behind to win 2-1 in Tuesday’s vital tussle through an added-time own goal from keeper Tony Thompson to remain in third place with Altrincham missing the chance to leap-frog Saints.

The home team took a 38th minute lead through Max Harrop’s deflected free-kick and started the second half well. But Saints fought back, levelling through a well worked goal in the 65th minute. An exchange of passes between Luke Fairlamb and Shep Murombedzi opened up the defence and Lee Ndlovu expertly turned the low cross into the goal.

Omari Sterling-James went close, firing just wide as Saints finished strongly but nobody could have expected the last gasp drama. The game’s extraordinary twist came in the fourth minute of stoppage-time to settle what had been a close contest between two excellent sides.

Pressured by substitute Luke Fairlamb, Thompson missed his clearance and was unable to scramble back to keep the ball from dribbling over the line in the most dramatic of climaxes to leave the home crowd stunned and Saints supporters celebrating.

That goal secured a play-off place for Kevin Wilkin’s team. The results of the remaining three games will determine final positions and the line-up for the play-off finals in May.