Stalemate ends Saints’ slim hopes

Brackley Town Saints keeper Ali Worby kept a clean sheet at Wantage Town
Brackley Town Saints keeper Ali Worby kept a clean sheet at Wantage Town

Brackley Town Saints failed to get the victory to keep their outside UHLSport Helenic League title hopes alive.

Tuesday’s premier division stalemate on a tense evening at Alfredian Park suited neither team. If Wantage were victorious they would be champions and if Saints won, they could still challenge for the title on Easter Monday.

Saints were unchanged from their excellent weekend victory over Brimscombe & Thrupp and almost had the ideal start when James Hammond took advantage of some poor defending and burst into the box, striking a powerful shot across the keeper but his shot rattled back off of the post. Lewis Baldwin then tried his luck from the halfway line, having spotted the keeper off his line but his shot drifted wide.

Saints coped well with Wantage’s direct style but needed Joe Ward to be alert after Ali Worby had needed to rush out of his goal to head clear but only to Nick Thorne. His goal bound attempt was intercepted by Ward’s header with Worby on hand to pounce on the loose ball.

On the half-hour mark Wantage had a penalty appeal waved away after Stephen Robertson went down a too easily under a challenge from Ward.

After the restart both teams created good chances within a minute of each other. Wantage broke rapidly with Robertson flashing a left foot drive past the post before Saints put together a great passing move that saw Charlie Kille break into the box but he could not get his shot away.

Ryan Knight controlled a pass from James Watts, turned and his right foot shot squeezed just past the post. And moments later Knight’s cross deceived everybody including keeper Curtis Meare but the ball skimmed across the bar and out to safety.

Wantage went close when a corner found Chris Jackson whose header was brilliantly saved by Worby.