Brackley Town beat Vanarama National League leaders Salford City 2-1 to end a disappointing run of draws.
First half goals from Aaron Williams, his 22nd in all competitions, and Alex Gudger put Saints in control and it wasn’t until the final minute that the long-time leaders reduced the arrears through Jake Beesley.
It was touch and go whether the game would be played at all at St James Park. But, after a morning pitch inspection, the two sides served up a memorable match despite the difficult conditions with Saints deservedly coming out on top to extend their unbeaten home record.
As Harrogate also won, the gap between Salford and the chasing pack closed.
Saints got off to the perfect start with two early goals as the visitors were slow off the mark. Williams’ glancing header from Adam Walker’s neat chip beat Max Crocombe low down at his post in just the third minute.
Gudger’s firm downward header from Shane Byrne’s cross gave Crocombe no chance to put Saints two goals ahead in the 14th minute as the Ammies looked dazed.
City began to gain a toehold in the game and only a saving header by Gudger denied Nick Haughton’s goal-bound effort on the half hour mark. Despite Salford’s dominance of the closing stages of the first half they could not capitalise.
The second half was an even better affair as Salford pressed for a way back into the contest while Kevin Wilkin’s side were dangerous on the break.
Crocombe saved with his feet from Glenn Walker and three times shots from Jimmy Armson were blocked by fine defending. Tom Walker’s free-kick was scrambled away by the home defenders before a header by Mike Phenix grazed the post as keeper Danny Lewis got a hand to it.
City finally reduced the arrears in the 90th minute when Beesley prodded the ball home after a goalmouth tangle to set up a frantic final six minutes of added-time. While Saints had to endure a few anxious moments there was not to be a second goal as Wilkin’s boys held on for a deserved three points.