Wilkin sees Saints come up short as poor run continues

Brackley Town's Shane Byrne saw red at Tamworth
Brackley Town's Shane Byrne saw red at Tamworth

Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin will be looking for a positive response from his side at Alfreton Town on Tuesday.

Saints’ first competitive match on an artificial surface ended in a 2-1 defeat in Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash at Tamworth. The game was marred by two red cards following an ugly second half incident as Saints’ poor run of form continued, they have now gone five league games without a win.

We dominated the first half but if you don’t stick away good chances you come to pay the price

Saints boss Kevin Wilkin

The home side started strongly and were ahead after only five minutes when Steph Morley’s cross was expertly despatched by Tamworth captain Paul Green.

But Saints settled and were the better team in a first half of few chances, the better of them for the visitors and twice Jimmy Armson went close. On the half hour a brilliant move took the ball from right to left from where Glenn Walker crossed only for Armson to shoot just over when well placed.

Just before the interval as Saints enjoyed a good spell of pressure, keeper Jezeph could only half clear from a corner but Armson’s fierce shot was blocked.

Tamworth again came out brightly after the break and pegged Saints back. Laurie Walker beat away Danny Newton’s effort before Green did not make the most of a free header from a corner.

Then, as in the first half, Saints asserted themselves and looked the likelier to score next. Adam Walker shot just over and Armson, cutting in from the right, brought a fine save from Jezeph.

The 74th minute was the game-defining moment as Saints fell further behind. Self-inflicted, conceding possession, Ellis Deeney seized the opportunity and, switching play, found Reece Styche who struck a sweet volley to double the lead.

Shane Byrne’s 78th minute foul brought a mass reaction from home players as tempers flared. The referee had no option but to send off Styche for violent misconduct while Byrne’s straight red card seemed unjustified.

Substitute Jack Bowen grabbed a goal in added-time, poking home a loose ball in a goalmouth scramble for his first league goal. But, in the final analysis, Tamworth’s emphatic finishing was the difference on the day.

Wilkin said: “The result is obviously disappointing. We dominated the first half but if you don’t stick away good chances you come to pay the price. Both their goals were good strikes but overall we did not work their keeper enough and we were not clinical enough.”