Brackley Town manager Jon Brady knows the importance of Saturday’s Vanarama Conference North derby with Leamington.
Despite picking up a point a Boston United, Saints slipped down a place in the table and are fourth from bottom while the Brakes are two places better off on goal difference ahead of Saturday’s key clash at St James Park.
Saints’ extraordinary run of five 2-1 score lines - with four defeats and just the solitary win - ended at high flying Boston. Saints took the lead through Sam Whittall before buckling under intense Boston pressure late in the second period and holding out to claim a vital point in their battle to stay out of relegation trouble.
In a game of few clear cut chances Michael Hollingsworth’s header from a Kyle Dixon corner was blocked by Tom Sharpe before Saints’ first real chance resulted in the game’s opening goal. Ebby Nelson-Addy’s 17th minute corner found Whittall and the tall midfielder with time and space to pick his spot with a low header.
Boston were always a threat from set-pieces and three times Saints scrambled the ball away before Zeph Thomas spurned the Pilgrims’ best chance steering his header just wide of Dean Snedker’s left-hand post.
United responded and Mark Jones met Dixon’s corner but the ball hit his shoulder and ballooned behind. Moments later Zeph Thomas slammed an effort wide following a Jones cross.
Second half pressure built on Saints bringing two good saves low down by Snedker before substitute Ryan Rowe’s 70th minute header looped just wide as Saints mounted a rare foray forward and almost doubled the lead. Within four minutes United were level as two substitutes combined. Jamie McGhee lightning break down the left and his cross into the box saw Boston legend Marc Newsham stab the ball home on his fairy tale return to the side after lengthy injury.
A flurry of yellow cards, a last gasp saving tackle by Dwayne Samuels and late corners reflected Saints’ rearguard action as McGhee and Jones went close but they held out to earn a point.