Saints sunk by late goals

Spirited Brackley Town were stung by a late strike as Altrincham claimed a 2-1 win in the first-leg of the Blue Square Bet North play-off semi-final at Moss Lane.

Saints had taken the lead through substitute Jefferson Louis’s superb second half header but Altrincham scored twice in the final 15 minutes to win it. Simon Richman headed Altrincham level before Jake Moult’s stunning volley from the edge of the area sealed the victory.

But it remains all to play for this weekend as Saints head home to St James’ Park and aim to book a play-off final date with either FC Halifax Town or Guiseley.

Saints controlled proceedings in the first half and they almost went ahead when Izak Reid fired a free-kick against the post. Altrincham’s fervent support were crying out for something to cheer and just before the break they hit the woodwork three times in the same move.

Shaun Densmore smashed the bar with a free-kick, Gianluca Haven hit the left post with the rebound and the ball then came out to Duncan Watmore, who hit the right post.

And 13 minutes into the second half, Clee clipped the ball across goal and Damian Reeves’ looped header came back off the bar. But Saints broke the deadlock in the 70th minute, Owen Story sent the ball into the box and Louis planted a fine header into the corner of the net.

Altrincham needed a rapid response and they levelled in the 77th minute, Watmore won the ball well in the Saints area and floated in a fine cross for Richman to head past Billy Turley.

Altrincham continued to threaten and the home side had their winner two minutes into added-time as substitute Moult smashed home an unstoppable volley.

Reaction in this week’s Banbury Guardian.