FOOTBALL: PROMOTION chasing Brackley Town were restricted to a pair of draws against a determined Leamington side, who continued their impressive league form over the festive period.
Paul Holleran’s men first defeated Tamworth 3-0 two days prior to Christmas before drawing 2-2 away at Brackley on Saturday, which was shortly followed by a 1-1 draw away from home on New Year’s Day.
Player coach Stefan Moore was handed his first start in more than two months after Colby Bishop picked up a season ending injury against Tamworth.
A midday downpour put the match in doubt for a short time, but improving weather and determined efforts from groundstaff saw the game kick-off at its scheduled time.
Saints made the best start as efforts from Glenn Walker and Matt Lowe both went wide of the target while skipper Gareth Dean crashed a dangerous ball across goal that ended up going out for a throw in.
Tony Breeden fielded a hopeful effort from Ellis Myles before holding another strike from Lowe that deflected through to him.
Brakes’ first chance came on 20 minutes when a corner saw Moore try his chance on goal, though his effort was saved.
Just as they had done six days previously, Brakes stunned their opponents by taking the lead just before half time.
Moore was allowed to run unchallenged up the left before cutting inside and firing in a shot that looked to present a routine save for Lewis, only for the ball to squirm under his body and trickle into the net.
Brackley piled on the pressure in a bid to force a swift response, Dean fired wide before Alex Gudger was denied by a good stop from Breeden.
Gudger came close again early in the second half when his headed effort was cleared off the line by Junior English.
Brackley enjoyed more time on the attack in the second half, and their hard work paid off on Clarke was penalised for handball inside the penalty area.
Williams stepped up to send Breeden the wrong way, drilling low into the bottom left hand corner of goal.
Despite a heated ending, the game ended level – Brakes more than happy with the two points they earned against their opponents.
Brackley Town: Danny Lewis, Ellis Myles, Connor Franklin, Shane Byrne, Alex Gudger, Gareth Dean ©, Glenn Walker, James Armson, Andy Brown (14 Lee Ndlovu, 71), Aaron Williams, Matt Lowe.
Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar (16 Liam Canavan, 72), Callum Gittings, Stefan Moore (15 Kurtis Revan, 62), Jack Edwards (14 Joe Magunda, 55), Ahmed Obeng.
Photo: Sally Ellis.