Sam Smith earned Brackley Town a point in Saturday’s Vanarama National League North clash at Alfreton Town.
Saints recovered from a poor first period to equalise Ryan Austin’s own goal and take the game to the hosts in an exciting finish but a 1-1 draw was just about right.
After a bright start Saints came under increasing pressure with Andy Thanoj especially threatening. Dan Crane had to save superbly at close range to prevent an own goal from Curtis McDonald before Ryan Wilson hit the bar and Thanoj struck a long range effort just wide.
Alfreton broke the deadlock six minutes before the break when Niall Heaton reached the by-line and his cross was turned in by the retreating Austin.
The changes made at the break made an immediate impact as Saints were suddenly a real threat, with Glenn Walker and Tom Winters firing wide of the mark after the restart. The equaliser arrived in the 67th minute when Stephan Morley’s free-kick was met by Smith who guided his header beyond former Cobblers keeper Matt Duke and inside the post.
The goal breathed further confidence into Saints and Smith was set up by substitute Deon Burton but fired wide when well placed. Saints enjoyed possession and control but could not find the winner, coming closest late on when Burton headed over from Owen Story’s cross after a splendid move.
Saints manager Jon Brady was measured in his assessment: “The system we tried to play demanded that we play the ball more quickly than we did. So we changed things in the second half and as it went on we looked like the only side that was going to win the game.”
Brady also praised veteran striker Burton and keeper Crane, adding: “Deon looks a step ahead of everyone else on the pitch. He is not quite ready to start but his movement is clever and he makes a difference to the players around him.
“Dan has been exceptional in our three games so far, he is such a bright spark around the place and I’m delighted to have him on board.”