Chester  2-3  Brackley Town      22 Feb 2020

Lowe’s late winner so sweet for Saints

Matt Lowe’s 90th minute goal turned in from the most acute of angles won a compelling and fiercely fought contest against 3rd placed Chester.

A large and vocal contingent of away supporters experienced the full gamut of emotions in an all-action game that saw Saints twice go ahead, twice pegged back before sealing the win in dramatic fashion.  It was all the sweeter after conceding so late on Tuesday night against Southport.

“We had a difficult time on Tuesday and so I am especially proud of all the players today,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “Over the past five games we haven’t had the results our performances deserved so I am naturally delighted to bounce back and come here and get the three points today against probably the in-form team.  We came here to try to get the win and the players have shown real courage.  To be knocked back as we were twice today away from home is difficult but we kept going and found that little moment at the end.  Great credit is owed to all the players.”

The strong, swirling wind made life difficult for both sides but it was the visitors who settled more quickly and enjoyed the better of the opening half going in at the break with a deserved lead from Lee Ndlovu’s 34th minute goal.  Matt Lowe’s shot was only pushed out by Chester ‘keeper Russ Griffiths and Ndlovu pounced for his 16th league goal of the season.

Shane Byrne’s low shot struck the post and Chester’s John Johnston could only volley wide when presented with a good opening as both sides pressed for further goals after the interval.  Stand-in centre back Glenn Walker cut out Johnston’s cross conceding a first corner of the game to the home side on the hour.  From the corner kick Chester scrambled an equaliser, James Jones prodding home.  In the goalmouth melee Walker sustained a facial injury and after treatment was taken from the field on a stretcher to be replaced by Thierry Audel.

Within ten minutes Saints were back in front as Audel headed in from Carl Baker’s corner.  But Chester were not done and with five minutes remaining levelled through substitute Danny Livesey, his looping header defeating Danny Lewis.

With the game moving into lengthy added time following Walker’s injury, the draw looked the likely outcome.  But still Saints went forward and Lowe took advantage of a defensive mix-up close to the by-line to somehow squeeze his shot into the goal from the tightest of angles.  Still Saints had time to see out which they did to claim the points and climb into fourth place ahead of further tough away games in midweek at Kettering and next Saturday at Darlington.

“Glenn has broken his nose,” Wilkin added.  “He is a terrific player for us and hopefully he won’t be out for too long.  Thierry came on and got another crucial goal for us.  We were rocked back twice so it was terrific to fight back and to re-take the lead especially off the back of what happened on Tuesday conceding so late.  We had tremendous support from the fans today.  The lads really do appreciate that.”

 

Brackley Town:   Lewis, Myles, Franklin, Byrne, Walker (Audel 63), Dean, Lowe, Murombedzi, Ndlovu, Holman (Armson 78), Baker (Langmead 90+1).    Subs unused: Daire, Maye.

Chester:   Griffiths, K.Roberts, Taylor (Waters 35), Burton (Livesey 76), Jones, Grand, Jackson, Glendon, Asante (Ngwatala 40), Johnston, Dudley.     Subs unused:   G.Roberts, Stopforth.

Referee:   David McNamara              Assistants:  Jake Topp and Darren Brown  

Attendance:    1918