The Evo-Stik League Southern Premier News
Brackley Town duly became Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division champions following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at title rivals Oxford City.
Mike Ford’s City had to win all their remaining games, including Saturday’s, to pip Jon Brady’s side but Saints made sure they secured the vital point to become champions.
Former Brackley player Steve Basham gave the home side the perfect start with a goal after only 3 minutes. But Owen Story put the visitors back on level terms 10 minutes later and that’s how it stayed for the next 80 minutes.
The Saints will now be able to celebrate winning the title in style when they entertain St Albans City in Saturday’s final game at St James`s Park.
Chesham United moved back into second place with two goals in the opening half-hour from Dave Potton and Chris Watters giving them a 2-0 home win against Frome Town.
AFC Totton, despite taking the lead after 25 minutes through Jon Davies, lost 2-1 at Stourbridge, for whom Paul McCone in first half stoppage time and Marcus Palmer 8 minutes into the second half, were on target.
Totton, Cambridge City, Oxford and Stourbridge are all poised on seventy-one points, two behind Chesham.
Cambridge suffered two blows to their play-off hopes on Saturday. Not only does the loss to relegation-haunted Evesham United leave it incredibly tight in the play-off zone, but City had key defender, Dave Theobald sent-off late on and he will probably miss the play-offs, should City get there.
With a depleted side, City struggled to get their game going and Evesham had the better of things, hitting the post before City went in front from a Craig Hammond penalty after 36 minutes against the run of play.
Evesham levelled almost immediately, Wayne Daniel heading home from a free-kick – and things didn't improve in the second half for City, who barely created a chance and the home side eventually went in front 20 minutes from time through Roland Agbor.
City couldn't respond and are now left needing to win at home to Swindon Supermarine next Saturday.
However, the win leaves Evesham still with an outside chance of avoiding relegation.
Ricky Johnson grabbed the all-important equaliser as Banbury Unted took a massive step towards securing their status.
United drew 1-1 with Leamington in the derby at Spencer Stadium, where Ady Fuller’s side came from behind to earn the valuable point which should keep them in the Premier Division.
In a largely forgettable first half, Lee Steele gave Leamington the interval lead, pouncing on a defensive error in the 38th minute. But United produced a much better second half and deservedly drew level in the 54th minute when Johnson headed home Ben Polk’s in-swinging corner.
Both sides went for it late on, Steele was denied by Joe Coleman’s block while Lee Chilton missed a sitter at the far post and also saw Andy Kemp turn away another effort.
At the other end, the impressive Johnson shot wide and Josh Blake saw his effort saved by Nathan Vaughan.
Chippenham Town won for only the second time in the league since the turn of the year as Ross Stearn and Alan Griffin both scored twice at Clarence Park against St Albans City.
The Bluebirds claimed an away win for the first time since Boxing Day and ended a run of a dozen matches without a victory in Hertfordshire.
Stearn got Adie Mings' men off to a flying start after just 2 minutes but the sides were soon on level terms as Chris Henry replied for the hosts, who themselves were on a twelve-match unbeaten run.
Griffin restored Town's lead after a quarter of an hour and Stearn's second of the match made it 3-1 right on the stroke of half-time. Midway through the second half, Griffin scored for the second time to confirm Chippenham's triumph - the only team to do the double over St Albans this season.
Barwell scored a goal in each half from Robbie Burns and Jamie Towers to win 2-0 at Swindon Supermarine to almost certainly condemn their hosts to relegation.
Bedford Town's last home game of the season ended all-square after battling back from a half time 2-0 deficit against Bashley.
James Hatch on 66 minutes and Graham Clark 2 minutes from time scored for the Eagles after Mark Gamble and Jamie Stokoe had given Bash their two-goal advantage by the half-hour mark.
Mark Ford came off the bench and inspired a second-half comeback as Weymouth secured their Premier Division survival.
When Luke Gregson put Hitchin Town ahead just after the break it looked like Weymouth were heading for a third straight defeat but a goalline clearance from Rhys Baggridge and the introduction of Ford soon turned the tables.
The young striker won a penalty on 68 minutes, which Craig Duff converted, before going on to grab the winner just 3 minutes later.
Redditch United also reached safety when three second half goals from Stuart Hendrie and a brace from his more famous brother Lee gave them a 3-0 win at Arlesey Town, leaving their hosts still in danger just one place above the drop zone.
Hemel Hempstead Town gave themselves a chance of surviving as they defeated already-relegated Cirencester Town 4-1 at Vauxhall Road.
Any nerves that the home side had coming into the game were soon brushed to one side in the 5th minute as they took the lead. Dave Deeney crossed the ball into the area to Dave Pearce who volleyed over Centurions keeper Charles Steward and into the net.
In similar fashion, the lead was doubled in the 24th minute as Matt McEntegart flicked home Danny May’s delivery from the right.
The goals continued to flow for the home side and a third came in the 33rd minute. Deeney’s through ball over the defence found Ryan Blake and the winger superbly finished over Steward.
The visiting side pulled one back before the break with a Scott Griffin penalty after Bill Morgan brought down Nathan Davies.
But in the first minute of the second half, the home side managed to score a fourth goal in a game for the first time in the league this season as Ross Lafayette fired home into the roof of the net after being played in by Pearce.
Hemel still need to win their remaining two games and hope that Banbury or Arlesey lose their final match.