HARRIERS were left to rue the cost of missed chances as they were beaten 2-0 by a clinical Brackley Town in National League North.

Manager Jimmy Shan was at least able to name an unchanged side for this game; Ethan Freemantle able to shake off a knock picked up against Hereford to keep his place in the starting eleven. There was still no return for Ashley Chambers up top, he continued to struggle with a hamstring injury.

Harriers were bright from the off at St James’ Park and set about the hosts. Shenton, boosted by his two goals on Boxing Day, was full of confidence and he twice forced good saves from Lewis, the latter of which on 23 minutes, saw him denied by a good low stop, with Freemantle denied on the follow-up.

In between that Williams had gone close with a foray forward, he took aim from fully 20 yards with an effort that looked set for the top corner before cannoning off the bar and away.

Past the half-hour mark, Harriers continued to create the greater share of chances. Freemantle continued to make a pest of himself, and on two occasions was thwarted at the last as he looked to finish at close range, Brackley blocking shots in the six-yard area.

To say the start to the second half was a nightmare for Harriers would be an understatement; within minutes they’d lost Shenton to injury, and gone a goal down as Audel slotted home from inside the area after a corner wasn’t cleared.

The response to the goal was good; both Butterfield and Austin hit powerful strikes that needed Lewis to tip over with strong hands, but there was another big set-back at the hour when Rhys Williams was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Armson.

Prosser and Davidson fired way off target in an attempt to draw Harriers level as the second half wore on – another more clear-cut chance arriving inside the final ten minutes when Johnson planted a header from a free kick right at Lewis.

The game was up with four to go, Harriers hit on the break and unable to clear the ball as Ndlovu was left alone to tidy a loose ball into the net.

HARRIERS: Mannion, Austin, Davidson, Moyo, Johnson, R. Williams, Prosser, Butterfield, Shenton (E. Williams 50), Freemantle (Peniket 67), Hemmings.

Subs not used: Palmer, Scott, Higginson Referee: Daniel Locker Attendance: 775