Tom Brindley’s second half penalty was enough to earn league leaders Hale Leys United a hard-fought 3-2 victory over a spirited Mursley United side on Saturday.
Hale made the trip to Mursley with a depleted squad as Daniel Parsons, Kevin Mealor, Riccardo Whittle and Mark Tattam all missed out, however the visitors started brightly and took the lead inside 10 minutes through captain Steven Garbutt, who finished well from a Unas Ilyas corner.
The home side struck back six minutes later, but Leys quickly restored their advantage when Sean Coles latched onto a long ball and steered home, only for Mursley to again hit back and leave the game intriguingly poised at 2-2 going into half-time.
Looking to protect their unbeaten record, Hale had to withstand some early Mursley pressure in the second half and they were twice indebted to Tom Brindley, who cleared off the line on two separate occasions following a series of corners from the home side.
The game was in the balance and could have gone either way, but in the 72nd minute, Nathan Graham was brought down in the penalty area, leaving Brindley to step up and convert the resulting spot-kick for what proved to be the winner, although Mursley almost snatched a draw.
Afterwards, Hale manager Paul Alleyne said: “It was a tough game as Mursley put up a strong performance and did test us, but we got the job done.
“We had a few players missing but when called on, the boys dug deep and grafted.”
Hale Leys entertain New Bradwell St Peter this weekend when they will be targeting a 20th win of the season in South Midlands League Division Two. The match kicks-off at 2pm on Saturday at the Fairford Leys ground.
Alleyne added: “We have a massive game this week at home to New Bradwell, who we still have to play twice in the league.
“I think we should have a few players returning so we should have more options this week, and we shall have a hard training session to prepare.”