Doolan sends Puritans slipping to second successive defeat

Zac McEachran was in top form on Tuesday but could not save Banbury United from defeat
Zac McEachran was in top form on Tuesday but could not save Banbury United from defeat

Sam Doolan grabbed the only goal of the game to send Banbury United slipping to a second successive Evo-Stik Southern League defeat.

Dunstable Town completed the double over the Puritans with a 1-0 victory in Tuesday’s premier division clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

The game could have gone either way and United will feel hard done by in not getting anything from the contest. But they are lacking a cutting edge in attack and failed to score for the second game running despite the creativity of the outstanding Zac McEachran.

United started brightly, Ricky Johnson was unable to steer his header towards goal and McEachran had a goalbound effort blocked after being picked out by Jack Self.

But Dunstable gradually got into the game and Danny Talbot fired just wide from the edge of the box following a corner.

The first half developed into an even affair with both sides looking to make the breakthrough. But chances were at a premium with neither keeper called into serious action.

Dunstable went close on the half-hour mark when Gedeon Okita’s low cross was helped on by David Longe-King at the near post but Johnson was on hand to clear off the line.

United began to force the issue as the half progressed with McEachran beginning to play a big role.

United’s best chance came when McEachran burst into the box and the ball ran loose for McDonagh who was denied by Jamie Head. From McEachran’s ensuing corner Johnson’s header was comfortably saved by Head.

More chances began to come as halftime approached. Jack Harding saved low from Talbot before Head came out of his box to clear and completely missed the ball but Eddie Odhiambo was unable to get on the end of Jeacock’s cross and Doolan cleared the danger.

United’s best chance came in the final minute of stoppage-time when Marvin Martin’s free-kick was headed back across goal by Luke Carnell. It took a deflection and looked to be going in with Head stranded but Jeacock diverted the ball over the bar at the far post.

Dunstable went close straight after the restart when Vences Bola picked out Jack Hutchinson but Harding was quickly out to close him down and Odhiambo completed the clearance.

Head produced the best moment of the match when he somehow clawed away Johnson’s header which looked destined for the top corner from George Nash’s free-kick. From McEachran’s ensuing corner Johnson headed over the bar.

United began to pose more questions with the midfield creating more openings but they lacked a cutting edge up front and promising moves broke down in the final third. So manager Mike Ford threw on Darius Browne in a bid to open up the Dunstable defence.

But United’s best moves still came through McEachran who looked a class above anyone else on the pitch. Sam Humphreys replaced Jack Self and almost scored within a minute of coming on when he just failed to get on the end of McEachran’s cross.

But Dunstable broke the deadlock in the 75th minute, Zack Reynolds’ free-kick found the unmarked Doolan in the six-yard box and he swept the ball into the roof of the net.

And Dunstable almost doubled their advantage late on when Hutchinson rattled the inside of the upright from 25 yards with Harding well beaten. Dunstable had two more chances, Bola burst into the box and was thwarted by Harding before Hutchinson fired wide.

McDonagh had two chances in quick succession in the final minute of normal time. After being cleverly set up by McEachran, McDonagh took a touch and the opportunity was gone before he was thwarted by Head from a tight angle.

And McDonagh had one final effort in stoppage-time but he could only blaze over the bar. That summed up United’s night in front of goal.