Conor McDonagh is starting to hit the goal trail at just the right time for Banbury United.
Two more goals from McDonagh earned the Puritans three Evo-Stik Southern League points as they moved into the play-offs.
But United were made to work hard by a spirited showing from premier division strugglers St Neots Town, coming from behind to win 2-1 in Saturday’s clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
United had the better of the early proceedings and twice went close. But the visitors broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when a long throw-in from new signing Johnny Herd was only cleared to the edge of the area and Jevani Brown struck the ball low into the corner of the net.
The first half developed into an even affair and United equalised three minutes before the interval when Mark Bell put McDonagh through on goal and the United striker finished competently.
Two minutes after the restart and United were in front when good work by James Smith ended with McDonagh converting from close range.
St Neots rallied well and gave as good as they got for the remainder of the contest and United had to defend well to preserve their lead. They did so but the visitors did not look like a side fighting a relegation battle and were rather unfortunate not to have got something out of the game.