Puritans have to settle for a point despite McDonagh’s opener

Conor McDonagh gave Banbury United the lead at St Ives Town

Conor McDonagh gave Banbury United the lead at St Ives Town

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Banbury United returned from St Ives Town with a point in Tuesday’s Evo-Stik Southern League 1-1 draw at Westwood Road.

After taking an early lead through Conor McDonagh it looked as though it may been all three premier division points for the Puritans. But following Josh Dawkin’s equaliser United would have been happy with the single point in the end.

Manager Mike Ford opted to partner Johnson up front alongside McDonagh who, along with Eddie Odhiambo, had been on the bench on Saturday. Jack Self was unavailable and George Jeacock had to be content with a place on the bench.

After an even opening spell, United took an 11th minute lead when McDonagh bustled his way through from the edge of the area before firing across Tim Trebes into the far corner of the net.

The first half developed into a frantic affair with St Ives not allowing United time to settle on the ball and they always looking lively going forward.

Jack Harding was required to tip away a Danny Kelly free-kick as the home side threatened to equalise. But United had a good chance to double their advantage when a low cross from Marvin Martin found Johnson only for United’s leading scorer to fail to connect properly from eight yards.

St Ives got the equaliser which they had been threatening in the 33rd minute when United switched off from a throw-in and the ball found Dawkin in space 15 yards who beat Harding.

Three minutes later United went close to regaining the lead when a fierce McDonagh shot from a tight angle was well saved by Trebes at his near post.

Chances continued to be created by both teams and just two minutes later Harding once more came to United’s rescue, tipping a long range effort from Kelly over the bar.

An entertaining first half between what looked like two evenly matched teams turned in the home side’s favour after the restart. Harding was again called into action to keep United on level terms when he tipped a shot from Dubi Ogbonna away.

St Ives continued to put United under a lot of pressure and they looked the much more likely to get the winner. But poor finishing and some last ditch defending kept it all square.

Following the introduction of Mark Bell and Darius Browne, United finally got into the contest in the last ten minutes and might have snatched a winner late on. But the closest they came was from Bell’s corner which was headed just over the bar by Johnson.