Puritans thwarted in bid to complete double over Chesham

Banbury United's Darren Pond closes down Chesham United's Matt Bevans. Photo: Edwin Barson
Banbury United's Darren Pond closes down Chesham United's Matt Bevans. Photo: Edwin Barson

Banbury United were unable to complete their second double of the Evo-Stik Southern League campaign against Chesham United.

The Puritans drew 1-1 with Chesham in Tuesday’s premier division clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium but in doing so extended their unbeaten run to three games.

Both goals came in the first half, Jefferson Louis gave United the lead with his 11th league goal of the season but Lewis Toomey equalised for the visitors. Both sides had chances to take all three points in the second half but one apiece was about right.

In-form Chesham started brightly, enjoying the early possession and looking every bit like a team on the up. David Hutton fired over from a good position but United’s first attack of real intent should have produced a goal.

A quick break down the left flank saw Tom Winters cross low into the six-yard box where Conor McDonagh could only shoot into the side-netting at the far post.

But United broke the deadlock on their next foray in the ninth minute when Ravi Shamsi released Charlie Hawtin on the right and his inviting cross was headed home by the diving Louis from close range.

After going behind, Chesham again had plenty of the ball with United seemingly content to let them have it and Oran Swales advanced but fired wide from the edge of the box.

McDonagh won possession and made space for a curling shot from the edge of the box which Hafid Al Droubi comfortably saved.

But Chesham equalised in the 34th minute when Benji Crilley advanced down the right and found Hutton. Jack Harding closed him down but as he did so, Hutton helped the ball on for Toomey to get the final touch from barely a yard out.

In first half stoppage-time Winters curled a 25 yard free-kick just wide to end an even opening period.

Both sides had chances after the restart.

Swales again advanced and found Joe Iaciofano who fired into the side-netting before Toomey shot wide after racing on to Hutton’s neat pass. In between, McDonagh tested Al Droubi with a low drive from the edge of the box.

United should have made better use of an excellent clearance from Harding which found Shamsi but McDonagh ran into an offside position at the vital moment. Louis set up substitute George Nash whose low drive was comfortably gathered by Al Droubi.

The game was there for the taking from whichever side could move up a gear and force the issue.

Jack Self entered the fray and almost scored with his first touch. Shamsi’s shot was blocked, Winters returned the ball into the six-yard box where Self volleyed just wide at the near post.

Chesham had two great chances in quick succession with Tom Bradbury twice coming to his side’s rescue. Bradbury’s perfectly timed tackle denied substitute Adam Watkins as he raced into the box and Hutton’s follow up was bravely blocked by the United central defender.

Both sides sensed the three points were up for grabs as chances came and went at both ends.

United broke quickly and Shamsi was blocked by Adam Pepera as he looked to cut into the box. Shamsi’s tricky in the box then set up Louis but his effort from a tight angle was deflected over.

Chesham countered and Hutton found Swales whose cross ended with Iaciofano heading wide with the goal at his mercy and that meant United had finally drawn their first game of the season.