Bell bags winner as the Puritans move up to second

Mark Bell bagged the winner for the Puritans at Tiverton Town
Mark Bell bagged the winner for the Puritans at Tiverton Town

Mark Bell bagged the only goal of the game as Banbury United moved up to second in the Evo-Stik Southern League.

United returned from Tiverton Town having sealed their seventh win on the spin with a 1-0 victory in Tuesday’s Division One South & West clash.

Tiverton had the better of the opening period but Bell went close for the visitors when he curled a shot from just outside the area wide of the far post. As the half developed it became an even affair with plenty of endeavour from both sides on a heavy and sapping pitch but with both defences on top.

United carved out the better chances as the half wore on, Ricky Johnson turned sharply but keeper Joe Perry saved comfortably while Callum White went on an excellent run down the right, evaded two defenders before seeing his shot blocked.

The winner came three minutes before the break. A poor goal kick from Perry went straight to Bell in space and he advanced to the edge of the area before slotting the ball past the keeper.

United began the second half brightly after the restart but Tiverton soon began to dominate. However, United’s defending was excellent and they always looked dangerous on the break with the home side pushing forward in search of an equaliser.

On the hour mark Zac McEahran put White through down the right but he screwed his shot from the edge of the area wide.

After a period of heavy pressure from Tiverton, United had a chance to make the game safe when Howards raced clear but Perry came out of his area to thwart him, the ball fell to Johnson who attempted to chip the stranded keeper but his effort went wide.

A tense final 20 minutes proved excellent entertainment with Tiverton pushing forward for an equaliser and United looking just as likely to score. That was in part down to the United defence who were superb all night and, when required, Jack Harding, whose handling of crosses under pressure was top class.