Gordon hits last-gasp winner as Puritans win a thriller
Jaanai Gordon grabbed the stoppage-time winner as Banbury United beat Biggleswade Town in a thriller.
The Puritans bagged all three BetVictor Southern League points with a 3-2 victory at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium. The Premier Central clash served up a treat with United finally ending Biggleswade's resistance after the visitors played most of the second half with only ten men.
On-loan signing Ryan Nesbitt came straight into the starting line-up to partner Gordon but the surprise was seeing John Mills on the bench, having recovered from the injury which Mike Ford feared would sideline the in-form striker for a month. But Lee Henderson was injured in the warm-up so Charlie Hawtin partnered Connor Roberts in central defence with Eddie Odhambo coming in.
In a lively opening, United had the first chance with Giorgio Rasulo starting and almost finishing the move. Rasulo combined with Gordon and Nesbitt before cutting inside and hitting the upright with a curling drive from 15 yards.
But the Waders struck first when Lucas Perry's 14th minute long throw-in found Shane Bush in the six-yard box, his shot was blocked but skipper Gradi Milenge thumped the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The Waders twice went close in quick succession following the breakthrough. Shaun Lucien exchanged passes with Soloman Sambou on the edge of the box before shooting straight at Jack Harding who then denied Joseph White from a tight angle.
The goal seemed to knock United out of their stride and they struggled to get back into it while the Waders went close again when Matthew Ball cut inside before Harding tipped his low drive away. But United were handed a way back into the game in the 38th minute when Pablo Haysham was tripped by Kyjuon Marsh-Brown in the box and, following a lengthy delay, Gordon blasted home the ensuing spot-kick.
In a fast and furious affair, both sides went close. The lively Lucien went another strong run down the flank before cutting inside and seeing Harding comfortably save while Rasulo tested Samuel Donkin at the other end with a fierce drive from the edge of the box.
The Waders almost regained the advantage in stoppage-time when a quick break from Marsh-Brown saw Sambou allow the ball to run on to White whose effort was deflected wide by Harding.
The Waders were reduced to ten men shortly after the restart when Marsh-Brown picked up his second caution. United sensed their opportunity and stepped up the tempo. Kynan Isaac's clever flick-on set Rasulo free in the box but he was thwarted by Milenge as he was about to pull the trigger.
United took the lead on the hour mark with a superb goal from Rasulo who curled a 25 yard free-kick past the diving Donkin and into the top corner of the net. The Waders were stretched as United poured forward in search of another goal but the visitors held on and almost equalised when White turned well in the box but Harding was equal to his close range effort.
The game opened up as United sought the vital third goal and Waders went for the equaliser. United's best attacking moves came down the left flank with Kynan Isaac orchestrating most of them.
But the Waders equalised in the 85th minute when United failed to deal with a deep free-kick from substitute Luca Allinson and the ball fell for central defender Tom Smith to beat Harding from six yards.
The Waders should have won it in the final minute of normal time. The excellent Lucien beat Hawtin and pulled the ball back for substitute Drew Richardson but, with the goal at his mercy, he blazed over from ten yards.
And it was United who did just that in the third minute of stoppage-time when Rasulo picked out Haysham on the right and his driven cross was headed home at the far post by Gordon. There was still time for Lucien to fire wide but it was United who claimed the three points.