The Puritans bounced back from Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup heartache at Wealdstone to beat Cirencester Town 5-2 on penalties in Tuesday’s first round tie at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
The two sides finished all square at 1-1 at full-time and, with no extra-time, in the competition, the tie went straight to a penalty shoot-out.
Both goals came in the second half, with Aidan Bennett giving Cirencester the lead five minutes after the restart. Skipper Andy Gunn came off the bench to grab the equaliser from a corner in the 78th minute.
So to the penalty shoot-out. Matt Liddiard cancelled out Conor McDonagh’s opener but, after substitute George Jeacock scored, Harding saved from Andy Ellcock.
Jack Westbrook put United in control with the next spot-kick into the top corner and when Harding thwarted Ross Langworthy, it was left to Ricky Johnson to send the Puritans through.