Howards bags a brace as Puritans go nap

Banbury United sealed their first Evo-Stik Southern League victory since early October when they thumped play-off chasing Cirencester Town on Boxing Day.

The Puritans won 5-1 in Friday’s premier division clash at the Corinium Stadium where Leam Howards bagged a brace.

United went close when Ben Whitehead shot over before they broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when Jordan Green advanced before releasing Howards who beat Glyn Garner from 12 yards.

Cirencester went close from a corner when Jack Westbrook had to head over to avert the danger before Carl Tappin put Howards through but this time the United striker shot over.

United doubled their advantage in the 36th minute when Howards used his pace to get ahead of Ellis Dunton but was brought down in the area. Dunton duly received his marching orders and Jacob Walcott converted the ensuing spot-kick.

United increased their lead two minutes before the break when Whitehead’s inswinging free-kick was converted by Howards.

Cirencester improved after the restart but United always looked dangerous on the break and went further ahead in the 53rd minute when Howards raced away, his shot was saved by Garner but Green followed up to score.

Three minutes later Declan Hartigan was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge and Cirencester reduced the arrears in the 78th minute through Aiden Bennett. Cirencester pushed forward in search of a second goal but United made it five in the 84th minute when Carl Tappin ran through from midfield to get on the end of Walcott’s to beat Garner.