Howards bags a brace to earn Puritans first victory

Leam Howards gives Banbury United the lead at Bridgwater Town. Photo: Rob Bourne
Leam Howards gives Banbury United the lead at Bridgwater Town. Photo: Rob Bourne

Leam Howards struck twice as Banbury United beat Bridgwater Town 4-1 in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash.

It was United’s first victory in Division One South & West and sets them up nicely for Tuesday’s clash with Burnham at Spencer Stadium.

After an even opening United made the breakthrough in the 19th minute when Jack McLaughlin put the lively Howards through and he beat the advancing Jake Viney.

The home side responded well and Jack Harding had to deny Conor O’Sullivan from a free-kick just outside the area while Ross McNab should have done better when he shot well wide. But United doubled their advantage on the half hour mark when excellent build up play down the right ended with Howards crossing to Zac McEachran who neatly beat Viney.

Four minutes before the interval Duran Martin hit the woodwork but two minutes later it was 3-0 when Ricky Johnson caused problems at a set-piece and when Viney failed to deal with it, Howards was left with a simple tap-in.

Bridgwater improved after the restart and, after hitting the woodwork, they reduced the arrears in the 61st minute when Reeko Best was put through and he beat Harding. Straight from the kick-off Mark Bell attempted an audacious shot which caught Viney out, only to see the ball smash against the bar.

Bridgwater had the better of the closing stages but United defended well and Howards should have completed his hat-trick but he was demied by Viney after racing through. But United rounded it off two minutes into stoppage-time with a superb overhead kick from Carl Tappin.