Howards hits hat-trick as Puritans book place

Banbury United striker Leam Howards hit a hat-trick on Tuesday
Banbury United striker Leam Howards hit a hat-trick on Tuesday

Leam Howards completed a hat-trick as Banbury United duly booked their place in the final of the Buckingham Charity Cup.

The Puritans enjoyed a 3-2 victory at Old Bradwell United in Tuesday’s semi-final second-leg. Having won the first-leg 4-0, it was little more than a formality for Mike Ford’s side in Tuesday’s return.

There was not a lot between the sides in the opening 25 minutes before United broke the deadlock in the 28th minute. A deep cross from Michael Hopkins saw Howards get up at the far post and head the ball back across the home custodian with the ball striking the inside of the post before crossing the line.

Old Bradwell should have equalised in the 39th minute but Bradley House pulled off an excellent save from a penalty by Steve McFadyen. But the miss didn’t matter though as from the resulting corner McFadyen redeemed himself by rising at the far post to head home.

Two minutes after the restart United restored their advantage. Some neat build-up play ended with Darius Browne feeding the ball through to Howards who struck the ball past the keeper from 12 yards.

Though Old Bradwell equalised for the second time in the 65th minute through McFadyen, United a third goal a quarter of an hour from time. A long ball through from Richard Platt found Howards and he completed his hat-trick by firing the ball into the roof of the net from ten yards.

United’s superior fitness told in the latter stages and the win could have been more emphatic with substitute Zac McEachran hitting the post and Hopkins being denied by the keeper.