Howards off the mark but Puritans are denied by late equaliser

Leam Howards takes a tumble after going past Swindon Supermarine keeper Matt Bullman but he gave the Puritans the lead at Marlow on Tuesday
Leam Howards takes a tumble after going past Swindon Supermarine keeper Matt Bullman but he gave the Puritans the lead at Marlow on Tuesday

A late equaliser from Chris Ovenden denied Banbury United all three point at Marlow in Tuesday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash.

Last season’s top scorer Leam Howards gave the Puritans the first half advantage in the Division One South & West contest but Mike Ford’s boys had to settle for a share of the points at the end.

Both sides made a promising start, a neat move involving Mark Bell and Zac McEachran ended with Louis Joyce’s effort being well blocked. Ricky Johnson headed wide from Bell’s corner but in between Kunle Otudeko shot just wide.

United made the breakthrough in the 20th minute. Jack McLaughlin put McEachran through and when Simon Grant came out to narrow the angle he squared the ball for the unmarked Howards to net from six yards.

Marlow improved after the restart and Jack Harding tipped a 25 yarder from Ovenden away for a corner before Marlow’s task got harder in the 62nd minute when Devontae Romeo was sent off for picking up a second yellow card.

But Marlow responded well and Harding again had to be alert to save a free-kick Jamal Branker. But Marlow drew level in the 72nd minute when the impressive Ovenden fired home from six yards.

That’s how it finished with neither side managing to create any clear openings in the closing stages. Ford will be disappointed not to have held on for all three points against ten men but the Puritans are off the mark.