Late goals see Puritans surrender two points at Evesham

Banbury United's Darius Browne gets his past his marker ar Evesham United. Photo: David Shadbolt
Banbury United's Darius Browne gets his past his marker ar Evesham United. Photo: David Shadbolt

Banbury United threw away a two-goal advantage as they drew 2-2 at Evesham United in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash.

Goals from Callum White and Ricky Johnson either side of the break put United 2-0 up in the Division One South & West fixture but late goals from substitute Jared Wilson and Lance Smith rescued a point for Evesham. That left manager Mike Ford to reflect on missed chances which should have sealed a first victory against a top ten side.

Evesham had the better of the early stages, a free-kick from Nick Stanley went just over the bar and Clayton Green’s cross was bundled towards goal by Adam Mann but Charlie Wise was on hand to clear off the line. In between, a promising move ended with White’s cross being headed over the bar by Johnson.

The impressive Zac McEachran put George Nash through but his shot from the edge of the area was saved by Kevin Sawyer and a cross from Darius Browne found Johnson at the far post but United’s leading scorer failed to connect properly.

Evesham had the better of the closing stages, Mann’s shot was deflected just over the bar and on the stroke of halftime Lindon Dovey crossed low only to see the ball go right across the six-yard box with no-one was able to get the final touch. But United broke the deadlock in stoppage-time when a poor clearance saw the visitors neatly work the ball down the right for White to beat Sawyer from a narrow angle.

Immediately after the restart Sawyer denied McEachran at his near post but United doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute when Browne exchanged passes with McEachran down the left before crossing low into the centre where Johnson slotted the ball home from close range.

United almost added a third goal when McEachran’s shot from the edge of the area took a slight deflection and looked bound for the bottom corner of the net but Sawyer produced a superb save low down to this left.

United should have made the points safe when a quick break saw George Nash through on goal with just Sawyer to beat but again the keeper came to his side’s rescue with another good save. Evesham reduced the arrears in the 73rd minute when the ball fell to substitute Jared Wilson in the box and he scored with a superb drive via the far upright.

United were denied by the woodwork when substitute Mark Bell took the ball down the left before crossing low into the centre where the ball hit a defender and deflected on to the near post. Evesham pushed forward in the closing stages but Johnson should have restored United’s two-goal cushion when was put through with just Sawyer to beat but he hesitated and the chance went begging.

That miss proved costly with five minutes to go when Evesham equalised, a cross came in from the left and Jack Harding could only palm the ball out to Lance Smith who returned it into the unguarded net.

United almost won it in the first minute of stoppage-time when the excellent McEachran set up Bell on the edge of the area but he shot well over the bar.