Leaders end the Puritans’ proud unbeaten record

Banbury United's Ricky Johnson is thwarted against Cinderford Town NNL-151219-201029002
Banbury United's Ricky Johnson is thwarted against Cinderford Town NNL-151219-201029002

Banbury United suffered their first Evo-Stik Southern League defeat in 11 outings as leaders Cinderford Town won by a solitary goal in Saturday’s clash at Spencer Stadium.

Lee Smith grabbed the only goal of the game in front of nearly 500 fans in Saturday’s Division One South & West contest. It wasn’t a classic but the leaders did just enough to deserve to pick up the points from a game of few chances.

After an even opening period, Cinderford began to get on top and Smith’s 25 yard free-kick had Jack Harding relieved to see the ball go just wide of his upright. Moments later Smith’s corner found Josh Nelmes who headed straight at Harding as Cinderford posed the greater threat in the final third.

United found it difficult to create any real openings and it was no surprise when they fell behind six minutes after the restart. A deep cross from Kieran Thomas found Smith in the six yard box and he headed past Harding into the far corner of the net.

United went close on the hour mark when substitute Miles Welch-Hayes exchanged passes with Mark Bell on the left and he burst into the area before shooting over the bar. Darius Browne finally forced Alex Harris into action but it was a comfortable save for the Cinderford keeper.

In the final minute Harding’s long clearance ended with Zac McEachran bursting into the area but he passed up the opportunity and when his cross finally came in it found Ricky Johnson who blasted well over the bar from 15 yards.

Now manager Mike Ford will have to pick his troops up for Tuesday’s long trip to Taunton Town followed by the Boxing Day clash at Evesham United.