Macleod's late winner knocks Puritans out of the FA Trophy

Banbury United bowed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy, losing 2-1 against AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Tuesday's replay.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 10:20 pm
Jaanai Gordon celebrates with Claudio Dias after giving Banbury United the lead against Rushden & Diamonds. Photo: Jake McNulty

Jordan Macleod grabbed the late winner on his third start for Diamonds who came from behind to win the first qualifying round replay. Top scorer Jaanai Gordon gave United the first half lead but former Puritan Tom Lorraine equalised after the restart with his 93rd goal for the club and Macleod won it for the visitors.

Prompted by Morgan Roberts, Diamonds started brightly and created a couple of early openings. Nathan Hicks fired over from the edge of the box and Roberts saw his drive deflected wide.

Jack Ashton had an effort ruled out for offside after Lorraine helped on Ben Farrell's corner. But it took a finger-tip save from Ben Heath to keep out a fierce 25 yard drive from Claudio Dias following neat play from Kynan Isaac and Gordon.

In an end-to-end opening period, United should have broken the deadlock when Giorgio Rasulo released Gordon who raced clear but, with just Heath to beat, he allowed the keeper to gather. Moments later Gordon pulled the ball back for Isaac who shot wide as United began to impose themselves on the tie.

The chances continued to come and a free-kick from Roberts was headed goalwards by Alex Collard, Jack Harding only managed to palm the ball back out to Liam Dolman but Dias was on hand to clear his header. More neat play ended with Gordon's low drive being gathered by Heath and United's top scorer also shot wide as both sides looked for the breakthrough.

It came in the 36th minute when Rasulo released Dias on the right and his pin-point cross was met by Gordon who headed past Heath from six yards.

Boosted by the breakthrough, United stepped up a gear. Rasulo advanced before seeing his 20 yard drive superbly tipped over by Heath and Ryan Nesbitt's angled drive was deflected wide in a crowded box after Diamonds failed to fully deal with a corner.

Diamonds responded well as the half progressed. Just before the break Macleod's 20 yarder was tipped over by Harding and from Farrell's ensuing corner Dolman headed over.

After the restart Nesbitt cut inside but fired over as United began the better of the two sides with Rasulo puling the strings in midfield. Rasulo created another opening for himself and cut inside before seeing his curling effort clear the bar.

United searched for the crucial second goal but found it difficult to find a way past the impressive Dolman and his fellow defenders. After soaking up the initial pressure, Diamonds equalised on the hour mark when Macleod's low cross was turned past Harding by Lorraine's deft flick from six yards.

Back on level terms, Diamonds looked to get their noses in front but United went close when Dias released Gordon who twisted and turned before firing over from 15 yards.

The game opened up as both sides went for the winner and Diamonds twice went close. Macleod had an effort ruled out for offside and substitute Ben Acquaye shot into the side-netting after being set up by Hicks.

Isaac set up substitute John Mills whose angled shot was turned away by Heath before Hicks again released Acquaye but the substitute could only find the side-netting for a second time.

But Diamonds won it in the 83rd minute when Acquaye, having missed a couple of opportunities, turned provider when his low cross was turned in at the far post by Macleod. Diamonds almost made it safe when Farrell's close range effort was saved by Harding.

Inspired by the outstanding Dolman, Diamonds saw out five minutes of stoppage-time to book a trip to South Shields in the next round.