The mark of any top striker is to pop up with a goal when it really matters and John Mills did just that to earn Banbury United all three BetVictor Southern League points at Needham Market.
Mills came off the bench to bag the late winner in Saturday’s Premier Central clash and take United to within one point of top spot.
A depleted United were missing the suspended Lee Henderson and Jack Westbrook, as well as injured skipper Ricky Johnson. So Charlie Hawtin partnered Connor Roberts in defence while new signing Mohammed Ahmed started on the bench.
Both sides had early chances. Needham’s Joseph Martin saw his effort saved by Jack Harding while Jaanai Gordon was denied by Marcus Garnham with Roger Ngaah Bosio unable to turn in the rebound. Pablo Haysham saw his effort saved by Garnham and also shot wide.
After the restart, United looked the more likely to break the deadlock and Amer Awadh was denied by Garnham. Needham went close when a cross from Luke Ingram bounced off the top of the bar before being cleared. Joe Neal’s shot beat Harding but Claudio Dias cleared off the line as Needham put pressure on United.
Mills added another dimension to United’s attacking play when he came on and his close range shot was deflected for a corner. But Mills was not to be denied and he grabbed the winner in the 86th minute when Ahmed and Isaac combined on the left for Mills to beat Garnham from a tight angle.