Emmerson ends Puritans’ excellent start to 2018

Banbury United captain Ricky Johnson had an effort ruled out and was denied by the woodwork at Farnborough
Banbury United captain Ricky Johnson had an effort ruled out and was denied by the woodwork at Farnborough

A solitary goal from Keith Emmerson ended Banbury United’s winning start to 2018 in the Evo-Stik Southern League.

The Puritans lost 1-0 at Farnborough in Wednesday’s premier division clash, having done more than enough to have got at least a point.

The first half hour developed into a competitive but equal affair but there were no decent chances to seriously trouble either keeper. United did have the ball in the back of the net on the half-hour mark when a free-kick from Tom Winters found Luke Carnell who headed the ball on for Ricky Johnson to head home from the edge of the six-yard box but the referee ruled it out for an infringement by the skipper.

United had the better of the last 15 minutes of the half, a 20-yard shot from Winters took a slight deflection but was not enough to trouble Patrick O’Flaherty although on the stroke of halftime Farnborough went close when a shot from the edge of the area by Dan Walker went just wide of the far post.

United went close to taking the lead just two minutes into the second half when Leam Howards turned sharply on the edge of the area but his shot thundered against the bottom of the post and came out. Moments later a cross from the edge of the area by Charlie Hawtin saw a mass of players going in at the far post with Johnson’s header bouncing up and over the bar.

United had made an excellent start to the second half but in the 57th minute Farnborough took the lead when a free-kick from wide on the right went through to Emmerson on the edge of the area and his shot flew back across the goalmouth into the far corner of the net.

United took a while to recover from conceding and Farnborough had the better of the next period of the game before the visitors got back on top. Hawtin’s shot from 25 yards was punched away by O’Flaherty as United began to put pressure on the home side in search of the equaliser.

A cross from Jordy Ngathe saw Johnson’s header at the far post beat O’Flaherty but hit the bar and go over. United continued to pile on the pressure in the last ten minutes but Farnborough held out for the narrowest of victories.