FA Trophy: Puritans will have to do it all over again

Conor McDonagh struck twice for Banbury United at Farnborough
Conor McDonagh struck twice for Banbury United at Farnborough

It seems Banbury United like to do things the hard way in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

The Puritans squandered a two-goal advantage in the first qualifying round tie at Tiverton Town, then let slip a 1-0 lead in the replay before coming through with only ten men to book a trip to Farnborough.

And Mike Ford’s side were at it again on Saturday, letting slip the advantage twice in a thrilling 3-3 draw. So it’s back to the Banbury Plant Community Stadium on Tuesday for another replay.

United made a promising start and a Tom Winters’ cross was misjudged by Jordan Beeney, the ball hitting the far post before coming out and being cleared. At the other end, Nic Ciardini’s shot from a narrow angle was saved by Jack Harding.

But Farnborough went ahead in the 21st minute when poor defending allowed Perry Coles through on goal and he took the ball around Harding and slotted into an empty net.

United responded well to going behind, Darren Pond’s shot was deflected on to the post and behind for a corner. Winters’ ensuing corner saw Luke Carnell’s header saved by Beeney.

Coles was put through but Harding came out to narrow the angle and did well to block the shot. A cross from Winters saw the incoming Pond get to the ball but he couldn’t keep his shot down and it went over the bar.

On the stroke of halftime a cross from Tom Bradbury found Jefferson Louis but his shot from 12 yards was saved by Beeney and seconds later Jack Finch’s effort went just wide.

After the restart, a powerful run from Louis from the halfway line took him to the edge of the area but his shot was well saved by Beeney. But United equalised in the 56th minute when a corner from Winters was headed home from the edge of the six yard box by Carnell.

United went close when some excellent passing play ended with Charlie Hawtin’s low cross being fired just over by Pond. But United took the lead on the hour mark when a cross from Winters was met by Conor McDonagh’s diving header at the far post.

United were only ahead for 60 seconds when a low shot from Ciardini from a narrow angle somehow found its way past Harding and into the back of the net. United regained the lead in the 67th minute when another cross from the impressive Winters was headed home again at the far post by the incoming McDonagh.

Farnborough pushed forward in search of an equaliser in an end-to-end affair and it arrived in the 77th minute when good play ended with Coles firing the ball home from 15 yards. Farnborough looked the more likely to find a winner in the closing stages but both sides will have to try again on Tuesday.