Finch hits winner to book Puritans place in OFA Senior Cup final

Jack Finch hit the winner for Banbury United against Ardley United in Wednesday's OFA Senior Cup semi-final
Jack Finch hit the winner for Banbury United against Ardley United in Wednesday's OFA Senior Cup semi-final

Jack Finch got the only goal of the game as Banbury United booked their place in the final of the Oxon Senior Cup.

The Puritans produced a hard fought 1-0 victory over UHLSport Hellenic League outfit Ardley United in Wednesday’s semi-final at Kidlington. United will play either Oxford City or North Leigh in the final.

It was a competitive game on a difficult surface and, with injuries mounting up and Edmund Hottor suspended, the Evo-Stik League South side were stretched. Prudence Anaele made his debut at right-back, Eddie Odihambo switched to the left beth in place of the cup-tied Matt Taylor and Ryan Macdonald got his first start alongside Ricky Johnson up front.

United had a great chance in the first minute when a deep cross fell to the unmarked Johnson on the edge of the six-yard box but he shot wide.

The majority of United’s threat in the final third came from Amer Awadh but his trademark dribbling was nullified by the poor surface. He shot across the six-yard box and then earned a corner from which Ravi Shamsi’s delivery saw Johnson head past the upright before Awadh shot over from a narrow angle.

After the restart Jamie Heapy made a rare appearance in place of Anaele and Joe Iaciafano replaced Macdonald who had worked hard up front. The crucial goal came in the 65th minute when George Nash set up Shamsi, whose shot was blocked. Nash found Finch who drove a shot home from just outside the area.

United continued to press and should have had a second goal when Awadh’s good work set up Shamsi who burst through a crowded penalty area but he shot wide from six yards. A long ball from Charlie Wise saw Iaciofano race clear but he overran the ball and keeper Christian Lawrence gathered.

With time running out Ardley threw players forward but they did not seriously trouble United’s rearguard.