Tiverton Town finally got the better of Banbury United at the fourth attempt as they came from behind to take all three Evo-Stik Southern League points.
Ollie Howe headed the late winner in Saturday’s premier division clash as Tiverton produced a smash-and-grab raid to win 2-1.
Matt Peake-Pijnen gave United the second half lead and they looked to be cruising until Jack Harding failed to deal with a speculative effort from Levi Landricombe, who bagged his fifth goal in three games at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium. And Howe popped up to head home an unlikely winner as Tiverton turned it around.
Manager Mike Ford made just one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s Buildbase FA Trophy replay. Jefferson Louis replaced Ricky Johnson while Ravi Shamsi started his last game before beginning a three-match suspension following his red card in that victory.
Tiverton made the brighter start, enjoying plenty of possession, but United had a great chance to take the lead when the returning Louis headed wide from Shamsi’s inswinging corner.
Tiverton’s first chance fell to Nick Hurst, who exchanged passes with Howe before firing wide. Louis raced clear at the other end but his curling effort from 25 yards whistled past the post.
Peake-Pijnen’s low cross caused problems in the six-yard box for Tiverton who struggled to clear but when the ball came out to Conor McDonagh he took a touch instead of pulling the trigger and the chance was gone.
United got on top as the half progressed and began to create more chances.
Shamsi’s deep corner found Luke Carnell at the far post but his downward header was blocked on the line by Hurst. Martin Rice was quickly out to deny McDonagh from a tight angle following neat build-up play from George Nash.
Straight from the restart, Shamsi latched on to a loose ball and advanced before firing over the bar from 25 yards. Another neat build-up saw Louis turn and create space on the edge of the box, his curling shot beat Rice but came back off the post and Nash could only fire tamely at the keeper from the rebound.
McDonagh fired across goal from a tight angle and also shot over as United made all the early running in the second half in a bid to make the breakthrough before the Puritans deservedly broke the deadlock in the 55th minute. Another flowing move ended with Charlie Hawtin exchanging passes with Louis in the box before picking out the over-lapping Peake-Pijnen and his low drive beat Rice from a tight angle.
Boosted by the breakthrough, United upped the tempo and went for the crucial second goal.
The hard-working McDonagh got into some great positions but couldn’t apply the final touch. Hawtin just failed to convert at the far post from McDonagh’s low delivery while Tom Bradbury’s goal-bound header from Shamsi’s corner took a slight deflection and went wide.
Tiverton struggled to create anything in the final third with United’s three-man central defensive rearguard dominant, giving wing-backs Hawtin and Peake-Pijnen licence to attack.
But Tiverton equalised out of the blue in the 73rd minute and it was that man Landricombe again. Picking the ball up in space 35 yards out, Landricombe saw Harding off his line and his speculative shot caught out the United keeper who failed to keep the ball out of the net despite getting a hand to it.
Shamsi’s surging run ended with him firing over under pressure after breaking into the box.
But Tiverton took an 82nd minute lead when a free-kick from Ollie Knowles was met by Howe in the six-yard box and he headed into the bottom corner of the net.