Johnson bags a brace as Puritans maintain play-off push

Banbury United's Ricky Johnson bagged a brace at Chesham United
Banbury United's Ricky Johnson bagged a brace at Chesham United

Banbury United maintained their late push for the Evo-Stik Southern League play-offs with a quick-fire double over Chesham United.

Having beaten Chesham by a solitary goal on Tuesday night, the Puritans produced an impressive performance on the road in Saturday’s return premier division fixture.

United won it 4-0 with a brace from Ricky Johnson, while Luke Carnell and substitute Sam Humphreys also got on the score sheet. It was United’s fifth straight success and took them level on points with Merthyr Town, who occupy the final play-off spot.

Manager Mike Ford opted for the same starting 11 that had beaten Chesham on Tuesday apart from George Nash who returned in place of the unavailable Jack Self.

Following a quiet opening period, United made the breakthrough in the 24th minute when a free-kick from Tom Winters was headed home by Johnson.

United doubled their advantage four minutes later when a corner from Winters found Carnell in the six-yard box and he headed the ball down and into the top corner of the net via the woodwork.

United continued their good spell and Tom Bradbury’s cross was only cleared out to Zac McEachran whose shot was saved by Richard Hayward.

Just before the interval Chesham finally forced Jack Harding into action when he tipped a long range shot from Sam Youngs around the post.

United went close to a third goal just after the restart when another corner from Winters fell to Carnell just inside area and his shot was deflected just wide of the post.

United went close again when a low cross from Callum White caused havoc in the box, an attempted clearance by Curtis Ujah came back off the post and Johnson saw his effort hit the upright.

Chesham still had their fair share of possession but with the United defence on top form, Harding was not seriously troubled.

United always looked dangerous going forward and went close again when substitute Manny Duku burst through the centre, his chipped shot beat the advancing Hayward and went just over the bar.

But the visitors got their third goal in the 75th minute when a great surging run by Duku through the middle saw him then unselfishly pass across to the unmarked Johnson who fired into the bottom corner of the net from 12 yards.

United wrapped it up in the first minute of stoppage-time when the impressive Duku got the better of Ujah in the middle of the park before advancing to the edge of the area. He was forced wide by Hayward but laid the ball back to the incoming Humphreys who fired home from ten yards.