Johnson heads late winner as Puritans get back to winning ways

Banbury United's Conor McDonagh holds off  St Ives Town's Liam McDevitt
Banbury United's Conor McDonagh holds off St Ives Town's Liam McDevitt

Captain Ricky Johnson grabbed the late winner as Banbury United picked up three Evo-Stik Southern League points following Saturday’s 1-0 victory over St Ives Town.

It was a tale of two keepers at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium where Tim Trebes frustrated the Puritans for long periods while Jack Harding superbly saved a second half penalty.

The Puritans dominated the premier division clash but Trebes pulled off a string of saves to foil Mike Ford’s side until the 90th minute when Johnson headed the winner.

A lively opening saw Tom Winters see plenty of the ball on the left flank and United went close when Jack Self found Conor McDonagh who shot on turn but Trebes saved well.

That prompted a good spell from United as they got the upper-hand and McDonagh’s close range shot was blocked for a corner. Moments later McDonagh burst into the box but Trebes was equal to his low drive.

United continued to control proceedings but could not make the breakthrough as the visitors stuck to their task with Lee Chaffey dominant in central defence and Trebes confidently picking crosses out of the air.

Winters and Zac McEachran combined but McDonagh was unable to get to the cross before Trebes who took the ball off his toes. Eddie Odhiambo’s deep cross was headed wide by Johnson but just before the break a rare St Ives attack ended with Ben Seymour-Shove having a close range effort blocked by Odhiambo.

After the restart, United twice went close in quick succession. George Nash saw his 25 yard drive saved by Trebes, McDonagh drove the rebound into the ground but when the ball bounced up Johnson could only head over with the goal at his mercy.

Johnson almost made amends moments later after being picked out by McDonagh’s cross but Trebes superbly turned his far post header away.

United upped the tempo and began to ask even more questions of the St Ives’ defence, from another Winters’ corner Luke Carnell was unable to convert from six yards when the ball fell at his feet.

But it took an outstanding save from Harding to prevent the visitors from taking an unlikely lead on the hour mark. Nash brought down Danny Kelly as he turned in the box but Josh Dawkin’s ensuing spot-kick was superbly saved by Harding.

Trebes was not to be outdone by Harding and the St Ives’ keeper continued to thwart the Puritans. Substitute Manny Duke almost scored with his first touch, volleying Winters’ free-kick towards goal, Trebes kept it out and then bravely denied Carnell from the rebound before the ball was scrambled clear.

St Ives struggled to get out of their own half as United turned the screw but out of the blue Tom McGowan thundered the ball just wide from fully 30 yards.

United’s late pressure saw McEachran’s deflected effort go into the side-netting before United won it in the 90th minute. Winters again got down the left flank and his deep cross found Johnson who rose to head past Trebes and just inside the his upright.