Johnson’s stoppage-time equaliser denies the Puritans

Elliot Sandy's spot-kick beats Kings Langley keeper Martin Bennett to give Banbury United the lead
Elliot Sandy's spot-kick beats Kings Langley keeper Martin Bennett to give Banbury United the lead

Jorrell Johnson’s stoppage-time equaliser denied Banbury United all three Evo-Stik Southern League points against Kings Langley.

The Puritans were pegged back and had to settle for a premier division point in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium. Elliot Sandy gave United the second half lead from the penalty spot but Johnson headed home the late equaliser.

On-loan Queens Park Rangers keeper Martin Herdman took over from the injured Jack Harding while new signing Paul Stonehouse came straight into the starting line-up, so the returning Tom Bradbury had to be content with a place on the bench.

The visitors started brightly and Kieran Turner was forced wide before firing over from a tight angle. But both teams took time to settle into the contest despite the excellent playing surface.

United went close following a flowing move instigated by Ricky Johnson. Sandy released Tom Winters on the left and his pin-point cross found Johnson at the far post but his header was saved by Martin Bennett from point-blank range. That same combination led to United’s second chance of the game when a deep corner from Winters was headed over by Johnson.

The visitors went close when George Nash got caught out on the edge of the box and the ball fell for Mitchell Weiss but his shot on the turn was superbly tipped away by Herdman for a corner.

Boosted by that, Kings Langley stepped up a gear and forced several more corners which caused United problems. And another Weiss effort was saved well by Herdman before being scrambled away for another corner.

United saw out that spell of pressure and began to get more possession without really creating any real chances and it was the visitors who had the better openings with their neat build-up play.

Turner fired over and Weiss saw his near post effort deflected wide by Charlie Wise. That same combination almost made the breakthrough on the stroke of halftime when the dangerous Weiss held the ball up in the box before setting up Turner who again fired over.

But United almost got their noses in front in first half stoppage-time when Winters dragged his shot just wide of the far upright from the edge of the box.

Manager Mike Ford threw on Leam Howards in place of Darren Pond for the second half.

And the substitute almost scored with his first touch, sent clear by Johnson’s flick-on, Howards was thwarted by the advancing Bennett. Howards went to net from the rebound but Macsen Fraser just managed to get there first.

From Winters’ ensuing corner, Luke Carnell flicked the ball on for Charlie Wise but he headed over when he should have at least found the target. With the introduction of Howards United looked totally different side after the restart and Carnell headed over from another Winters’ corner.

Carnell went even closer when his powerful header from another Winters’ corner was cleared off the line by the perfectly positioned Arjun Jung via the bar. Kings Langley survived and went close at the other end when Weiss curled an effort wide from the edge of the box.

The game quickly opened up and Weiss twice went close in quick succession, being denied by Herdman both times. Herdman denied Weiss from close range and when the ball came back in from Matt Bull, the young keeper tipped a header from the Kings Langley striker on to the post before it was cleared.

Johnson headed on to the roof of the net from Stonehouse’s cross following good hold-up play from Howards.

But United finally made the breakthrough in the 79th minute when Charlie Hawtin’s shot was deflected on to the post, Sandy went for the rebound but was brought down by Fraser. Sandy picked himself up to coolly convert the ensuing spot-kick.

Stonehouse fired over from long range but United had to see out four minutes of stoppage-time with ten men following an injury to Hawtin. They didn’t, substitute Steve Ward was allowed to advance, his cross found Johnson whose looping header beat Herdman and landed in the net.