Jones pops up to deny Puritans final home game victory

Banbury United keeper Jack Harding is sent the wrong way from Ian Traylor's first half penalty which gave Merthyr Town the lead
Banbury United keeper Jack Harding is sent the wrong way from Ian Traylor's first half penalty which gave Merthyr Town the lead

It came as little surprise that Banbury United’s final home game of the Evo-Stik Southern League campaign should end in another draw.

The Puritans have drawn as many games at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium as they have won and that has been their downfall this season. Only Kings Langley have drawn more home games than United.

We must have shipped 12 points at home by conceding late goals, we just haven’t won enough games

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Merthyr Town was United’s ninth home draw in the premier division and summed up their season. Once again, a late equaliser cost Mike Ford’s side another two points as they twice let the advantage slip after coming from behind at halftime.

Ian Traylor gave Merthyr the lead from the penalty spot six minutes before the break but substitute Leam Howards equalised five minutes after the restart. Howards gave United the 69th minute lead only for Owain Jones to equalise in the 74th minute.

Elliot Sandy restored United’s advantage a minute later but Jones bagged his second goal in the 90th minute to earn Merthyr a point and leave United looking at another two dropped points.

Ford told Puritans Radio: “In the first half Merthyr kept wanting us to play out from the back and we kept playing into their hands. That made it very difficult for us because we kept giving the ball away.

“I made the change at halftime to bring Leam Howards on because we needed someone to run in behind them and we got three goals. But it was disappointing to concede another late equaliser.

“We must have shipped 12 points at home by conceding late goals, we just haven’t won enough games. On the plus side, we’re unbeaten at home in 2018 but we’ve got to address why we are conceding so many late goals and dropping so many points.

“Leam Howards led the line well, gave us good impetus up front and scored a couple of goals. He caused them problems and he’s a very important player to us.”