Greg Kaziboni hit the winner as Banbury United made it back-to-back Evo-Stik League South wins.
The Puritans beat Rushall Olympic 2-1 in Saturday’s premier division central clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
Steve Diggin gave United the first half lead from the penalty spot. Joseph Hull equalised after the restart but Kaziboni soon put United back in front and they saw the game out despite some late pressure.
After a scrappy opening period, United settled the better of the two sides and went close when Matt Taylor did well to pick out Ravi Shamsi at the far post but he headed straight at Adam Przybek. United went close again when George Nash’s header sent Kaziboni clear but, after racing into the box, he fired wide of the far post.
In between, Rushall’s first chance fell to skipper Ashley Sammons but his deflected drive was comfortably saved by Manny Agboola.
United broke the deadlock in the 31st minute following a great passage of play started by Amer Awadh. He linked up well with Kaziboni and Giorgio Rasulo before Orrin Pendley sent Awadh sprawling in the box as he looked to finish the job.
Diggin stepped up to find the bottom corner of the net from the ensuing spot-kick, his first penalty since the FA Trophy final shoot-out at Wembley for Brackley Town.
Diggin was just inches away from grabbing his second goal when Shamsi’s low cross flew across the six-yard box after Przybek failed to cut it out.
Rushall responded well to going behind and enjoyed their best spell in the closing stages. Sammons’ free-kick produced a spell of head tennis with Agboola comfortably saving from Hull’s final header of the sequence. Agboola also did well to keep out Benjamin Lund’s angled drive at his near post and from the ensuing corner Sam Whittall headed over.
After the restart, Shamsi set up Awadh whose shot was deflected wide but Rushall equalised in the 58th minute. Agboola did well to keep out Pendley’s effort but Hull squeezed the ball home from a tight angle.
Boosted by the equaliser, Rushall almost took the lead moments later when Daniel O’Callaghan fired into the side-netting from the edge of the box.
But United regained the lead in the 65th minute when Awadh found Kaziboni and his fierce drive was turned around his near post by Przybek. Rushall failed to fully clear Shamsi’s ensuing corner and Nash fed Kaziboni who cut into the box and slammed the ball home from 15 yards despite Przybek getting a hand to the ball.
Having regained the advantage, United had their tails up and they looked for the crucial third goal. It nearly came when Shamsi’s low cross was touched away by Przybek with Charlie Wise and Ricky Johnson waiting to pounce.
Rushall went close to another equaliser when the impressive Sammons struck the bar from 25 yards and Agboola was relieved to see O’Callaghan’s volley fly over the bar.
Rushall did everything they could to snatch a late point and United had to work hard to keep them out. Pendley hit the post from Sammons’ corner but Agboola managed to claim the ball in the ensuing scramble and United were home and dry.