Puritans denied all three points but end losing sequence

Ricky Johnson gives Banbury United the lead from the penalty spot at Kettering Town. Photo: Peter Short
Ricky Johnson gives Banbury United the lead from the penalty spot at Kettering Town. Photo: Peter Short

Banbury United returned from Kettering Town with a valuable Evo-Stik Southern League point but it could have been all three.

The Puritans twice led in Saturday’s premier division fixture only to be pegged back each time in the 2-2 draw. But the draw brought to an end United’s four-match losing sequence.

Oxford United on-loan signing George Jeacock started up front with Ricky Johnson playing alongside Andy Gunn and James Fawke with manager Mike Ford opting for three at the back.

Jeacock soon made his mark, curling a shot from the edge of the area which hit the far post and Mark Janes saw his rebound saved by Craig Hill.

Kettering responded well, Rene Howe’s header was blocked on the line by Johnson and Brett Solkhon headed Spencer Weir-Daley’s cross just wide at the far post.

Wilson Carvalho cut in from the left but Jack Harding tipped his shot away before United broke the deadlock in the 24th minute. James Brighton brought down Jeacock in the area and Johnson converted the ensuing spot-kick.

Kettering continued to have a lot of possession and equalised in the 38th minute when a low cross from Kaid Mohamed fell to Howe who slotted home from ten yards. But United regained the lead in stoppage-time when Jacob Blackstock’s shot was parried by Hill who then got in a tangle with Brighton and Jeacock took advantage to knock the ball into an empty net.

Kettering began well after the restart, Nathan Hicks saw Harding tip his shot over before they equalised in the 61st minute when a 30 yard drive from James Haran found the bottom corner of the net.

Kettering twice went close when Gary Mulligan headed just wide at the far post before substitute Liam Canavan saw his effort hit the top of the bar and go over. Moments later a Jack Self cross was headed against the bar by Darius Browne but Aaron O’Connor should have done better when he allowed Harding to save comfortably.

Two minutes into stoppage-time Johnson headed home a Mark Bell free-kick but the assistant referee’s flag went up for offside. There was still time for Bell’s deflected effort thump against the post.