Puritans extend unbeaten run but miss chance to take all three

Banbury United's Giorgio Rasulo takes on Lowestoft Town's Matt Brown. Photo: Steve Prouse
Banbury United's Giorgio Rasulo takes on Lowestoft Town's Matt Brown. Photo: Steve Prouse

Banbury United extended their unbeaten Evo-Stik League South run to four games following Saturday’s stalemate with Lowestoft Town.

The Puritans should have collected all three points and would have done had they not squandered chances in either half. But the premier division central clash was overshadowed by events off the pitch.

The drama came just after the start of the game when a police officer came on to the pitch to instruct referee Ruebyn Ricardo to take the players off so that the Thames Valley Air Ambulance could land on it. The helicopter was needed to attend an accident at an industrial unit next to the ground.

The game was held up for 45 minutes while the casualty was attended to and then air-lifted to hospital with warm applause ringing out from all around the ground in recognition for the medics just before they boarded the helicopter.

It was a sombre moment on a gloomy afternoon at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium and it was clear everyone in the ground had other things on their mind other than football during the long delay. As for the game itself, it was a dour affair, reflecting the mood concerning events off the field.

On the resumption of play, it was United that stared the better of the two sides. John Mills fired just wide from the edge of the box and Giorgio Rasulo shot at Elvijs Putnins who then got the faintest of touches to tip Ravi Shamsi’s shot on to the far post.

Lowestoft rarely threatened but United could not get their noses in front before the break.

After the restart, Lowestoft showed more intent and Henry Pollock had their first effort which was straight at Manny Agboola. But it was still United who looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

Mills cut inside but saw his effort deflected behind and from Rasulo’s ensuing corner Ricky Johnson’s header was saved on the line by Putnins. Mills should have done better after racing on to Matt Taylor’s defence-splitting pass but, after cutting inside, he fired wide of the far post.

United maintained the upper hand but Lowestoft went close when Adam Tann headed over from Pollock’s corner.

Mike Ford threw on Steve Diggin in an attempt to find that elusive goal. It almost arrived when Charlie Wise got on the end of Taylor’s free-kick but his close range effort was gathered by Putnins.

Agboola was called into action to keep out a fierce drive from Connor Deeks but United kept plugging away for the breakthrough. Taylor’s corner found Johnson but his header was straight at Putnins.

Lowestoft almost snatched it in the last minute of stoppage-time but Deek’s effort from a tight angle was saved on the line by Agboola.