Puritans grind it out to make it back-to-back wins

Zac McEachran scored Banbury United's second goal at Frome Town
Zac McEachran scored Banbury United's second goal at Frome Town

Banbury United made it back-to-back Evo-Stik Southern League wins with a 2-1 victory at Frome Town.

First half goals from Ricky Johnson and Zac McEachran, plus a superb battling second half display under heavy pressure, earned United three points in Saturday’s premier division clash.

Manager Mike Ford opted for just the one change from the side that beat St Ives Town with Manny Duku coming in for his first start with Conor McDonagh demoted to the bench.

With a downpour just before the start the pitch became very heavy with both sets of players struggling throughout the first half to keep their balance.

But United got off to the best of starts when they took the lead in the second minute. A low cross was missed by Marcus Mapstone in the tricky conditions but Johnson controlled the ball before striking it past Kyle Phillips from 12 yards.

United had the advantage of playing down the slope and they continued to have the better of the game. A Duku cross found McEachran at the far post but his effort was deflected wide for a corner by a defender.

United went close to extending their lead when Eddie Odhiambo released Duku on the edge of the area and his shot smashed against the post before coming out and being cleared.

The closest the home side came to scoring was in the first minute of stoppage-time when Sam Teale shot from the edge of the area, only to be denied by an excellent save from Jack Harding.

But in the fourth minute of added-time United doubled their advantage when a corner from Tom Winters was not well defended and went through to McEachran at the far post who made no mistake from the edge of the six-yard box.

Frome started the second half well, dominating the game with United struggling to get the ball out of their own half. Shortly after the restart a free-kick was headed against the bar by Aidan Kirby before Frome reduced the arrears in the 58th minute when a corner was headed in at the near post by Clayton Green.

Frome piled the pressure on, looking for the equaliser. It was one-way traffic with United playing up the slope in draining conditions and there was no let-up.

But they defended with commitment to keep the home side out. Kirby’s header brought out another excellent save from Harding who tipped the ball away around the post for a corner.

Moments later a Frome corner led to a massive scramble around the area but somehow the ball ended up in the grateful arms of Harding. Substitute Jake Jackson shot just wide of the far post from the edge of the area but United were not to be denied the three points.

The large contingent of United supporters who had made the trip to Somerset were all rightly proud of such a battling and committed second half display from their team to hold on for the win under immense pressure.