Rodriguez denies Puritans maximum return on road

Jack Self was on target for the Puritans on Tuesday
Jack Self was on target for the Puritans on Tuesday

Seven points from three away trips is excellent but Banbury United came so close to getting a maximum return for their time on the road.

The Puritans returned from Weymouth with another Evo-Stik Southern League point, only to be denied all three by a late equaliser from substitute Aaron Rodriguez.

That made it 2-2 in a game in which the visitors led 2-0 through goals from Conor McDonagh and Jack Self. But Stuart Fleetwood and Rodriguez earned Weymouth a late point in an entertaining game.

Manager Mike Ford opted for the same side as had won 1-0 at Kings Langley in Saturday’s premier division clash for the long trip to the south coast.

Weymouth started promisingly and a fierce shot from Chris Shephard went straight at keeper Jack Harding. Moments later Jack Westbrook was robbed just inside his own half by Jordan Copp who saw his shot comfortably saved by Harding.

United worked their way into the game and it became a much more even affair. Callum White found Zac McEachran who crossed deep for the incoming McDonagh who hit the upright with the ball coming out and being cleared.

But United broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when McEachran found McDonagh on the edge of the area and he shook off a challenge to make room for a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

United doubled their lead in the 37th minute when good play by McEachran set up McDonagh on the edge of the box, his effort was saved by Tom McHale but the ball fell to Self who fired home.

Weymouth pulled a goal back a minute before the interval when a corner found Fleetwood on the edge of the area and he struck the ball across Harding into the far corner of the net.

Weymouth had the better of the early stages after the restart but United defended well as the home side pushed forward in search of the equaliser. United still looked dangerous and Callum White’s shot from a narrow angle on the right was knocked away by McHale at his near post.

A free-kick by Calvin Brooks was comfortably saved by Harding as Weymouth began to dominate the game. With seven minutes of normal time left United failed to clear from deep inside the area and Rodriguez struck the ball home from close range.