Ben Wright came off the bench to deny Banbury United all three Evo-Stik Southern League points against Basingstoke Town.
The Puritans drew 1-1 with Basingstoke in Tuesday’s premier division clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium. Luke Carnell gave United the early lead but Wright cancelled that out in the closing stages.
United took an eighth minute lead when keeper Colm McAdden could only parry a fierce 25-yard free-kick from Tom Winters and Carnell drove home the rebound from close range.
Despite the early setback, the visitors produced some neat football without troubling a United side who, for once, looked as young as their counterparts. And it was United who carved out the better chances as the half progressed.
Jack Self twice went close, a header was claimed at the second attempt by McAdden and a close range effort was blocked. Ricky Johnson got on the end of Tom Bradbury’s low cross, turned and fired just wide of the far post from ten yards.
Basingstoke went close when Jack McKnight and Sam Argent combined for Charlie Kennedy who was unable to squeeze the ball in at the near post under pressure from Charlie Wise.
Johnson nearly doubled United’s lead after being picked out by Self in the box but the United skipper’s effort was tipped away by McAdden.
Basingstoke had a chance straight after the restart when Argent raced clear but shot wide from 15 yards. The visitors continued to have the better of the opening period, enjoying their best spell of the game.
New signing Leon Lobjoit was sent on in place of Elliot Sandy just before the hour mark as manager Mike Ford looked for the vital second goal. But United found it difficult to create any decent chances in the second half and it was Basingstoke who looked the more likely to score.
George Bennett went close with a speculative 35-yard free-kick but chances were few and far between in the second period.
Ford sent on Leam Howards for Wise with Johnson moving back into defence. That meant United had a quick pair up front in the form both substitutes Lobjoit and Howards.
But it was from another set-piece that United went close to that elusive second goal with Carnell glancing a header wide from a Winters’ free-kick.
But Basingstoke drew level in the 84th minute with both substitutes combining to produce the equaliser. The unmarked Wright side-footed the ball past Jack Harding from ten yards after being picked out by a deep cross from Sam Smart.