Puritans denied vital three points by late goals

New signing Hicham Abdellah set up both Banbry United goals at Arlesey Town
New signing Hicham Abdellah set up both Banbry United goals at Arlesey Town

Banbury United manager Paul Davis knew his side could not afford to lose Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash at Arlesey Town.

They didn’t. But it must have felt like a defeat after the Puritans lost a 2-0 interval lead in Saturday’s premier division clash to draw 2-2 at their relegation rivals.

Jack Westbrook gives Banbury United the lead at Arlesey Town. Photo: Guy Wills

Jack Westbrook gives Banbury United the lead at Arlesey Town. Photo: Guy Wills

Jack Westbrook gave United the perfect start with an eighth minute opener. Jordan Green’s shot was tipped around the post by Nick Thompson but from the ensuing corner from Hicham Abdellah the ball fell to Westbrook who netted via the upright.

The visitors doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. Kynan Isaac’s deep cross was picked up by Abdellah on the right and his excellent low delivery was turned in by Carl Tappin from close range.

United created more chances, Isaac turned and volleyed just wide and then crossed for Tom Ryan to glance a header off target. But United survived a goalmouth scramble just before halftime as Arlesey began to get into the game.

After the interval Tappin cleared off the line and Dean Gilbert headed wide before substitute Geoff Mitchell reduced the arrears six minutes after the restart with a deflected shot from the edge of the box.

Abdellah was denied by a superb save from Thompson before Arlesey’s late pressure told in the 86th minute when some poor defending allowed Martel Powell to slot home from six yards.

And with Frome Town winning at Dunstable Town, United are further from safety, meaning this weekend’s fixture with Chippenham Town becomes another ‘must-win’ game.