Puritans draw a blank but remain in second spot

Banbury United's Leam Howards takes on Tiverton Town's Ben Mammola at Spencer Stadium NNL-160326-180204009
Banbury United's Leam Howards takes on Tiverton Town's Ben Mammola at Spencer Stadium NNL-160326-180204009

Banbury United had to be content with a point following Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League stalemate with Tiverton Town.

But the draw maintained United’s excellent run at Spencer Stadium as they remain second in Division One South & West.

With Andy Gunn suspended, manager Mike Ford started with top scorer Ricky Johnson at the back alongside Charlie Wise, with Jack Westbrook in midfield.

With Johnson at the back and Tiverton top scorer Owen Howe suspended perhaps it was no surprise the contest ended in a stalemate. But the Puritans edged the second half and would have taken all three points had it not been for keeper Joe Perry.

In testing conditions, Tiverton had the better of the opening exchanges and Dan Smith went close after United failed to clear his corner and the midfielder’s low drive was well saved by Jack Harding. Skipper Steve Kingdon could only put the ball into Harding’s hands moments later after Smith’s corner caused problems.

At the other end Perry did well to tip over Mark Bell’s cross-cum-shot as the game opened up. United went close when a neat move involving Bell and Felipe Barcelos ended with the ball running for Zac McEachran whose goalbound shot was blocked by Mike Williams.

After the restart Westbrook’s shot struck Mike Landricomb’e hand but a penalty would have been harsh. Perry then produced two excellent saves in quick succession, palming away George Nash’s drive and reacting quickly to keep out the follow-up from Bell.

Wise headed wide from White’s free-kick and the young defender went even closer shorty afterwards when he met Bell’s free-kick but Perry dived full length to palm away his header with a superb save.

United sensed the winner and upped the tempo with McEachran looking the man most likely to unlock the Tiverton defence and he cut inside but his low drive was deflected wide. A quick break ended with substitute Darius Browne firing wide from the edge of the box when he had options with Barcelos and Bell either side of him.

Browne almost made amends when he was picked out by Barcelos but his low drive whistled just past the far post from a tight angle. But Kingdom marshalled the Tiverton defence well and United could not find that elusive goal.