Puritans find it tough going following third straight defeat

Substitute Leam Howards got Banbury United's consolation goal at Hitchin Town
Substitute Leam Howards got Banbury United's consolation goal at Hitchin Town

Banbury United manager Mike Ford will be hoping for a change of fortune against Redditch United on Monday.

The Puritans go into the Evo-Stik Southern League clash on the back of three straight losses. The latest came at Hitchin Town in Saturday’s 3-1 premier division defeat.

After an even opening Hitchin began to dominate and duly broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when a corner was knocked home from close range by Brett Donnelly.

Hitchin continued to have much the better of the game and doubled their advantage in the 25th minute when Donnelly’s shot was well saved by Jack Harding but Matt Lench was on hand to knock the rebound home from close range.

A minute later Lewis Rolfe fired just wide from 25 yards before United posed their first threat when Mark Bell’s free-kick found Mark Janes at the far post but his downward header was saved by Michael Johnson.

United improved after the restart with Ricky Johnson firing just over before heading off target from a Felipe Barcelos cross.

Hitchin went close when Robbie Burns forced Harding into a decent save while United struggled to create anything before a 25 yard free-kick from Duran Martin had to be tipped over the bar by Johnson late on.

Substitute Josh Coley shot just wide of the far post but in the 87th minute Hitchin put the result beyond doubt when Kane Smith’s cross was met by an excellent diving header from Burns into the bottom corner of the net.

A minute from time United got a consolation goal when substitute Leam Howards raced on to a pass from Darius Browne and competently struck the ball past Johnson from 12 yards.