Puritans pay the penalty as unbeaten run is ended

James Smith missed a late penalty for Banbury UnitedJames Smith missed a late penalty for Banbury United
James Smith missed a late penalty for Banbury United
Banbury United's nine game unbeaten Evo-Stik Southern League run came to an end at Merthyr Tydfil.

But the Puritans squandered a great opportunity to extend their run into double figures when James Smith missed a penalty two minutes from the end of Saturday’s 1-0 premier division defeat.

United started brightly and a cross from Callum White caused problems in the six-yard box with Martin Asiedu Ofosu having two attempts at goal but failed to finish both times.

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Merthyr began to have the better of the game as the first half wore on. Keyon Reffell’s shot from the edge of the area went just wide before a cross found Ryan Prosser but his shot from close range saw Jack Harding pull off an outstanding save.

Merthyr continued have the better of proceedings and United didn’t really threaten in the remainder of the half until just before the interval when a free-kick from Sam Humphreys sailed over the bar.

After the restart, Harding again came to United’s rescue when he dived full length to tip away Ian Traylor’s drive by his post. United went close when Humphreys released Asiedu Ofosu on the left but his shot from a narrow angle hit the side-netting.

Merthyr almost doubled their advantage when a cross was whipped in by Traylor but Kayne McLaggon’s glancing header at the near post went just wide of the opposite upright.

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Merthyr always looked the more likely side to make the breakthrough and they did just that in the 74th minute. McLaggon battled well on the edge of the area and struck a fine shot across Harding into the far corner of the net.

In the 88th minute a cross Marvin Martin saw Luke Carnell brought down in the box. James Smith stepped up to take the spot-kick but Oliver Davies did well to dive low to his left to knock the ball away for a corner.