Shamsi on target but Puritans have to settle for a point

Ravi Shamsi celebrates after equalising for Banbury United against Bedworth United. Photo: Steve Prouse
Ravi Shamsi celebrates after equalising for Banbury United against Bedworth United. Photo: Steve Prouse

Banbury United were unable to maintain their winning home form after being thwarted by Evo-Stik League South basement boys Bedworth United.

The Puritans drew 1-1 with relegated Bedworth in Saturday’s premier division central clash in front of another 400-plus crowd at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium. Both goals came in the first half with Alex Troke giving Bedworth the lead only for the recalled Ravi Shamsi to equalise before the break.

Manager Mike Ford made two changes to last week’s starting line up, George Nash replaced Edmund Hottor and Shamsi came back in for Northampton Town loanee Joe Iaciafano, whose registration had been cancelled to allow him to play for Doncaster Rovers in an under-23 fixture.

United had an early chance when Charlie Hawtin ‘s cross caused confusion in the visitors’ defence. The ball fell invitingly for Nash at the far post but the bounce deceived the midfielder who failed to make contact.

Despite not having troubled the home defence in the early stages, Bedworth took the lead in the 17th minute when header struck Matt Taylor’s arm and referee Reuben Ricardo pointed to the penalty spot. Troke smashed the ensuing spot-kick high to Jack Harding’s left.

Boosted by the breakthrough, Bedworth pressed for a second goal but Charlie Wise came close to levelling with an acrobatic overhead kick following Giorgio Rasulo’s corner. The momentum swung United’s way, Ricky Johnson headed over and had another effort cleared off the line while Rasulo had a shot saved by Adam Harrison.

The pressure finally told five minutes before the break when Shamsi got away on the right after some good interplay before lobbing the ball over Harrison from a tight angle.

But the second half was one of frustration for United who had the vast majority of the possession but came up against a resolute Greenbacks’ defence. A combination of poor finishing and resolute defending kept United at bay.

Amer Awadh’s introduction gave fresh impetus as he ran at Bedworth’s tiring defenders. Awadh set up Greg Kaziboni but his shot sailed high over the bar.

Awadh went much closer with a cross shot as United’s quick passing began to open up the Bedworth defence. A flowing move on the right saw Rasulo hit the bar and that was United’s final chance of taking all three points.