Banbury United – 1
Biggleswade Town – 2
Banbury United were left broken hearted late on Saturday afternoon as a ninety-seventh minute strike took the points back to Bedfordshire, two goals in the opening ten minutes of this Southern League fixture had threatened an afternoon of entertainment at the Spencer Stadium on Saturday however from that point the game failed to deliver as it turned into a midfield battle with very few scoring opportunities created at either end. After the opening frenzy the fixture deteriorated into a series of niggly fouls, plenty of on pitch verbal’s, the ball being thumped either out of the ground or back towards the benches for being under inflated & injuries that needed lengthy treatment, so when the board indicated an additional five minutes were to be played as the clock rolled over the ninety no one was surprised, however that five turned into seven and in that added time just at the hosts thought they’d done enough to share the spoils, Town scored their winner courtesy of substitute Liam Brooks to leave the home supporters and players aggrieved to say the least but after the game United manager Mike Ford told Sports Shots that he felt his players couldn’t have given any more during the game & had not deserved that late sucker punch.
Biggleswade took the lead in the fourth minute when a corner curled in took a couple of deflections out to Matt Ball who from twelve yards out rifled into the top corner, the visitor’s then went almighty close to doubling their lead on ten minutes when Solomon Nwaboukei did well down the flank before feeding a clever pass through for Joe White to hit first time and at point blank range Puritan custodian Jack Harding got some part of his body behind it to block, from the clearance Amer Awadh was released down the left wing where cutting in towards the box he played a smart one-two with Ravi Shamsi before pulling the ball across the face of goal where sliding in at the back post captain Ricky Johnson slid in to equalise.
The hosts saw a free kick lifted into the area where Shamsi sliced his first effort up in the air and as it came back down to him he fired over the Town crossbar, ahead of Matt Taylor who was enjoying some early freedom out on the flank getting a cross onto the head of Johnson who outjumped his marker but he could only flick wide, and a clearance played long for Shamsi to chase down saw Sam Donkin in the Town goal advance and almost get caught out by the lively front mans attempted lob however he was close enough to back pedal and gather with both hands; Johnson showed his value at both ends of the pitch on twenty-six minutes when a superb chip from the edge of the box eluded Harding and defenders on the front post but on the line the skipper headed away.
A United attack broke down in their guests half which saw Shaun Lucien sent on the counter attack and after travelling forty yards he slid through the red backline to White who despite the back four calling for offside was allowed to go through on goal, again Harding came out and got something on the shot to deflect it up and over the top. Matt Berry-Hargreaves on his Banbury debut got forward and went for glory from twenty-five yards but fired high over the crossbar, a late Shamsi free kick out wide curled in saw a Wader’s defender fling himself at the cross but miss and Donkin had to throw himself away to his right to save the ball from going straight in. H/T: 1-1
It took twelve minutes in the second period for the first real chance when Nwaboukei stole possession in midfield and played in White who flashed his effort across the goal face and inches wide of the far upright, the consequence of his landing saw White having to have treatment before being stretchered off with an ankle problem. Lucien was next to try his luck from distance but he got is angles all wrong and could only slice away from the intended target, the flow of the game was constantly interrupted as the half wore on, substitutions and further injuries to Awadh saw Greg Kaziboni introduced to the action but his power & pace were well marshalled by the visitor’s backline, his best chance came when he was sent straight down the middle of the pitch with a marker on his shoulder, he did well to get into the penalty area and shoot, the ball sailed wide to which the referee awarded a corner much to David Longe-King’s bemusement.
A Town corner was headed clear but fell nicely for Ball to hit on the volley but he got under it and lifted high & wide away from goal, as time ticked over into extra added time a Biggleswade attack saw some pinball inside the Banbury area and a red shirt throwing himself in front of the ball to spin out for a corner, danger cleared it seemed. However the set piece was swung deep into the back post where Johnson headed out, on the edge of the box Ball cushioned into the path of Brooks who hit it first time through a sea of bodies into the opposite bottom corner. F/T: 1-2
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