Banbury United 3 Merthyr Town 3
A last minute goal from Owain Jones earns Merthyr a point
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It was a poor first half from both sides, with little entertainment value. The best that Banbury could offer was firstly in the 17th minute when a good run down the left by Sam Humphreys saw him cut the ball back from the by-line with it falling to Jack Self on the edge of the penalty area whose shot was deflected wide and then in the 27th minute a free-kick from the right taken by Anthony Wright was headed wide at the far post by Elliot Sandy.
On 34 minutes Banbury were grateful to goalkeeper Jack Harding for keeping them on level terms when a misplaced defensive pass gave Kerry Morgan the chance to shoot from 25 yards, the effort looked bound for the top corner before the Banbury custodian made an excellent save diving to his right to push the ball away.
But five minutes before the interval Merthyr would go ahead. Charlie Wise was adjudged by the referee to have bundled over Owain Jones down the left inside the penalty area just inside the by-line with Ian Traylor then competently converting the spot-kick.
Manager Mike Ford brought on Leam Howards at the start of the second half and his pace immediately began to cause problems for the visitors and he grabbed the equaliser just five minutes into the half. A long kick-out from Harding saw Jack Self get to the ball deep down the right who then crossed into the centre where the Banbury striker with his back to goal, back-heeled the ball into the back of the net past the stranded Ed Hewitson in the Merthyr goal.
The substitute would then score his second of the game on 69 minutes. A free-kick from the right a few yards in from the corner flag so Luke Carnell get up above the Merthyr defence and though his header was well saved by Hewitson he was only able to palm it out to Howards on the edge of the six yard box who struck the ball powerfully high into the back of the net.
United were only in front for five minutes though as a low cross from the right by-line by Jones was knocked home at the far post by the incoming and unmarked Corey Jenkins.
Remarkably, Banbury were back in front just 30 seconds after the re-start and Howards was involved again when his low cross from the right went through to Tom Winters at the far post who cut the ball back into the path of Elliot Sandy who struck the ball with venom high into the back of the net from six yards.
In the 78th minute Merthyr substitute Lee Price’s shot from 20 yards brought out a good save from Harding but the visitors were not to be denied a point as in the final minute of the game a ball in from the left from Ian Traylor went through to Jones whose shot from six yards hit the post before nestling in the back of the net.
After the disappointing first half, the entertainment value in the second half was much improved with those in attendance at least getting their reward with five goals.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Jordy Ngathe, Tom Bradbury, George Nash, Charlie Wise, Luke Carnell, Jack Self, Jack Finch, Elliot Sandy (Ricky Johnson 87), Sam Humphreys (Tom Winters 64), Anthony Wright (Leam Howards 46). Subs (not used): Paul Stonehouse, Amer Awadh.
Merthyr Town: Ed Hewitson, Harry Franklin (Jaye Bowen 81), Scott Tancock, Ashley Evans, Matthew Harris (Craig Reddy 30), Kyle Patten, Corey Jenkins, Jarrad Wright, Owain Jones, Kerry Morgan (Lee Price 63), Ian Traylor. Subs (not used): Miles John, Ashley Thomas.