St. Ives Town 2-2 Banbury United
Another late Johnson equaliser rescues a point
For the second successive season Banbury fought back from a two-goal deficit at St Ives to grab a point but will be frustrated that all three were not earned.
Illness meant Charlie Hawtin did not travel with Harry Whitehead coming in at right-back. Edmund Hottor's suspension gave a place in the starting line-up to George Nash.
Banbury could not have got off to a worse start. A ball down the left touchline saw the assistant flagging furiously for a foul on Matt Taylor by Ives' Danny Kelly. However, the referee waved play on. Former Puritan Ben Baker got a shot away which Manny Agboola saved but Jake Newman followed up to score. Referee Bates then consulted his assistant and the goal stood, 18 seconds on the clock.
Banbury almost hit back immediately with Whitehead setting up Steve Diggin but his turn and shot resulted in the ball rebounding away off the woodwork.
Within four minutes Banbury were 2-0 down. Agboola failed to deal with a ball outside of his area and Danny Kelly expertly volleyed into the unguarded net from 40 yards.
However, Banbury stuck to their game plan and showed good movement and composure as they pressed on the home team's goal. They got their reward when a lovely through ball by Geg Kaziboni on the edge of the box set Giorgio Rasulo free and he beat keeper Conway low to his right.
When Ravi Shamsi appeared to be brought down in the act of shooting after a mazy run things were looking even better. However, referee Bates' whistle was not in favour of Shamsi and he was surprisingly booked for diving.
As half-time approached Manny Agboola had to be alert to a couple of headers to ensure the score remained 2-1 at the break.
Banbury did not find the same rhythm in the second half but hopes were boosted when the home team went down to ten men on the hour, Jake Newman being sent off for a second booking after a foul on Charlie Wise in the centre circle.
However, despite enjoying nearly all he possession and camping in the St Ives half, Banbury were unable to fashion any clear openings. Attacking substitutions were made with Finch, Bell and Mills coming on for Whitehead, Shamsi and Odihambo. Finally Ricky Johnson was moved up front and as per last Saturday this provided Banbury with a late equaliser.
The goal came on 84 minutes. A Mills cross from the right cleared the immediate danger area but Kaziboni turned it back into the box and Johnson took advantage of hesitancy in the home defence to stab the ball home.
Banbury continued to dominate the last six minutes and four minutes stoppage time but were unable to unpick a resolute home rearguard action to leave the final score 2-2.
St Ives: 1. Martin Conway, 2. Joe Hood, 3. Owen Wallis, 4. Manashe Sundire, 5. Sam Cartwright, 6. Jarvis Wilson, 7. Ben Baker, 8. Robbie Parker, 9. Jake Newman, 10. Danny Kelly (12. George Bailey 81), Ollie Snaith (14. Ben Seymour-Shove '89).
Subs not used: Jackson, Dylan Wilson.
Banbury: 1. Emmanuel Agboola, 3. Matt Taylor, 4. George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi (Sub 11. Mark Bell, '82), 9. Ricky Johnson, (C) 10. Steve Diggin, 15. Eddie Odhiambo (Sub 13. John Mills, '75), 16. Greg Kaziboni, 17. Harry Whitehead (Sub 20. Jack Finch '65), 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 8.Jamie Heapy 13. Amer Awadh.
Attendance – 179