Banbury United 1-1 Bedworth United
By Steve T
Stalemate in the sun
An unseasonably warm Easter Saturday saw Banbury unable to breakdown a determined Bedworth team and end up with a 1-1 draw.
There were two changes to the previous week's starting line up. Manager Mike Ford brought in George Nash for Edmund Hottor and Ravi Shamsi for Joe Iaciafano, Iaciafano's registration had been cancelled in the week to allow him to play for Doncaster Rovers U23s.
Banbury had an early chance when a cross from Charlie Hawtin caused confusion in the visitors' defence. The ball looked to be falling invitingly for George Nash at the back post but an awkward bounce saw the midfielder fail to make contact.
Despite not having troubled the Banbury defence in the early stages on 17 minutes, Bedworth took the lead from the spot. A header struck Matt Taylor's arm and whilst it didn't seem deliberate, the position made it look an easy decision for referee Reuben Ricardo. Troke smashed the sport kick high to Jack Harding's left.
Buoyed by the goal, Bedworth pressed for a second with their heavyweight front two and Banbury's centre backs Harry Whitehead and Charlie Wise enjoying a physical battle. At the other end of the pitch Wise came close to levelling, with an acrobatic overhead kick after a corner. The momentum was turning Ricky Johnson headed over, Giorgio Rasulo had a shot saved and another Johnson header was cleared off the line.
The pressure finally told on 40 minutes. Shamsi got away on the right-hand side after some nice interplay and lobbed the ball over Harrison from a tight angle. It may have been meant as a cross for the oncoming Johnson but it nestled in the far corner of the net for the equaliser.
The second half was one of frustration as Banbury had the vast majority of the possession but found the Greenbacks defence resolute. A mix of poor finishing and committed defending kept the score level. Amer Awadh's introduction as sub gave fresh impetus as he ran at tiring defenders. He set up Greg Kaziboni but the resulting shot sailed high over the Town End. Awadh went far closer with a cross shot as Banbury's passing around the penalty area became crisper and opened up the defence. On 83 minutes a flowing move on the right saw Rasulo set up from 12 yards but his shot struck the cross bar.
There was time for a half chance for Charlie Wise but Bedworth were able to close out injury time and in fact forced a couple of late corners but they came to nothing.
Banbury: 1. Jack Harding, 3. Matt Taylor, 4, George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi, (Sub 19. Ryan Macdonald 80'), 7. Charlie Hawtin, 8. Matt Richards (Sub 12. Amer Awadh 65'), 9. Ricky Johnson, 16. Greg Kaziboni, 17. Harry Whitehead, 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 2. Edmund Hottor, 14. Lee Henderson, 15. Eddie Odihambo.
Bedworth: 1. Adam Harrison, 2. Richard Platt, 3. Lule Rowe, 4. Elliot Parrot, 5. Ricardo Dudley, 6. Tom Sharpe, 7. Chekaine Steele, 8. Barry Fitzharris, 9. Alex Troke, 10. Levi Rowley, 11. Reece Blackmore.
Subs: 12. James Hancocks, 14. Leis Noon, 15. Will Harris, 16. Leis Collins, 13. James Fogg.
Puritans Radio Man of the Match as selected by Match Sponsor Magenta Storage – Charlie Wise
Attendance – 409
Photo: Ravi Shamsi scores Banbury's equaliser