High-fives as last-gasp Ed strikes for Terras
AN incredible late strike from Ed Palmer chalked up a fifth successive league victory for play-off chasing Weymouth at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
At first it looked like Banbury keeper Warren Carter would deny the Terras until the 87th minute when the home defender struck with a low drive from 30 yards to pinch another huge victory in his side’s quest for a top-five finish.
Home boss Brendon King kept faith with the same starting XI that began the midweek victory at high-flying Hemel Hemsptead Town.
Ashley Wells and Barry McCon-nell both retained their places after recovering from a chest infection and a hamstring strain respectively, but one noticeable absentee from the ranks was Dan Smith, who has joined Kyle Critchell (fractured ankle) on the sidelines with a broken hand.
Stephen Reed returned following a bout of tonsillitis and began on the bench along with Ollie Tribe, who was making his first appearance in a match-day squad this season.
Despite only being in mid-table, Banbury entered the contest on a five-game unbeaten away run but it was still the hosts that were the overwhelming favourites ahead of kick-off following four straight victories.
Both sides were well matched in the opening exchanges but initially it was the Terras that carried the bigger threat. However, despite some neat interplay leading to a couple of early corners they failed to test Carter.
In fact, it was the Puritans that had the first meaningful attempt in the contest but Ben Polk’s effort from 25 yards sailed harmlessly wide.
Tom Ryan then sent a header over the top from a corner for the visitors but they were the only real highlights of note in a dull opening half-hour.
Weymouth desperately needed a lift and it nearly came when Craig Duff threaded the ball through to Ben Joyce but Carter got to it first.
Danny Clay then failed to pick out another claret-and-blue shirt after making a good break into the box but the wave of pressure soon fizzled out much to the home fans’ disappointment.
The half-time whistle eventually sounded with neither side having mustered a single attempt on target and the Terras looking extremely tired.
King clearly had some work to do at the break and whatever he said appeared to do the trick with Ford blazing over the bar immediately after the restart following a fine pass from Clay.
Reed then replaced Skinner on 50 minutes before Sam Poole got on the end of a superb cross from Scott Walker, only to see his header kept out by an incredible save from the sprawling Carter.
It was all Weymouth now but Banbury continued to frustrate them with skipper Jack Ashton producing a vital intervention to deny Craig Duff, following great work down the right from Ford.
The latter was then blocked out by Ryan Plowright before Carter pulled off another stunning stop to turn Walker’s deflected piledriver around a post.
It looked like the Terras’ luck was out but with three minutes remaining the Banbury keeper was finally beaten when Palmer let fly from 30 yards with a scorcher that flew into the bottom left-hand corner.
The home faithful went wild and who could blame them as their side went on to hold out for a seventh win in eight games.