Tenacious Weymouth thwarted by Banbury
WEYMOUTH had to settle for a point against Banbury United, despite dominating the second half with countless chances in their 1-1 Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division draw at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
Brandon Goodship handed the home side a lead in the 24th minute but they could not hold on against the Puritans, who were sharp and nearly took the win late on after Ricky Johnson’s goal.
In the Terras’ last league game a 2-1 win over Redditch United saw them mathematically secure their place in the play-offs.
Weymouth were on a run of form that has seen them win 11 of their last 12 league matches, while opponents Banbury were unbeaten in their last 10 matches.
Mark Molesley made one change to the side that won 2-1 at Redditch as Ashley Wells returned in place of Charlie Davis.
The match started tightly, with both sides struggling to engineer chances and test the opposition defences.
Thiago Caze Da Silva and Stephane Zubar were marshalling the Weymouth defence well, while Calvin Brooks and Abdulai Baggie were providing the best routes forward for the Terras.
In the eighth minute the first real opportunity presented itself and it came the way of the home side as Goodship broke down the right and backheeled to Brooks who passed it along to Ben Thomson – the striker’s shot blocked from inside the box.
Banbury then had their best opportunity of the match nine minutes later, when Elliot Sandy slipped the ball to Leam Howards who rifled the ball over the bar from inside the box.
The Puritans then had another chance as George Nash fired in from 30-yards out but Howards redirected his effort well wide.
However, just after the midway point of the half the Terras struck as Baggie got down the left and passed to Callum Buckley, who crossed in to Thomson before Goodship fired in the rebound from his blocked shot for his 35th goal of the season.
Weymouth goalkeeper Will Dennis was called into action soon after, racing out to clear the ball away, but it fell to Sandy who sped past the stricken keeper, but Zubar was on hand to avert the danger.
Goodship had two shots in quick succession after good work from Brooks but he could not find a route into the back of the net.
Wells then received a yellow card for a late tackle on Howards, but from the free-kick Jack Finch fired wide.
The Puritans would not need long to be level, however, as a good move forward saw Howards bring the ball down for Johnson who fired past Dennis.
The two teams went in level at the break after a scrappy half but the second started at a frantic pace with both sides having chances in the early stages.
Baggie in particular seemed rejuvenated after the break and was putting in a superb shift in attack and when getting back.
The Puritans appealed for a penalty, believing that the ball had hit a Weymouth hand, but nothing was given.
Baggie then had two near-identical chances in quick succession, cutting in from the left and firing at Harding with the first effort and the second shot going wide.
In between the two chances Jack Self got into the Weymouth box but his ball across was easily collected by Dennis.
The left-hand side proved valuable to the Terras as Goodship pulled a ball back to Davis who fired wide, before Jake McCarthy worked well with Thomson to get in the Banbury box, but McCarthy’s shot was deflected wide.
Weymouth could not seem to find the final touch to reward their dominance as Goodship sailed a shot over from just outside the box.
Dennis and Caze Da Silva did well to blunt the danger when Tom Winters broke into the Terras’ box and fired at Dennis who made a fantastic save, before Caze Da Silva blocked the follow up effort from Self.
Goodship then curled a free-kick over the Banbury bar from 30-yards out.
Finch had time to head over from a Johnson cross as the Puritans again went close late on.
With the clock ticking down to full-time, the home crowd became frustrated but Weymouth could not fashion a late goal.
Molesley’s men travel to Kettering Town on Thursday (7.45pm).