|Point taken as Weymouth held to a draw at Banbury United
By Dorset ECHO
A PENALTY emphatically converted by Charlie Davis helped the Terras to their 12th league draw of the campaign, as they shared the spoils at Banbury United.
The former Dorchester and Poole Town midfielder, on his return to the starting XI, blasted the visitors into the lead from the spot at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium after just three minutes, following a foul on striker Ben Thomson in the area.
But Jason Matthews’ side were pegged back after a superb strike from Puritans’ midfielder George Nash proved enough to grab his side a point midway through the first half.
Weymouth manager Matthews made no fewer than four changes to his starting XI following his side’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Dunstable Town last time out.
Returning to the side was Ashley Wells, who scored a late leveller for the Terras last time out. Also coming back in were midfielders Davis, Dean Evans and Jordan Copp.
Jake Wannell was ruled out with a calf injury and Billy Lowes, Chris Allen and Mark Molesley all dropped to the bench.
Banbury, who went into the contest sixth in the league table having lost three of their last four games, named striker Manny Duku in their squad after he agreed a deal to sign from Kings Langley 24 hours previously.
But the hosts were rocked early on as the Terras scored from the penalty spot after just three minutes.
A foul on Thomson, adjudged to have been made just inside the Puritans’ box, was spotted by referee Scott Postin, who pointed directly to the spot. Up stepped Weymouth’s Davis, who blasted the ball into the net with confidence to open the scoring.
After the Terras started brightly, they survived an effort from Banbury’s Tom Winters. He ran at the visiting defence and drilled a shot just wide.
But after that warning signal, Banbury got their leveller on 22 minutes.
After Thomson headed clear from a free-kick, the ball fell to Puritans’ midfielder Nash, who lashed a right-foot volley into the top corner past Tom McHale in the Weymouth goal.
Thomson then saw appeals for another penalty waved away at the other end soon after, in a contest that was highly entertaining during the opening 30 minutes.
Some decisive defending from Stephane Zubar kept the score at 1-1 as both sides look to put themselves in the ascendancy and it was Weymouth’s Thomson at the other end who went close to restoring the lead for Matthews’ men.
He was allowed room to turn in the box and force a sharp save from Jack Harding in the home goal.
A deflected shot from Weymouth’s Mark Cooper then flew over the bar in what was a quiet opening to the second period.
Matthews then opted to bring on full-back Tiago Sa in place of Aaron Rodriguez – that came just before Jack Self surged forward and fired just wide for the home side.
Ricky Johnson then headed on to the roof of the net after a cross from Eddie Odhiambo for the Puritans, who started to put the Terras under pressure.
Copp was then replaced by Mark Molesley but, from a Terras’ corner, it was fellow substitute Sa who went agonisingly close to making a huge impact after coming off the bench.
Following a corner, his snap shot, which he believed took a deflection, fell just wide with 20 minutes remaining.
Youngster Dom Panesar-Dower was then given more minutes off the bench for the Terras by Matthews.
He replaced Thomson, as a relatively quiet second half came to an end with honours even.