BANBURY United ground out a 1-0 victory at home to Hitchin Town, despite going down to ten men late on.

Leam Howards, who set up the only goal for Jack Self, was sent off 20 minutes from time.

But the Puritans hung on for a victory which takes them to within five points of an Evo-Stik South League Premier Division play-off place.

With boss Mike Ford keeping the same side that had defeated Stratford Town, the hosts were second best early on with Hitchin’s Trey Charles twice going close.

The first half was a cagey affair, with the Puritans best chance coming when Elliot Sandy flashed wide from Ricky Johnson’s flick-on.

However, two minutes after the interval, Banbury scored the winning goal.

Howards, who had come on at half-time, turned his man brilliantly, and found Johnson, whose shot was saved by his namesake Michael Johnson in the Hitchin goal.

The ball fell at the feet of Self, who swivelled and fired into the bottom corner.

Howards and RickyJohnson had chances to extend the lead.

But they suffered a blow in the 70th minute when when Howards was sent off for a foul on Ben Walster.

To their credit, ten-man Banbury continued to surge forward to try and double their advantage.

Substitute Sam Humphreys let loose a low drive which Michael Johnson pushed around a post.

Hearts where in mouths for the final minutes as Luke Carnell inadvertently headed the ball towards his own goal, but keeper Jack Harding saved well..

Banbury Utd: Harding, Ngathe, Hawtin, Nash, Carnell, Self, Sandy (Howards HT), Johnson, McDonagh (MacDonald 89), Winters (Humphreys 76). Subs not used: Peake-Pijnen, Bryan. Attendance: 369.

North Leigh’s decision to rush through the transfer of Roger James on the morning of their match at home to Slimbridge paid handsome dividends.

It was James – returning to the club after joining Kidlington in September – who scored their goal in the 1-1 draw, which ended a run of three defeats in the West Division.

There was further upheaval after the surprise recall of keeper Manny Agboola by Oxford United. This led to a call-up for Jack Griffiths from their reserve team.

James put the hosts ahead after 20 minutes with a stunning 15-yard volley from Michael Hopkins’s cross.

Despite chances for Hopkins, James and George Seacole, the Millers could not find a second goal

The visitors sensed they had a chance and they equalised in the 71st minute when Joe Wilton clipped a left-foot shot past Griffiths from close range.

North Leigh: Griffiths, Lymn, Hopkins, Marshall, Wellon, Paddock, R James, Sheehan, Seacole, McGlynn (Waldon 72), Grabe. Subs not used: Keightley, Carroll, Mattock, D James.

Attendance: 61.

Ten-man Didcot Town came from 2-0 and 3-1 down to rescue a point in a 3-3 draw away to Shortwood United.

The Railwaymen’s fighting spirit saw them extend a run of just one defeat in the last ten games.

They seemed in big trouble when conceding two goals in three minutes during the first half.

Nick Humphreys put the hosts ahead in the 13th minute, before an own goal from Adam Learoyd made it 2-0.

The visitors halved the deficit on the half-hour when Stuart Cattell’s cross was headed home by Sam Elkins.

But just minutes later, Didcot’s Ollie Thomas was given a straight red for a two-footed challenge.

After the visitors brought on George Reid and Lewis Hayden at half-time, boss Andy Ballard saw his side go 3-1 down on 50 minutes when Liam Meredith’s brilliant strike beat goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell and went in off the


The two-goal advantage lasted only three minutes as Felipe Barcelos’s cross ricocheted off defender Richard Thwaite into the back of the net.

Six minutes from time, Didcot rescued a point with a well-taken goal from Marlon Agyakwa

Didcot Tn: Bedwell, Elkins, Woodley, Thomas, Cattell, Learoyd, Pin (Reid HT), Murphy (Hayden HT), Barcelos, Barder, Agyakwa (McNeill 86). Subs not used: Jeacock, Ballard.

Attendance: 67.

A devastating burst of scoring in the first half saw Kidlington return to winning ways with a 5-2 success at home to Barnstaple Town.

Declan Benjamin, who had already tested the visiting keeper Neal Osborn, put the Greens ahead in the 16th minute when rifling home from Harry Whitehead’s pass.

Three minutes later. Duran Martin made it 2-0, side-footing into the far corner of the net

It was no surprise when the hosts made it 3-0 in the 28th minute.

#s Darius Browne’s cross-cum-shot deflected in off Barnstaple’s George Nancekivell

Six minutes later it was 4-0 as Browne fired in after good work by Anaclet Odhiambo.

Barnstaple pulled back a goal in the 70th minute, when substitute Archie Reay shot low past home keeper Sam Warrell.

Thoughts of a revival were quashed when Lewis Coyle beat two defenders before drawing the keeper and side-footing home in the 76th minute.

Deep into injury time, Harry Stevens added the visitors’ second goal, firing into a net vacated by Warrell.

Kidlington: Warrell, Whitehead, Castle, Brown, Franklin, McMahon, Martin, Benjamin (Coyle 56), AOdhiambo, Williams, Browne (Bell 64). Subs not used: Organ, Tetek.

Attendance: 68.

Thame United’s game away to Moneyfields in the East Division was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.