Matt Sysum struck in the second minute of injury-time to earn 10-man Evesham United a 2-2 draw against higher-ranked Banbury United in the FA Carlsberg Trophy first qualifying round. United looked to be heading for their second cup exit in a week until their skipper got on the end of George Washbourne’s free-kick to set up a replay at the Spencer Stadium tomorrow night. It was an eventful game for the Robins’ Ashley Edenborough as their top-scorer missed a first-half penalty and then got himself sent off, leaving Paul Collicutt’s side to play the last 25 minutes with 10 men.
Evesham survived a scare in the opening seconds when Darius Browne’s corner caught everybody off guard and struck a post before being cleared. Play then settled down with defences on top and clear-cut chances hard to come by. That was until the 29th minute when Declan Hartigan sent Sysum tumbling in the box only for Edenborough to have his spot-kick pushed aside by Puritans’ keeper Leigh Bedwell. But Evesham did make the breakthrough five minutes before half-time when youngster Harry Williams converted Washbourne’s cross from close range.
The lead lasted until just before the hour mark when Browne’s header at the back post levelled the tie. Shortly afterwards, Edenborough got his marching orders when the eight-goal striker was ruled to have made a rash challenge on Banbury’s Dave Lynn.
The visitors sensed an opportunity to push home their advantage and duly took a 2-1 lead through substitute Adeyinka Talabi with 19 minutes to go. United pressed in search of an equaliser without seriously testing Bedwell but the Banbury keeper could do little to prevent Sysum’s last-gasp leveller. The centre-half prodded in Washbourne’s left-wing delivery to end the contest in a hard-earned 2-2 draw.
Evesham: Sawyer, Wilson (Kennedy 75), Binns, N Jackson (Wood 63), Sysum, Harding, M Jackson, Brown, Edenborough, Williams, Washbourne (Slack 78).
Subs not used: Drake, Watts.