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1st Team - Match centre

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Stratford Town
Banbury United
B Stephens (18'), M Taylor (61')
Full time
T Winters (32'), R Johnson (51'), L Howards (82')
Mon 1 Jan 15:00 - The Evo-Stik South - Premier Attendance 376

Town edged out in pulsating New Years day derby clash

The Blues defeated by the Puritans in 5 goal thriller at the MoodChimp Stadium

Match Report by Kevin Hand Photos by Granty

Attendance 376

Game sponsored by: Jeremy McGinn&Co Local Independent Estate Agents

Stratford Town vs Banbury United
17 photos

* Oh, it is excellent

There was a lively atmosphere and a sense of anticipation at the Mood Chimp for this opening fixture of the calendar year 2018. And the crowd was not to be disappointed with this absorbing and pulsating encounter. The Blues was the form team at ‘Citadel MoodChimp’ but the Puritans, despite an unlikely home loss to Dunstable on Boxing Day, had outstanding away form.

Town was without Summerfield (injured) and Thomas (suspended) so the pack was reshuffled again. Staying with a flat back four Evans came in at left wing back and Bako in midfield. Town captain, Jimmy Fry, chose to kick off towards the Knights Lane End meaning Banbury keeper, Jack Harding, had to deal with a low, fitful January sun. The pitch was playing well and was attribute to the club and volunteers.

There was a bright start by the Town boys as the outstanding Stephens found space on both sides of the pitch. As early as 3 minutes he cut in from the left but his shot was blocked by Puritans’ defender, White. On 7 minutes Fry fed the lively Eli Bako whose cross was diverted for a corner.

At the other end the dangerous Ricky Johnson, Puritans’ captain, had a goal bound shot blocked by Francis. Almost immediately (on 18 minutes) Town was ahead as Bako passed to Marsden. Marsden’s shot was blocked but it fell invitingly to Stephens whose sublime volley left Harding clutching thin air. Almost immediately Stephens broke down the right but his cross just eluded the onrushing Taylor.

Banbury gradually worked themselves into the game with Tom Winters keeping Jimmy Fry up to his mettle and Connor McDonagh on the right severely testing Charlie Evans. On 25 minutes it was Winters who crossed to Johnson whose powerful header was pushed aside by Connor. Seven minutes later and the scores were level. Following Banbury pressure the ball to Winters just outside the area and his right footed volley was emphatic.

Town might have been ahead again on 37 minutes as Stephens raced down the right who then delivered an inch perfect cross. It fell to Grocott near the penalty spot but his side footed strike sailed harmlessly wide as he lost his footing at the vital moment. It was end-to-end stuff leading up to the break. Stephens found Taylor cutting into the box from the left and when he was brought down the home crowd were looking for a penalty and a red card. But the assistant referee adjudged that Taylor had strayed off side to the relief of the Banbury fans. Half time Bovrils left both sets of fans with much to discuss.

The second half proved no less entertaining with both teams impressing going forward. On 51 minutes Jordy Ngathe found Winters on the left and his cross was headed in by the ever-dangerous Johnson. Town responded and Stephens had his own header from a corner cleared off the line. Despite Banbury pressure Town was level just after the hour. Grocott was fouled on the right half way into the Puritans’ half. Grocott swept his cross deep into the box and Taylor pounced and drove home from no more than 6 yards.

Conor McDonagh nearly restored Banbury’s lead but Recci blocked and at the other end Ahenkorah found Taylor close in and in a central position only for the ‘big man’ to completely miss his kick.

It seemed as though the game might be over for Town on 81 minutes when a long ball fell to Leam Howards inside the penalty area. It looked like a routine clearance for the usually reiable Recci but he allowed the ball to squirm away and Howards gleefully restored Banbury’s lead.

Off the pitch there was some unseemly and unpleasant chanting at both ends of the ground. At one point referee, Robert Hathaway (related to The Bard on his mother’s side?) had to ask for stewards to stand behind Louis Connor’s goal after an object appeared to be thrown. We await referee’s report with interest. This was in stark contrast to the excellent football on the pitch and the good and gentlemanly conduct of both sets of players.

The last minutes of the game were to prove as entertaining as the previous 90. In additional time Taylor fired against the Banbury upright and from the rebound Charlie Evans was foiled by the Banbury keeper. From the resulting corner Louis Connor sprinted forward for one last concerted effort but for Town this was a day of great heroics but, ultimately, a valiant loss.

Man of the Match: Ben Stephens

* Oh, it is excellent Act 2 Scene 2 Measure for Measure

Train with the Best - Win a training session with the England 6-a-side squad

Ben Stephens

Player of the Match

Ben Stephens

Key moments

Goal Ben Stephens scores for Stratford Town
Goal Tom Winters scores for Banbury United
Goal Ricky Johnson scores for Banbury United
Goal Michael Taylor scores for Stratford Town
Goal Leam Howards scores for Banbury United

Videos and photos

Stratford Town vs Banbury United
17 photos


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90:00 Player of the Match
Ben Stephens is awarded player of the match for Stratford Town
86:00 Sub Off
Conor McDonagh is substituted off for Banbury United
86:00 Sub On
Jack Finch is substituted on for Banbury United
82:00 Goal 2 - 3
Leam Howards scores for Banbury United
70:00 Yellow Card
Ben Stephens is yellow carded for Stratford Town
65:00 Sub Off
Elliot Sandy is substituted off for Banbury United
65:00 Sub On
Leam Howards is substituted on for Banbury United
61:00 Goal 2 - 2
Michael Taylor scores for Stratford Town
61:00 Sub Off
Justin Marsden is substituted off for Stratford Town
61:00 Sub On
Edwin Ahenkorah is substituted on for Stratford Town
51:00 Goal 1 - 2
Ricky Johnson scores for Banbury United
End of period 1
32:00 Goal 1 - 1
Tom Winters scores for Banbury United
18:00 Goal 1 - 0
Ben Stephens scores for Stratford Town
Start of the game
Replay game

As it happened

  • Stratford Town
  • Banbury United
  • 0
  • Ben Stephens Goal 18:00'
  • Tom Winters Goal 32:00'
  • Ricky Johnson Goal 51:00'
  • Michael Taylor Goal 61:00'
  • Justin Marsden Sub Off 61:00'
  • Edwin Ahenkorah Sub On 61:00'
  • Elliot Sandy Sub Off 65:00'
  • Leam Howards Sub On 65:00'
  • Ben Stephens Yellow Card 70:00'
  • Leam Howards Goal 82:00'
  • Conor McDonagh Sub Off 86:00'
  • Jack Finch Sub On 86:00'

Team selection

Connor, Louis Connor, Louis
Fry, James Fry, James
Recci, Loyiso Recci, Loyiso
Hancocks, Jamie Hancocks, Jamie
Francis, Liam Francis, Liam
Evans, Charlie Evans, Charlie
Bako, Eli Bako, Eli
Marsden, Justin Marsden, Justin
Taylor, Michael Taylor, Michael
Stephens, Ben Stephens, Ben
Grocott, Will Grocott, Will
Stratford Town
Banbury United
  • 1. Jack Harding
  • 2. George Nash
  • 3. Luke Carnell
  • 4. Charlie Hawtin
  • 5. Jack Self
  • 6. Conor McDonagh
  • 7. Tom Winters
  • 8. Ricky Johnson
  • 9. Jordy Ngathe
  • 10. Elliot Sandy
  • 11. Charlie Wise
  • 12. Graham Bryan
  • 13. Ryan McDonald
  • 14. Leam Howards
  • 15. Jack Finch
  • 16. Niall Clayton

League round up

Other Premier results

Bishop's Stortford
Royston Town
Chesham United
Slough Town
Dorchester Town
Basingstoke Town
Frome Town
Merthyr Town
Redditch United
Kettering Town
King's Lynn Town
St Ives Town
St Neots Town

League table

# Team Pl Pts
13. Frome Town 46 61
14. Redditch United 46 55
15. Stratford Town 46 55
16. Biggleswade Town 46 53
17. Merthyr Town 46 53
18. Bishop's Stortford 46 52
19. Dorchester Town 46 51

Team sponsors


Club sponsors