10 Man Town beaten at Banbury
By Mark Bickley
Goalkeeper Louis Connor sent off after 13 minutes
Report by Kevin Hand Photos by Paul Grant
* April is the cruelest month…..
This was very much a game to forget for Town on a disappointing evening at the Puritans’ stadium. It was £5 admission all round in a bold move to lure a decent crowd on a cold, damp, inhospitable evening. The pitch was in very good order and allowed free-flowing football.
Neither side had much to play for and both were under strength. Grocott was still not available for Town and Stephens was on the bench. Evans and Taylor started replacing Fry and Luckie. Banbury kicked off towards the Sutton end and the opening exchanges gave no hint of what was to come.
The match was effectively settled on 13 minutes when Town goalkeeper Louis Connor was sent off. A routine long ball landed just inside the Town area; there was hesitation; Connor failed to collect the ball cleanly; was robbed by Elliot Sandy; and then brought down the striker. Penalty and red! Connor departed and Evans was substituted so Fry could take over in goal. Sandy converted the penalty with ease.
This series of events seemed to galvanise Town as they went on to have the best of the goal opportunities in the first 45 minutes. On 25 minutes Taylor burst through the middle and his perfectly weighted pass found Ahenkorah in on goal. The luckless striker saw his shot take a slight deflection crash against the upright and rebound to safety. Before the half ended Taylor was to have two chances. Put through by Bako on 33 minutes Taylor saw goalkeeper, Jack Harding, beat away his fierce shot. Just before the half ended Taylor again broke clear only to shoot wide. This had been preceded by simplest of goals from Banbury when a cross from the left found Johnson unmarked and he made no mistake.
The second half saw Banbury dominate possession with the impressive wing backs, Stonehouse and Ngathe, testing Town’s equally combative pairing of Thomas and Summerfield. On 47 minutes it was Ngathe’s cross that lead to a ‘head tennis’ in the Town box with Howards supplying the finishing touch. Banbury wrapped things up on 74 minutes with a classic striker’s goal. Played through and one on one with the experienced defender Andy Gallinagh, Amer Awadh twisted and turned at pace before delivering the killer shot.
A disturbing run of results for Town In what is proving to be a testing end to the season. Next up: Biggleswade, Saturday 14 April 3.00pm at Langford Road.
Man of the Match: Mike Taylor – pacey and persistent
• April is the cruelest month. (T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land)
There’s more than one English poet!