Match Report, Stats & Photos Banbury United 1 v 1 Stratford Town
By Andy Chilton
Blues 2nd half fightback sees Town earn a point at the Puritans
Match Report Kevin Hand, Match Stats Rob Abrahams, Photographs by Granty
Banbury United v Stratford Town v Monday 27 August, 2018 3.00pm
Evo-Stik Premier Division Central League at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium
Banbury 1 Stratford 1 (1-0) HT
* All is not well……………….
In front of enthusiastic Bank Holiday crowd of 630 this was dull fare! Playing a 4-3-1-2 system in the first half Town played with no obvious fluency or cohesion. Dias and Carvalho made way for Maslen-Jones and Ahenkorah with the latter playing just behind Taylor and Shariff.
Town kicked off towards the Town End and there was little pattern in the opening exchanges as both sides vied to break the midfield stale mate. On 11 minutes a Maslen-Jones’ cross flew straight to keeper, James Goff, and a minute later Taylor was nearly through from a pass by Abi Skendi only to be pulled back for off side,
Out of nothing on 15 minutes Banbury took the lead. With 3 Stratford players in close attendance Cox managed to give the ball away near the half way line and Greg Kaziboni stode forward through the de-nuded Town midfield and rifled his shot past Vaughan from 25 yards. Banbury grew in confidence with Town showing poor control and was unable to get hold of the ball. The obvious frustration became apparent when McAteer received a caution on 25 minutes.
On 27 minutes Banbury nearly doubled their lead. The dangerous Kaziboni forced a corner and Ravi Shamsi’s cross was headed goalwards by Charlie Wise only to be tipped over the bar by Vaughan. As the half closed Town started to show greater urgency and a Cox cross was turned in by Taylor only to be justly ruled offside. It came as no surprise when ‘stats man’, Rod Abrahams’ declared Stratford hadn’t recorded a single goal attempt in the first half.
Town re-jigged the same personnel at the start of the second half with Maslen_Jones now playing on the left and he did manage a blocked shot when meeting a cross from Cox on 51 minutes. The ‘gaffer’ took more positive action on 55 minutes when he withdrew Cox and Maslen_Jones for Dias and Carvalho. This was to prove decisive as they immediately added greater control to midfield and although the game became scrappy Town began to boss possession.
A goal from open play still seemed unlikely and when, following Town pressure, Shariff found the ball at his feet near the penalty spot he was tripped as he turned to shoot. Nabile himself dispatched the resulting penalty with a cool authority on 75 minutes.
The game petered out as both sides tired with one conspicuous piece of Banbury excitement. On 85 minutes Greg Kaziboni volleyed a perfect cross from the right into the 6 yard box only for Amer Awadh to steer wide from off his shin. Kaziboni’s fury was palpable and he was shortly withdrawn.
Town battled throughout the 90 minutes becoming frustrated with the officials and, sometimes, one another as they struggled to achieve the standards the gaffer is expecting. In a post-match interview Darren was honest in his desire to find his best eleven and playing formation. “Square pegs and round holes’ was his observation on the challenges facing him.
Man of the Match for the second consecutive match was Albi Skendi and stand out performances from Dias and Carvalho as second half substitutes.
* All is not well. I doubt some foul play. Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2
Next up: Kettering (H) 3,00pm Saturday 01 September
Match Stats by Rod Abrahams
| 6||Goal Attempts|| 12|
| 4||On Target|| 6|
| 0||Blocked Shots|| 0|
| 0||Hit Woodwork|| 1|
| 4||Corners Won|| 6|
| 8||Crosses into Box|| 12|
| 14||Fouls Conceded|| 16|
| 3||Off Side|| 1|
| 2||Yellow Cards|| 1|
| 0||Red Cards|| 0|
Stratford Yellow Cards – Dias & McAteer
Banbury Yellow Cards – Self