Archive for Banbury United Football Club

SL P; Banbury defender happy to be a Puritan and no Kid-ding

Saturday 9th February 2019

Royston Town v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

Garden Walk

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United travel to Royston Town this weekend looking to avenge their last minute defeat they suffered at their hands back in October at the Community Hire Stadium, and with it claim back some points after being docked four last week after an administrative error earlier in the season. The points deduction seriously hampers the clubs attempts to make the Southern Football League Premier Division Central play-off places, especially after a good January saw them only lose once in five games as they now find themselves twelve points off fifth place with just fourteen league games left to play, but they can build on their last two impressive results where a four goal mauling of Coalville was only blighted by two late goals, followed by a good one all draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds two weeks ago. A win this week could push them back up the two places they lost in the league table after the points adjustment, and they come up against a Town side that have won just one league game at home since mid-October, can Banbury continue their recent good form?

Harry Whitehead

This week Sports Shots caught up with United defender Harry Whitehead to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

I joined the club back in the summer. Towards the end of last season I’d been speaking to Eddie Odhiambo who was with me at Kidlington last year, he spoke to the gaffer about me and from there I enjoyed a tough but enjoyable pre-season at Banbury. This had a massive influence on me joining the club, the training was of a high standard, the set up was very professional & the gaffer explained his intentions on helping me to improve as a player. I found settling in really easy, the lads are all great and knowing a couple of them prior to joining really helped. I knew Charlie Hawtin from when I was at Oxford & obviously Eddie, Lewis Gabbidon, Darius Browne and Mark Bell from Kidlington

How does Harry feel his season has been so far?

I felt like I had a really positive pre-season and I was feeling fit and playing well, but then towards the end I missed a couple of games and the team were doing really well and picking up points so it was difficult to get back in so I went on a short term loan to Kidlington to get some game time and get match fit, something I and the gaffer felt was best for me. Since coming back I’ve tried to take the chance when it has been given to me and I’ve tried to help the team as much as I can. Even when I’m on the bench I’m working hard in training and learning from the likes of Lee Henderson and Charlie Wise who have much more experience than me at this level which is really helpful

How good is this Banbury squad?

The squad is probably the best I’ve played in. I can’t single out individuals who have really impressed me as everyone has impressed me in their own positions

So what is Harry’s best position in the team?

This a funny one, up until December twenty-seventeen I had played as a striker for my whole career. However, I now find myself as a centre back, but if I’m honest I’d play anywhere as you may have seen this season. But so far in this team my favoured position is probably the left side centre back

How has Harry’s football pathway led him to Banbury?

Being from Kidlington I started out in their junior sides until the age of seven when I was picked up by Oxford United. I stayed there until the under fifteen season finished and then I left to focus on my education. When I left I joined Kidlington reserves for a couple of seasons before making the step up to the first team a few seasons back. I played in the first team at Kidlington for about a year and a half before joining Banbury

Defeat at Stourbridge, a win over Coalville and a creditable draw at Rushden, how were these games?

I think the defeat at Stourbridge was a hard one to take, obviously they are very good side and their league position reflects that but I felt on the day we were the better side. They had two chances and took them both and we had chances but weren’t clinical enough, whereas against Coalville we took the chances we made for ourselves, stuck to our principles and got a good result. The result at Rushden was probably fair, it was a very scrappy game on a difficult pitch. But the main thing from that game is that we came away with something

Royston this week, a disappointing last minute defeat earlier in the season against them, what does Harry remember of this game and what do they need to do to get something this time?

I remember this game being one soon after I came back from my loan at Kidlington, they were a quick, physical side who played very direct football. I remember them scoring a wonder goal in the dying seconds of the game to take the three points from us. It wasn’t a nice feeling after thinking we’d done enough to get something from the game. I think we will work on a few things in training this week, how to deal with their threats and nullify any danger but also work on how we are going to play away from home, take our chances and get a result

Finally, we asked Harry to pick a player to go on any television programme, and explain why:

I’d love to see Charlie Hawtin go on Love Island. I think he’d go on to win it and take all the money for himself!

Sports Shots would like to thank Harry for his time this week

SL; Banbury United 4-2 Coalville Town

Banbury United – 4

Coalville Town – 2

19.01.2019

Banbury United saw off Coalville Town on Saturday in a performance far more convincing than the score line suggests, three up by the break they had to endure fifteen minutes of early second half pressure before they added a fourth which most thought was enough to kill off the game, however credit to the visitors who never gave up and grabbed two late consolation goals in the final ten minutes to give the final score a slightly different reflection to the Puritans dominance. A fairly uneventful start to the game was turned round by two United goals inside four minutes and from there the home side never looked back, a killer third just before the interval from Ravi Shamsi wrapped up an excellent first half performance, after the game manager Mike Ford expressed he was a very happy man in terms of the result and his squad.

The hosts had the first chance when Greg Kaziboni played Ravi Shamsi through on goal in the fourth minute, he opted for power but Town keeper Richard Walton stood strong and blocked with both hands, at the other end an attempted lob by Steve Towers over Puritan custodian Jack Harding from twenty-five yards never really troubled the keeper, returning between the sticks as Manny Agboola had been called back to Oxford for under twenty-three duties. An early booking for Kaziboni for a foul on Joe Doyle-Charles didn’t seem to affect the flow of the attacks and on fourteen minutes he won his side a penalty when Shamsi picked him out on the right flank and his run into the box was ended by the outstretched boot Scott McManus, Giorgio Rasulo tucked home into the bottom corner to give Banbury the lead.

That lead was doubled just four minutes later when Ricky Johnson out on the left fed a pass inside to Kaziboni and turning his marker he strode across field before firing past the despairing dive of Walton into the far corner from inside the penalty arc. A Coalville free kick into the area was then headed clear by the home defence and meeting it on the volley from some twenty yards out Doyle-Charles lifted high over the top, followed very closely by a superb curling effort from Tom McGlinchey which flew a couple of yards wide of Harding’s back post, Luke Shaw then tried his luck from the eighteen yard line but fired straight along the ground into the waiting gloves of Harding.

Ravi Shamsi on his way to third United goal

Just past the half hour mark Tim Berridge had a stinging shot straight at the Puritan custodian saved with both hands, at the opposite end a free kick from Rasulo had Walton diving to the base of his near post to push away for a corner, then with just a couple of minutes of the half remaining Banbury bagged their third. Coalville conceded possession inside their hosts half and the ball was knocked down the wing for Shamsi to chase after, defender Kieran Fenton seemed to have it under control but the United man knocked him off it to drive into the box before curling around the keeper & inside the far upright. There was still time for another close miss for the home side, a misplaced pass amongst the visitors defence saw Shamsi given the ball some thirty yards out, spotting Walton out of position he went for the far corner but drove wide of the target. H/T: 3-0

Coalville certainly started the second half looking like a side that had had a half time talking to, but the Banbury defence stood firm and repelled anything thrown at them, whenever the ball did get in behind Harding was happy to collect or clear long, as the half wore on the hosts started looking to extend their lead again, Shamsi collecting a pass deep at the back of the penalty area turned inside before curling straight into the gloves of Walton. They then won a succession of corners that lead to the fourth goal on sixty-four minutes, Rasulo on the corner of the box fired low towards the near post where Johnson got a touch that Walton somehow saved at point blank range, however the ball bounced off him and across the six yard box where Lee Henderson was unmarked to run in and tap into the unguarded net.

Lee Henderson scores fourth

Still the visitors refused to back down and within a minute of the goal they almost snatched an unlikely lifeline when a cross from the wing was met in the middle by an unmarked Kairo Mitchell who did the right thing by heading back across Harding but it bounced a yard wide of the back post. Kaziboni then had another run at the away defence and they allowed him the room to travel into the box and shoot low that forced Walton to his right to gather, then with ten minutes left Coalville did get on the scoresheet when defender Alex Dean ran the length of the pitch evading a couple of challenges on route before tucking into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

As the game drifted to a close Coalville enjoyed long spells with the ball, which was rewarded in the final minute of the ninety when a mass scramble in the United box saw Curtis Burrows get enough of a touch to loop over Harding and in, the three minutes of added time saw the visitor’s throw everything at their hosts but it was all too little too late, the win makes it three out of four for the Oxfordshire outfit as they run into the final third of the season looking for a play-off place. F/T: 4-2

Attendance: 360

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After the game Sports Shots caught up with Banbury manager Mike Ford: 

For match day photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmzAuGfu

SL P; Banbury duo admit burning desire for play-offs ahead of visit from Coalville

Saturday 19th January 2019

Banbury United v Coalville Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Coalville Town on Saturday knowing victory will bring them level on points with their guests although they have played four games more, but more importantly three points could bring them within another win or two of the play-off positions as the division starts to show a slight split between the top and bottom halves, but a good run from anyone could still shake this league up despite the top two sides being streets ahead of the rest. Stourbridge & Kettering seem to be battling it out for automatic promotion at this stage, but then just six points separate third placed King’s Lynn and eleventh place Banbury, and United thought they were on a roll with two successive wins in January however defeat last weekend at Stourbridge means they need to regroup and start again, Coalville haven’t lost in their last six matches with four wins and two draws and victory could edge them into those top five positions so both teams have it all to play for.

Greg Kaziboni

This week Sports Shots caught up with midfielder George Nash & firstly winger Greg Kaziboni to ask when he joined the club and what brought him here:

I’ve been at Banbury since the start of this season, the thing that attracted me here was the gaffer as I liked his vision and his ideas so I jumped on board

George has been at the club a little longer:

I joined the club in October 2015 and by my maths – albeit very limited – that means I’ve been here for just over three years. I initially came on loan from Worcester City at a time when Banbury were just entering a new chapter in their history, but despite the change it was the club’s noticeable ambition, the loyal support, the commitment to a playing philosophy, and the warm palpable sense of community that drew me in and confirmed almost instantly, that this was where I wanted to play my football. I’ve enjoyed great success at Banbury that far exceeds the tangible rewards, promotion from the South and West division being the obvious example that inevitably come as a result of being part of a great club. I’ve shared some memorable moments with some great people, the players, staff & supporters that will undoubtedly stay with me for a long time. The pleasure has always been, and always will be mine

What does George believe is his best position in the side, and what formation most suits his style?

I’m not hugely particular when it comes to formations, but I’m most effective as a holding midfield player – my goal to game ratio can attest to that – where I can pick things up in front of the back four and distribute to our attacking personnel. It’s a fairly unglamorous responsibility, but a role I’m suited to and one that hopefully enables our forward players to go and do their business

Greg likes the position he’s been played so far:

I’m one of those players who will play anywhere that the gaffer tells me to,  but I do enjoy being out on the wing, I would say from our results this season our best formation is four-four-two

How has Greg’s season been personally and as a team on the whole?

Previous to this season I had a really bad injury that saw me miss a couple of years of football so as this is my first season back it’s been good, I’m currently the top goal scorer from a wide position so I can’t complain. I think the team has done well and we are still on course to achieve our goal of finishing in the play-off places, we are very good at home and just need to try and pick up some more points on the road and we should be fine

George Nash

George also started this season after some time away from the game:

Coming back from a period of extensive travelling without a proper pre-season meant I was always going to be playing catch-up, but even so I’ll be the first to admit that my performances weren’t up to the standards I expect of myself in those first couple of months. More recently though I’ve been getting back to the level I need to be at, so I want to ensure I retain those standards going forward

Coalville this week at home, what does George remember of the draw at there place back in November?

The game was a tough physical affair but was also an important turning point in our season, coming back from a goal down with ten men away from home was testament to our character and belief that day, so if we can once again replicate that determination for ninety minutes in front of the home crowd, we have every chance of picking up an important 3 points

Greg believes the home form can over turn their guests:

We drew at their place following a bad run of form so the objective that day was just to get something from the game which we did. I remember their midfielder with long hair scoring a screamer that probably deserved all three points but our captain Ricky (Johnson) made sure that wasn’t the case with a great header in the dying minutes. This Saturday we just need to do what we have done at home and start on the front foot, they will have threats but nothing we can’t handle, hopefully we can get all the cherries!

We asked Greg if he thinks Banbury are good enough to make those play-off places?

I do think we are good enough to make it, but we’re just a bit of an underdog in the race when you consider other sides budgets, we are one that will surprise a lot of people come the end of the season. The play-offs are something we do talk about frequently but we take each game as it comes and don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, its always about the next game and that’s what we focus on

George agrees on the one game at a time theory:

The play-offs at this stage, aren’t something we ever discuss but there’d be no point in turning up for training and games every week if we didn’t have belief in what we can collectively achieve this season. We certainly have the footballing ability, but this league has consistently shown that to be successful, you need to be prepared to do all aspects of the game and do them well. It might be a cliché, but we are very much taking every game as it comes

Two wins and a defeat since the turn of the year, how does George view those games?

Given our results against Stratford and Halesowen, it was important that we started picking up points again quickly and so the results against Alvechurch and Barwell were huge. It also meant we continued our strong recent home form which is vital for any team hoping to do well. Of course, the result at Stourbridge was disappointing, but there were plenty of positives to be taken from our performance. It’s certainly something to build on

Greg feels they did well in all three games:

These were three games which we played well although not winning the last one, so for me that’s a positive as we’ve lost to a team that for me, will probably go on and win the league so we can’t be too down about it, I feel we have done well

Who does Greg think will finish in the top five spaces?

Being honest I couldn’t say who will finish in the top five because its been a season where everyone has beat everyone, and the gap between the top ten teams is really tight. I do think Stourbridge & Kettering will be up there along with Banbury but I don’t know which other teams will be joining us

George concurs with the top two places:

Presently it’s likely that Kettering and Stourbridge will be up there come the end of the season, but other than that it really is anyone’s for the taking. Our own results have shown that in this league, nothing is guaranteed so every week is going to be a battle. Our hope is that in April we still have something to play for, but there’s still a long way to go and plenty of points up for grabs

Finally we asked George to pick anyone in the squad he could give a new job to just for twenty-four hours:

Good question. I’d probably pick Edmund Hottor to be my personal bodyguard for the day. No one would dare come near me…

Greg picks a defender:

I’d get Charlie Wise to be a referee because every game without fail he gives them abuse so it would be nice to see him on the receiving end!

Sports Shots would like to thank Greg & George for their time this week

SL P; Puritan striker back to full fitness and hoping season doesn’t turn Stour

Saturday 12th January 2019

Stourbridge v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

War Memorial Athletic Ground

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United travel to Stourbridge on Saturday to face the side that currently sit top of the pile in the Southern Football League Premier Division Central table, although second place Kettering do sit two points behind with three games in hand, with this taken into consideration it is still a tough test for the Puritans as they look to build upon their one hundred percent start to the New Year. United themselves only sit three points adrift of the play-offs after wins this month over Alvechurch & Barwell which has seen them bag nine goals on aggregate, however they have played more games than those teams in close proximity both above and below them, a goalless draw against their hosts at the Community Stadium early in December with a hastily re-arranged side showed the character within the squad which was duly noted by the Stourbridge manager on the night, but can Mike Ford’s men do it all again on Saturday?

Ricky Johnson

This week Sports Shots caught up with United striker Ricky Johnson to find out how long he’s been at the club and how he’s found it during his time there:

I started as a youngster at Banbury growing up through the youth teams, I had a spell away to play regular senior football then returned under Ady Fuller when I felt the time was right. I left when Ady did and joined Leamington where I won the Southern League Premier and promotion to the Conference North, I then returned here three years later. When the gaffer took over we met up and he expressed his plans and what he thought we could achieve going forward, it didn’t take much persuading for me to come back and I looked forward to trying to get promotion back to this Premier Division which we achieved in the first season

How has the season been for Ricky so far?

It was a slow start to the season for me this year as I was injured towards the end of last season and throughout pre-season, I’ve only really been injury free now since November. I feel I’m now back to fitness and giving my all whenever the team meet up in either training or games

How good is the squad this time around?

I think since the start of the season everyone was excited with the new attacking players that we recruited in the summer, but it’s probably only been the last month or so that the players have completely understood each other’s movements & been on the same page with regards to passing and anticipation to create the chances and goals that we have recently. If we can stay solid at the back we have the attacking players to win us games

Two defeats followed by two wins since the turn of the year, how has this run been?

We were disappointed to lose at Stratford on Boxing Day when we looked like we may get the winner after getting back into the game, that in a way was harder to take than the loss at Halesowen. But with the two wins in the New Year it gets us back on track to kick on this year

Stourbridge this weekend after a goalless draw against them just a few weeks ago, how do Banbury approach it this time around?

I actually missed the game at our place, but from what was said at training we defended brilliantly and unlocked their defence on a number of occasions but we just couldn’t find that final touch. So I would say we do the same again but this time take our chances

How has the travelling involved in this new division affected the squad?

Most of the players we have understand that we are at a level where travelling long distances at times is part of the game, unless you are going to drop down a couple of leagues it is just part of non-league football now

How does Ricky see Banbury finishing the season?

The league this year has definitely been the most competitive that the Southern League has during my time, usually there would be three or four top sides that expect to win each week and three or four bottom sides that expect to lose week after week. This time out any team can beat any other and no result is that surprising. Our main aim must be to perform to the best of our ability week in week out, if we do that we will be in one of the top spots come April

Finally, we asked Ricky if he could spend a day in the life of someone else, who would it be:

Mark Allitt and Noel Gallagher, just to check if they are in fact the same person!!!

Sports Shots would like to thank Ricky for his time this week

SLP; Banbury United defender thinks his team are beginning to Wise up

Saturday 15th December 2018

Banbury United v Kettering Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United face high flying Kettering Town on Saturday at the Community Plant Hire Stadium hoping to build upon the draw they earned on Tuesday at home to Stourbridge. The point took the visitors to the top of the Southern League Premier Division Central table, but Kettering have three games in hand and are only a point behind and are widely thought to be the best bets for the league title come next April, meaning Banbury have it all to do this weekend if they are to get anything out of the game. United are on a run of five draws and a win in their last six, and whilst they sit just four points off the play-off places, they have played more games than most of the sides above them, so anything they can gain this week against the side that reached the FA Cup fourth qualifying round will be seen as a bonus.

Charlie Wise

This week Sports Shots caught up with Puritan defender Charlie Wise and asked how his season has been so far:

The season so far has just been ok. On a personal note I have been pleased with the amount of games I have played and it’s been the first time at Banbury that I have started the season and kept my place. The season started really well in terms of both results and performances, putting early points on the board, for myself starting the campaign as the captain due to Ricky being injured helped me and my levels of performance. I think through September I probably had a couple of games where I wasn’t at my highest level which coincided with us dropping some points, but I have been happier with my levels since then and feel like I have contributed well towards the team

How did Charlie end up at Banbury and what is it like as a club?

I have been at Banbury for four years now albeit with a couple of small spells away and an injury, I signed when I was nineteen whilst I was playing for Brackley Town Saints, Banbury put in their seven dayer for me and the opportunity to play at a higher level, which at the time was Southern League Division One, was simply too good to turn down. Being part of a team that got promoted at the first time of asking was special, and a year of football I will never forget! This really is a great non-league football club, from the board, the management staff, players, all the way to the fans, everybody here plays a part. For a young player like myself, this football club has given so many opportunities that others wouldn’t and all you have to do is look at the age of the current squad to see that. The fact that this is a community owned and run club really does make a difference, and you can see that week in week out by the commitment shown by our fans and our volunteers

How good is this current squad?

It’s definitely the best that we’ve had since I have been here, no questions asked. If you look at the players we have, we really should be placed much higher in the league than we are, we have seven or eight players who would in my opinion walk into most sides in this division, and we have a great mixture of experienced & young talented players in defensive areas. If anything it has taken some time for us to understand one another but I think that mentally this squad is not far off being right up there in this division

Which teams have impressed the most so far this season?

That’s a tough one, of those at the top of the table who we have played against, we have put in some really strong performances against and managed to pick up some good points from, Stourbridge & Royston both looked very organised but nobody has stood out and made us think ‘wow’! If anything playing the teams at that end of the table has given us confidence in knowing we really are just as good and should be up there challenging

Four consecutive draws going into this game, how have these games been?

We have a bit of a habit at the moment of drawing games I know, but this is an improvement on September / October where these games would have been lost by the odd goal. I think we can look at both the Lowestoft and Stourbridge games and feel unlucky that we have not picked up all three points as we had enough chances to win both matches comfortably, the Needham game was a bit different where defensively both sides were poor so as a defender, I have to thank our strikers & wide players for getting us out of a hole and grabbing a point

We asked Charlie what he expects from Kettering and how the squad will prepare:

To be totally honest, personally I don’t know anything about them apart from that they have won a few games. I know that our management will have done their homework and when we get to training on Thursday it will be passed on and we will plan on how to win the game. I think if we do everything right from our point of view, and use the pace we have up front, with the determination we have not to concede at the back then we can beat any team in this division, and that includes Kettering!

With Banbury in twelfth place in the table, does Charlie feel this is a fair reflection of the season so far?

League position is always a fair reflection of the season as points don’t lie after twenty odd games, the simple fact is that we haven’t got as many as we expect from ourselves. We are still in a position where seven points separate the play-offs and seventeenth place so there is a real chance to string some wins together and quickly climb that table. Everyone here knows that we need to win more games and we need to do that sooner rather than later, but entering a very heavily congested month is good because it gives us a chance to do exactly that

Finally we asked Charlie if seeing the constant changes at Banbury is a worry to him or to his team mates?

I think the changes are credit to the depth that we have all over the pitch, as a player it is your job to always do your best and make sure that you are at the best level that you can be, it’s not something to worry yourself about, just do your best and deep down everybody knows that if they are giving their best then the manager picks the eleven which he feels will perform the best on the day, that’s just football. We have a really good squad with a lot of good players which can only keep people on their toes and performing well

Sports Shots would like to thank Charlie for his time this week

SLP; Striker is Pur-ely glad to be back in familiar surroundings

Saturday 24th November 2018

St Ives Town v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

Westwood Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United have had a terrific week after re-signing Ravi Shamsi on loan and then pulling off a stunning single goal victory on Tuesday evening against AFC Rushden & Diamonds, in which the front man was voted man of the match as they gained a much needed three points in what has been a difficult spell for the squad, the win was only their second in their last thirteen games in all competition. They travel on Saturday to fifth bottom St Ives Town who themselves were, until last weekend, on the back of nine defeats in a row in all comps. but put a stop to that with a good two-nil win over Halesowen Town; a United win would see them on the verge of the play-offs whereas defeat would pull their hosts within two points of them in the Southern League Premier Division Central table.

Ravi Shamsi

This week Sports Shots caught up with the returning striker to ask how easy a decision it was to come back to Banbury:

It was very easy for me to join, I had lost my way a bit by going to Halesowen and I needed to get my confidence back, so Banbury was the right choice because I know all the lads here & it’s just what I need to try and get myself back into the Maidenhead set up

What is his favoured position in the side, and is a permanent move back to the Community Hire Stadium ever likely?

I think in a team like Banbury it’s better if I do play in the middle because Kaz (Greg Kaziboni) & Georgio (Rasulo) are very creative players, my runs will help them make better forward passes. I think a move back permanently right now isn’t in my plans, I’m still very young and I’m trying to get myself back into full time football, but what the future holds who knows!

How is it playing in front of the Banbury supporters, and what is his favourite memory of them?

Every time I’ve played here the support has been incredible, the fans are always behind the boys. I think my favourite moment was when I came on and scored that over head kick to win a game, that was definitely one of the best goals I’ve ever scored

We asked Ravi what the manager has asked of him this time round as the club look to get back on track:

I think the last time we won was when I was last here, but the gaffer has told me to pick up where I left off last time, keep working hard for the team and when I get the ball to make it count. I think the team is more than good enough to turn this round so we have to stay positive and just keep working hard

What has been the biggest difference in levels at the various clubs he’s played for?

The biggest difference in this league is having the right team around you, if they don’t know how to use you properly then you cannot show your full potential. I think the difference with other leagues higher than this is that the tempo of the game is much faster, you have to be concentrating for ninety minutes and the players at higher levels are much quicker and stronger

Looking ahead to St Ives this week, is this a must win game, and what info does Ravi have on them after playing against them recently?

This is a big game for us, the type of game we should be winning. I played against them last weekend for Halesowen and they bullied us, I think this game will suit Banbury because of the horrible side of the game that we are very good at. They’re a team that work very hard but I think we have the quality to bring the three points home

First game back in the red n gold saw a win over Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday, how did the game go and which of his team mates impressed?

It was good to be back and playing with these boys, I enjoyed it and I think I played well, I could have taken my chances but that will come naturally. The boys put in a shift and we deserved everything that we put into it. I think Kaz & the left back Matty (Matt Taylor) pleased me the most, everyone did well but I think if I had to pick then those two played very well. Diggs (Steve Diggin) also scored his first goal so hopefully he & I up front can feed each other

Finally, we asked for a vision of the future, and a prediction for the end of this season:

I’m hoping to finish the season on at least fifteen goals, and I want to be back playing full-time football so that’s the aim. I’m not sure where I’ll be yet but somewhere in the football league if I reach the goals I’ve set for myself

Sports Shots would like to thank Ravi for his time this week

SLP; Commercial director proud to have made his Mark on his boyhood club

Saturday 20th October 2018

Banbury United v Royston Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Royston Town this Saturday at the Banbury Community Stadium and with no league win in their last four games will be looking to bounce back against the side they took four points off last season. However, Royston currently sit fifth in the Southern League Central Division table two places above their hosts, and have won five of their last six league games whilst the Puritans will be looking for their first league win in five. The eight league places from third down to tenth are separated by just four points, meaning wins at this stage are vital for those with play-off aspirations.

Mark Allitt

This week Sports Shots decided to catch up with a man whose work behind the scenes at Banbury United may go unnoticed to some but is a vital cog in the running of the club. We caught up with the nattiest of dressers on match day Mark Allitt, and welcoming him to Sports Shots first of all, we asked what exactly he is responsible for and how he got involved in the first place:

Well thank you for asking me for this interview! I’m the commercial director of the club and oversee all our sponsorship activity, commercial revenues and internal fund raising. I liaise with all our sponsors on a daily basis and I’m actively involved with the clubs ‘United in the Community’ project. I have also just started to look at the promotion of our ‘Spencer Clubhouse’ and how we can maximise income there.

I became a director back in August 2015 when the club became supporter owned, I’ve been a fan since I was a little boy coming down to see games with my uncle. I was secretary of the supporters club prior to the takeover and worked with Steve Barlow and James Mathie at Supporters Direct to get the process concluded

Is the role hard work, enjoyable or stressful?

I’m just proud to be part of the Banbury United revival, the club has been a sleeping giant since the heyday of the seventies & to see the club starting to develop is really satisfying for me as someone who has been a fan since a young age. We have a long way to go in terms of where we want to be but we’re on an upward trajectory and we are forming a really solid club. The enjoyment comes from seeing all that’s happening and most importantly seeing people happy & enthused about our club, the fans deserve some success as they’ve been through a lot prior to the supporter take over three years ago

How does today’s squad compare to those previously, and which players stand out?

We have some very talented & exciting players here, I’ve obviously seen so many players at Banbury over the years it’s difficult to compare, but the current team is pushing hard to get us close to the top five and to the next level; Banbury United haven’t done that for many years on a consistent basis and that’s the challenge the current squad has. Lee Henderson has shown his class since joining us from a level above, we have invested in the team & brought in Greg Kaziboni, Steve Diggin, Giorgio Rasulo and now John Mills in the attacking area’s so it is exciting times. Some of the current team have been with us since the takeover like Ricky (Johnson), George (Nash) & Jack (Harding), it’s important to form a nucleus of players and build around it

How does Mark feel the summer league reshuffle has worked out?

We just had to roll with the punch really, we had to deal with an awkward situation in the summer having been placed in the Southern section and then moved to the Central section late on. We had planned for the South, so to be moved so late in the day was frustrating, Mike (Ford) had to deal with the squad issues but primarily as a club we just had to get on with things and I wouldn’t say much has changed at all. The travel is less for us and I think it’s helped with our attendances

How far are the club away from promotion to the next level, and would the club be able to cope?

In my opinion the team has the talent to beat anyone on the day and we can certainly challenge the top five positions. This is our third season back at step three in the non-league pyramid, and personally I think Chippenham are a good bench mark for us, they built a solid club at this level and were always in the mix for the play-offs, they got stronger & stronger before making the step up and are currently doing very well in the regional National League level. This club has never played at step two and it would be a truly historic moment for the club and the town.

I think we would cope well because Banbury in the National League would be a big animal in my opinion, Banbury United v Stockport County for example would attract a crowd of well into four figures

Onto Royston this week, does Mark feel the club do better against familiar teams or those they nothing about?

I’m not sure it really matters to be honest, at non-league level team line ups can change so very quickly from match to match, let alone from season to season. Royston are a solid outfit and are carrying on from where they left off last season, I expect another tough game as they all are at this level. Our boys will need to be up for it, but are more than capable of getting the three points

We asked Mark to think back and pick his best eleven players to have played in his time:

Like I said I’ve been a fan since I was a young boy so this would be the team to span my time as a supporters and a director:

1 Keith Baker

2 Ady Fuller

3 Callum White

4 Pete Smith

5 Ian Bowyer

6 Terry Muckelberg

7 Donovan Gethfield

8 Zac McEachran

9 Andy Baird

10 Norman Sylla

11 Tommy Pearson

Finally, we asked if anyone has thought of getting involved at Banbury United FC, are there still opportunities for match day duties or sponsorship?

There are always avenues for people to get involved at this club. We have a fantastic loyal army of volunteers at BUFC, but we are always needing more help, especially as the club continues to grow. Steve Barlow is the best person to contact regarding volunteers but my number is 07503 162632 or email me at commercial@banburyunitedfc.co.uk

Sports Shots would like to thank Mark for his time this week

2018/19 FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round Draw

The FA Trophy first qualifying round draw was made on Monday with mixed fortunes for both our sides left in the competition.

 

Banbury United (step 3) face a trip to Swindon Supermarine (step 3) who play in the Southern League south league (parallel to the central league that Banbury are in).

To follow the Swindon season click here: https://swindonsupermarinefc.com/results-fixtures

 

If Thame United (step 4) can overcome Larkhall in their replay on Tuesday, they then host Bristol Manor Farm (step 4) who play in the Southern League southern west division (parallel to southern east league that Thame are in).

To follow the Bristol season click here: http://bristolmanorfarm.com/fixtures-results/

 

The draw in full:

THE BUILDBASE FA TROPHY  FIRST ROUND QUALIFYING  SATURDAY 27 OCTOBER 2018 WINNERS RECEIVE £3,250

1 Workington v Scarborough Athletic

2 Marine v Lancaster City

3 Warrington Town v Prescot Cables

4 Pickering Town v Droylsden or Tadcaster Albion

5 Frickley Athletic v Ramsbottom United

6 Whitby Town v Witton Albion

7 Farsley Celtic  v Brighouse Town

8 Ossett United v Clitheroe

9 South Shields v North Ferriby United

10 Hyde United v Bamber Bridge

11 Cleethorpes Town v Marske United or Atherton Collieries

12 Stalybridge Celtic v Nantwich Town

13 Gainsborough Trinity v Tamworth

14 Buxton v King’s Lynn Town

15 Kettering Town v Stourbridge

16 AFC Rushden & Diamonds v St Ives Town

17 Belper Town or Stamford v Leek Town or Loughborough Dynamo

18 Cambridge City v Basford United

19 Carlton Town v Bedworth United

20 Newcastle Town v Chasetown

21 Mickleover Sports v Redditch United

22 St Neots Town v Matlock Town

23 Kidsgrove Athletic v Yaxley

24 Stafford Rangers v Rushall Olympic

25 Soham Town Rangers v Hednesford Town or AFC Mansfield

26 Grantham Town v Halesowen Town

27 Alvechurch v Stratford Town

28 Barwell  v Coalville Town

29 Chipstead v Berkhamsted

30 Sittingbourne v Wingate & Finchley

31 Brentwood Town v Whitstable Town

32 Hythe Town v Bishop’s Stortford

33 Molesey v Walton Casuals

34 Kingstonian v Bedford Town

35 Margate v Potters Bar Town

36 Horsham v Corinthian Casuals

37 Burgess Hill Town v Worthing

38 Dorking Wanderers v Sevenoaks Town

39 Biggleswade Town v Harrow Borough

40 Hitchin Town v Hayes & Yeading United

41 Maldon & Tiptree v Royston Town

42 Haringey Borough v Chesham United

43 Ashford Town (Middx) or Westfield v Lewes

44 Lowestoft Town v Enfield Town

45 AFC Hornchurch  v Phoenix Sports or Ramsgate

46 Kempston Rovers v Beaconsfield Town

47 Folkestone Invicta  v Leatherhead

48 Merstham v East Grinstead Town

49 Tonbridge Angels v Whyteleafe

50 Hendon v Staines Town

51 VCD Athletic v Leiston

52 Mildenhall Town v Greenwich Borough

53 Metropolitan Police v Carshalton Athletic

54 Canvey Island v Brightlingsea Regent

55 Bracknell Town v Bognor Regis Town

56 Whitehawk v Harlow Town

57 Aveley v Dunstable Town

58 Kings Langley v Needham Market

59 Herne Bay v Witham Town

60 Yate Town v Dorchester Town

61 Gosport Borough v AFC Totton or North Leigh

62 Cinderford Town v Street

63 Larkhall Athletic or Thame United v Bristol Manor Farm

64 Farnborough v Merthyr Town

65 Fleet Town v Salisbury

66 Taunton Town v Weymouth

67 Thatcham Town v Melksham Town

68 Poole Town v Frome Town

69 Hartley Wintney v Tiverton Town

70 Didcot Town v Mangotsfield United

71 Basingstoke Town v Wimborne Town

72 Swindon Supermarine v Banbury United

FAC 2QR; Banbury United 0-2 Bath City

Banbury United – 2

Bath City – 0

Banbury United saw their FA Cup campaign come to an end on Saturday as National League South side Bath City scored a brace of belters before half time to seal the game, and frustrate their hosts who found it difficult to create chances against a well drilled defensive unit. A game of few chances played in constant rain rarely sparkled for the home faithful, Ross Stearn scoring both of the City goals which were venomous strikes that gave United keeper Jack Harding no chance what so ever, and the visiting custodian Ryan Clarke had very little to do over the ninety minutes.

Stearn was a constant threat during the afternoon until he was substituted to a rapturous farewell by the numerous black and white adorned supporters towards the end of the game, and an early attack saw he and Anthony Straker combine well down the left before the former fizzed the ball across goal but Harding was first to meet it to gather the danger. Ryan Brunt then tried his luck from the edge of the area but ballooned his shot way over the top, and a corner moments later from their left was met by the head of Robbie Cundy but he headed straight at the United keeper.

It took the hosts fifteen minutes to create anything for Ricky Johnson to attack, a cross from the right met his head at the back post but under severe pressure he could only steer wide, and Greg Kaziboni with Ravi Shamsi then threatened as a good run from the former saw him feed Shamsi on the corner of the Bath area, a clever flick saw him escape his marker but just as it seemed he was in on goal a covering defender got across to block and eventually clear. Despite Banbury looking fairly comfortable dealing with their visitor’s the first goal arrived on the half hour mark.

Stearn doubles City lead

A fierce shot from Adam Mann forced Harding away to his left to parry two handed but the ball landed perfectly for Stearn to run in and rifle into the roof of the net from close range. The goal raised the confidence in the away side and they strove forwards looking for more, a free kick was slung in from out on their left and sliding in at the back post Frankie Artus was inches away from doubling his sides lead, but just three minutes before the break Bath did secure their second. A corner was headed clear but lurking on the edge of the arc Stearn came across to meet the ball perfectly to smash a dipping drive past Harding and into the back of the net. H/T: 0-2

Jordy Ngathe was introduced to the game at half-time for Banbury and he enjoyed a lot of the ball down the flank but the City defence were quite happy to deal with anything their opponents threw at them whilst hitting on the counter attack when they could. The United substitute got down the right early in the second period and found Jack Self on the edge of the penalty box but he could only lift over the top, and another cross from the same player saw a mass of bodies clambering to get a touch at the back post but the ball just rolled agonisingly away for a goal kick.

Shamsi then got down the left and from almost on the byline he flashed the ball across the goal face where the ball seemed to fly parallel with the crossbar as it sailed away to safety with no one up to get the killer touch, and with it the home side seemed to sense from there the game was done. As Bath reasserted themselves, Harding was forced into a superb double save on sixty-nine minutes when Stearn attacked down the left and his low drive saw the keeper push away with both hands, a follow up then saw him have to fling himself back the other way to block and a defender was luckily on hand to thump away.

Jordy Ngathe made a difference after coming on

A vicious drive from distance from Mann had Harding beaten all ends up but as the ball flew past him it hit the goal support as it bounced wide, another stinging volley then saw Charlie Wise in front of his goal somehow manage to flick away for a corner which must have resulted in a headache afterwards, Mann then tried again from twenty-five yards but way over the top. A United attack was broken down deep in the Bath half and despite the calls for a foul from the home support Sean Rigg collected the ball and headed for goal, he ran the length of the field before diagonally shooting across Harding and about two feet wide of the back post.

Rigg then tried from distance but cleared the stand, and with seven minutes left the misery for the Puritans was compounded when a tackle on the edge of the Area saw Lee Henderson collect a second yellow card of the afternoon and sent for an early shower. There was time for Brunt to drag an effort across goal and wide, but the final whistle saw those from the West Country singing in the rain!

Attendance: 654

Please Note: If you use any of our material or images, please ensure you credit sportsshots.org.uk

After the match Sports Shots caught up with Banbury boss Mike Ford: 

For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskJpZfVq

SLP; United keeper & striker hoping to clean up this season, starting with Bath

Saturday 22nd September 2018

Banbury United v Bath City

FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United return to FA Cup action this weekend as they host Bath City of the National League South in the second qualifying round, in what will be a really tough test against the side that sit in fifth place in the level above with six wins and four defeats in their opening ten games of the season. United brought Weymouth back to the Community Hire Stadium in the previous round to progress and will be looking for the giant killing tag and the chance to go further in the competition with some bigger clubs not too far away at this stage.

This week Sports Shots caught up with goalkeeper Jack Harding and striker Amer Awadh ahead of the game, and asked both how good the spirit is within the camp after such a good start, firstly Jack:

We’ve had a really good start considering it’s a new league for us, and most of the teams we’ve played we haven’t really known much about. The lads have settled in really well, all the boys get on well so the atmosphere is great, that definitely shows on the pitch and in our results

Amer agreed:

Yeah it’s been a very good start to the season and all the new lads have settled in really well, and that includes myself too. There’s a really good bond in the squad, unfortunately we lost our unbeaten start last weekend but we bounced back on Tuesday to get another three points

We asked Amer of all the new faces that have come in, who have impressed the most?

Personally I think Greg (Kaziboni) and Hendo (Lee Henderson), Greg because he is so powerful, fast and can use both feet, he’s a defenders nightmare. With Hendo it’s a bit different, he’s given us a lot of stability at the back with his experience, and he reads the game really well

Jack picked out exactly the same players:

Greg has obviously scored a couple of great goals and is very exciting to watch! But as a keeper I’d have to say Hendo, he’s come in and been a rock at the back for us. He has struck up a good partnership with Wisey (Charlie Wise), but to be fair all the new lads that have come in have improved our squad

Jack Harding

Jack hadn’t played until this week with new keeper James Goff coming in and keeping the number 1 shirt, how does Jack think he’s done?

Goffy has done really well for us, he’s been great to train with and is a top lad. It hasn’t been frustrating having to watch him at all, I’ve learnt from him whilst he’s been with us just by watching him and training with him. He’s a great keeper and still only young, the only frustration for me has been not being fit enough to play and help the team

How does Amer feel he has settled into the squad?

I’ve settled in to the squad really well, I have a good bond with all of the players and when it comes to the games I’ve been really enjoying my football recently. The level of football has been challenging but I think I’ve coped really well with it

And has he set himself any targets for the year ahead?

My targets are exactly the same as the teams, get as far as we can in the FA Cup and also get promotion for the club. I really think this could be the year for us; I’d also love to get more goals this season too!

Jack started his first game this week at Bedworth, how was it?

It’s only been seven or eight games but it felt like months. I’m so happy to be back playing and be playing pain free, it’s been a long time. The game wasn’t that great to be honest, we were not at our best but we won three-one so that’s all that matters. It was a game that maybe last year we would have drawn two-two but late on we scored and they didn’t!

We asked Jack how the squad treat the FA Cup when it rolls around.

It is just another game but we’d all love a good FA Cup run! We are confident in our ability and we will try and win the game as we always do, we know it will be a tough game against Bath so we have to be at our best

Amer sees it as a chance to shine:

Yes of course we treat every game the same but obviously the match on Saturday will be a great one to show what we’re really about, and to show everyone how good we are

Amer Awadh

United currently occupy fourth place in the league, we asked Amer how competitive he thinks it will be:

I think it’s too early to say as we haven’t played enough teams so see what we are really up against this season, but I’m expecting it to be a challenging & competitive league

Jack agrees:

It’s a very competitive league, the teams we’ve played so far have been physical and very well organised, it’s too early in the season to rule anyone out. The top ten look very strong

After their first league defeat of the season last week, what did Jack make of the defeat?

I wasn’t there, but from what the lads have said it was just a bad day at the office. We created some chances that we didn’t take and we didn’t make it hard enough for them to score

Amer has similar reflections:

I’d say it was just a bad day at the office, we still created enough chances to at least earn a draw. I wouldn’t say they were better than us but more a case of we made some costly mistakes which led to their goals

Rounding up we asked Amer how each level of football he has experienced so far has differed:

Out of all the club I’ve played for, this is probably the most physical and organised side I’ve played for. I’ve played abroad which was probably my hardest challenge mainly due to the weather and having to cope with a different language. I also played for Oxford City for a while, mostly for the reserve side but making a few appearances for the first team, but I didn’t play enough to say that’s the best level I’ve played at

And has Jack any fond memories of the FA Cup?

I haven’t been involved in a great cup run at senior level yet, but made it to the first round with the Under 18’s for Banbury. We played Dagenham & Redbridge at home on a Tuesday night under the lights, where we lost two-one but we gave it a really good go!

Sports Shots would like to thank both Amer and Jack for their time this week