Archive for Banbury United Football Club

SLP; Rushall Olympic v Banbury United match preview with summer signing Steve Diggin

Saturday 11th August 2018

Rushall Olympic v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division Central

Dales Lane

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury open their season in their new division this Saturday with a fifty-nine mile trip to Rushall Olympic, just to the north-east of Walsall, at a club who find themselves in a similar position to their guests in that they were transferred divisions during the summer as a result of the FA restructuring of the non-league pyramid.

Whilst Banbury were side shifted divisions in the same league from the Southern League Premier Division South to Central, Olympic have moved leagues from the Northern League Premier Division to join the Southern League. At least a fair start for both sides as neither will know much about the other!

A good pre-season campaign for Banbury will see the squad in good spirits going into the game, just the one defeat listed in their seven fixtures but a much changed squad will don the gold n red kit this week-end, including summer signing Steve Diggin who joined from local rivals Banbury United.

Diggin finished his career at Brackley in May by scoring a penalty in the FA Trophy Final penalty shoot-out win over Bromley at Wembley, and this week Sports Shots caught up with the front man to ask how life has been since joining the Puritans:

It’s been good so far, I’ve really enjoyed it and we’ve obviously been working hard but that’s been enjoyable so I feel I’ve managed to settle in quite well

We asked if the Wembley experience back in May will help him with playing at Banbury:

Yes that was basically the perfect way to leave Brackley really, an unreal experience that I will never ever forget but it’s a new season now and I will be 100% concentrating on doing well for Banbury United

We asked how pre-season has been around the club:

Our pre-season has been really good, while we work hard we have a laugh at the same time, but there seems to be a good feeling around the place

Are the squad ready for the new campaign?

Yes the start of another long season but we are ready, like I said earlier we’ve all worked really hard and it all leads up to this Saturday, so we’re definitely up for it and hoping to get off to a winning start

Are there any season targets for the striker?

Hmm, as a striker our targets are obviously goals so I’ll hopefully be going for at least 20 goals this season, and as a team we are hoping for at least the play-offs

And finally, what do the squad know about Rushall?

To be honest at the minute not too much, but we still have a training session before the game to work on stuff and I’m sure we’ve had them watched. I’m sure we’ll be given some info ahead of the game.

Sports Shots would like to thank Steve for his time this week.

Southern League fixtures announced

The Southern Football League announced the 2018/19 fixtures on Thursday, and for our three local clubs the wait is finally over as they discover their fixture list in their reshuffled leagues.

Banbury United:

Banbury start their season in a new division with a trip to Walsall to face Rushall Olympic who themselves were playing Northern League football until the FA restructuring, before their first home match brings Halesowen Town to the Community Stadium, another side playing Northern Premier football last season.

Sat 11th Aug Rushall Olympic v Banbury 3pm

Tue 14th Aug: Banbury v Halesowen Town 7.45pm

Sat 18th Aug: Banbury v Leiston 3pm

To view Banbury United fixtures for 2018/19 month by month use this link:

Aylesbury FC:

Aylesbury face a tricky start with a trip into the unknown as they travel to Warwickshire to face Coleshill Town who finished runners-up in the Midland League last season to earn promotion to the Southern League, before a home game against last years beaten play-off semi-finalists AFC Dunstable.

Sat 18th Aug: Coleshill Town v Aylesbury 3pm

Tue 21st Aug: Aylesbury v AFC Dunstable 7.45pm

Mon 27th Aug: Berkhamsted v Aylesbury 3pm

To view Aylesbury FC fixtures for 2018/19 month by month use this link:

Aylesbury United:

United open at home to Bedfordshire side Kempston Rovers who did the double over the Ducks last season, before a trip to Didcot Town who have been transferred over from the Southern League Division One West Division, and finished sixth last season.

Sat 18th Aug: Aylesbury United v Kempston Rovers 3pm

Tue 21st Aug: Didcot Town v Aylesbury United 7.45pm

Mon 27th Aug: Aylesbury United v Thame United 3pm

To view Aylesbury United fixtures for 2018/19 month by month use this link:


Saturday 25th August is FA Cup week-end, to revisit the fixtures follow this link:

SL; Banbury Utd appeal rejected & Carnell moves on

Back in June when the FA released their allocations for the restructured non-league pyramid, Banbury United were placed in the Southern League South division, but then on 8th June it was announced due to Shaw Lane folding and the leagues having to restructure again, Banbury had been laterally moved to the South League central division.

The club immediately announced it’s plan to appeal the decision, and that appeal was heard on Monday where it was confirmed that United would indeed be playing in the Central division for the forthcoming season.

The club released the following statement:

The Board of Directors is disappointed by the outcome of yesterday’s (Monday 2nd July) FA appeal hearing relating to the lateral movement of the club’s league allocation for 2018-19 on 8th June.

Our appeal was not motivated by being placed in the Southern League Premier Central Division, but the timing of the decision.

The FA Appeal Panel judged that the original decision of the FA Leagues Management Committee (LMC) was reasonable.

We had argued, as did the other affected clubs, Hednesford and Fleet, that the decision was not reasonable given the late notification of the change. This has seriously impacted our planning for the 2018-19 season and meant that that we were not being treated equably compared to other unaffected teams. We gave detailed information relating to this.

We argued that the impact of the demise of Shaw Lane could have been managed in other ways, including within the Northern Premier Division and its feeder leagues. The confirmation of league line ups comes far later than the relevant league AGMs, something which the FA strive to achieve.

We also showed that there was a lack of clarity relating to the regulations which govern the lateral movement of clubs and that the FA LMC had not actually applied one of the regulations. In terms of governance it is difficult to understand how decisions can be made when the relevant regulations are not actually followed.

The matter is now closed. The club is fully focused on planning to compete in the Southern League Premier Division Central Division for the 2018-19 season

Within hours of the announcement the club then revealed that defender Luke Carnell is to leave the club due to the travelling involved with their placement in the central division.

As a result of yesterday’s FA ruling in respect of our league allocation for 2018-19, Luke Carnell has advised Mike Ford he is leaving the club.

Luke joined Banbury in October 2016 and made 87 appearances and scored 17 goals in his time at the club. He won the Supporters’ Players of the Season, the Players’ Player and the Puritans Radio Player awards last season.

However, living in Didcot, he has decided, for family and work reasons, the travel commitment for matches is too great in the Central Division.

Commenting on the news manager Mike Ford said “I am very disappointed to lose Luke who has been excellent for the club since joining us a couple of months into our first season back at Premier Division level. His commitment has been outstanding and wherever he plays next season, they will be getting a great addition to their team. I fully understand Luke’s reasons for leaving and can only wish him all the best in the future.”

Luke commenting on his decision said “Following yesterday’s failed appeal, having already agreed terms with Mike over the summer to remain a Banbury player, presuming we were in the Southern Premier South, I’ve had to make the hardest decision to leave a club I’ve loved playing for and had a fantastic time at. With the extra travelling from Didcot and the fact my wife and I are expecting our first child in October, I just felt I couldn’t commit to play at Banbury. I’d like to thank everyone at Banbury United from Mike and his staff, the players, all the board members and the fans for all the support they’ve given me and the team during my time at the club. It was everything I was promised when I agreed to sign and more. I’d like to wish you all the best for the season and hope the club goes on to get that desired and deserved promotion.”

We thank Luke for his contributions and commitment during his time with the club and wish him every success in the future.

Luke Carnell

To see the clubs Banbury now face this season follow this link:

SL; Banbury United lateral movement revealed

Banbury United revealed late on Friday evening that they have been laterally moved from the Southern League Southern to the Southern League Central Division; the knock on effect after clubs had to be shuffled around as Shaw Lane FC announced they were folding.

Taken from the Banbury United website:

United have been advised of a change of league allocation for 2018-19

The FA were notified today by Shaw Lane AFC that they are to withdraw from the Northern Premier League’s Premier Division.

As a result, the FA have written to the club this evening to advise that the following will apply:

* Wimborne Town are to fill the vacancy at Step 3 and will be placed in the Southern League South

* Banbury United will be laterally moved to the Southern League Central

* Hednesford Town will be laterally moved to the Northern Premier League

* FC Romania are promoted to Step 4

* Fleet Town are to be laterally moved to the Southern League West


Below are the original divisions listed back in May:

Step 3- Southern League Central 
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Bedworth United
Biggleswade Town
Coalville Town
Halesowen Town
Hednesford Town
Hitchin Town
Kettering Town
King’s Lynn Town
Lowestoft Town
Needham Market
Redditch United
Royston Town
Rushall Olympic
St Ives Town
St Neots Town
Stratford Town

Step 3 – Southern League South
Banbury United (now moved to the Central division)
Basingstoke Town
Beaconsfield Town
Chesham United
Dorchester Town
Frome Town
Gosport Borough
Harrow Borough
Hartley Wintney
Kings Langley
Merthyr Town
Metropolitan Police
Poole Town
Staines Town
Swindon Supermarine
Taunton Town
Tiverton Town
Walton Casuals

Banbury have said their board will consider the matter.

For the Shaw Lane AFC statement click here:

SLP; Banbury United 3-3 Merthyr Town

Banbury United – 3

Merthyr Town – 3

Banbury United conceded late in the game to end their 2017/18 home campaign with a draw against a spirited Merthyr side on Saturday. The visitors led at half-time thanks to an Ian Traylor penalty but fell behind early in the second half thanks to an inspired half-time substitution by Puritans boss Mike Ford, bringing on Leam Howards who bagged himself a brace to give the hosts the lead. However, they were pegged back when The Martyrs levelled but took just sixty seconds to regain their lead through Elliot Sandy, a goal which looked like winning them the game, but Town struck in the ninetieth minute to take a point back to Wales.

The first forty-five minutes gave no indication of what lay ahead for the spectators, neither side really testing either keeper, and a flurry of offside flags and over hit passes made poor viewing for those baking in the warm sunshine. A second minute effort from Owain Jones thumped past United keeper Jack Harding’s left hand post, whilst at the opposite end a through ball looked to have set Sandy in on goal but Merthyr’s teenage keeper Ed Hewitson was off his line in a flash to smother.

From the goal kick Jones got in behind the Banbury backline and got his shot away from twelve yards which Harding did well getting down to block, however the raised flag on the far side would have interrupted any goal celebration had he scored. Jones then played a great one-two with Corey Jenkins on the edge of the United box, but could only drag his shot wide. Just past the quarter hour mark Banbury broke at pace down their left through Sam Humphreys who cut in towards goal, his low drive cleared to the edge of the box where Jack Self fired low between a mass of bodies but a slight deflection took the ball out for a corner.

Traylor scores from spot

Kerry Morgan then found some space some twenty yards out, flicking the ball up he hit it on the volley and it was heading top corner until Harding threw himself backwards to push away one handed, before anyone could react the flag was raised for an offside. Then on thirty-eight minutes the away side were awarded a penalty, Jones out on the left wing took on Charlie Wise and tried to drag the ball back across the defender, a lucky deflection off his boot saw the Merthyr front man nip around Wise and head for the penalty area, as the Banbury man tried to shield the ball out for a goal kick the two collided & Jones went down, and to his shock the referee pointed to the spot. Traylor took the penalty and gave Harding no chance what so ever, firing onto the corner. H/T: 0-1

Howards was introduced as the sides kicked off for the second period, and it took just five minutes for him to equalise. A huge goal kick from Harding bounced away for Self to chase after, as Hewitson came out the ball was cut back across goal by the United man which left the two central defenders chasing back flat footed, inbetween them Howards back heeled the ball towards goal and it rolled into the unguarded net.

Howards made a huge impact on the Banbury performance lifting them with his pace and constant chasing down, and he was rewarded again on sixty-nine minutes with his second to give the Puritans the lead. A free kick out on the right just outside the area saw Tom Winters loft the ball in & Luke Carnell got in a header that Hewitson did well to dive away to his left to palm away, but on the six-yard line Howards was unmarked to smash home.

Howards made immediate impact

That lead lasted just five minutes, some poor defending allowing Merthyr to equalise, Harry Franklin chipped a ball over the top for Jones to get down the right channel, he squared across the box and running in at the back post Corey Jenkins couldn’t miss. As quick as they equalised they fell behind again, a high ball sent upfield from Wise saw a defender struggle with the bounce, again Howards in the thick of the action was fed through and he fired across goal, at the back post Winters pulled back to Sandy who fired into the roof of the net from five yards out.

Merthyr rallied and a fierce drive from substitute Lee Price saw Harding dive away to his left to save with both hands, before Jenkins attacked down the left again, his shot flashed across goal and took a deflection somewhere as a corner was awarded. As the clock ticked into the final minute, Banbury hearts were broken when their guests equalised again. A ball over the home defence saw a shot fired across the goal mouth, in the middle Jones instinctively stuck out his boot and the ball bounced off the inside of the post and in.

There was time for a late chance for the home side, a free kick just inside the Merthyr half was floated high into their box by Winters, climbing highest was substitute Ricky Johnson but he was always underneath the ball and could only loop his header high over the bar. F/T: 3-3

Attendance: 512

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

After the game Sports Shots spoke to Banbury boss Mike Ford: 

For match photography click here:

SLP; Wise words before Banbury can think about Sandy beaches

Saturday 21st April 2018

Banbury United v Merthyr Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United entertain Merthyr Town on Saturday in their final home game of the current season, and will be looking to finish their home campaign with a win after a midweek defeat at St Neots. Whilst The Puritans could still finish sixth & one place outside the play-offs, they would still be a long way off those above, as the competitive nature of this league still see’s fifth place Slough with the potential to finish on ninety-nine points yet finish in the last play-off place, and the top four could all finish on over one hundred points each. Two of those definitely will not go up, meaning a fantastic season in terms of points tally will ultimately result in disappointment. Can United send the home faithful home happy for the summer?

Ahead of the game Sports Shots caught up with Elliot Sandy & Charlie Wise, and asked Charlie what he remembered about the game at their place earlier in the season, where his side triumphed on the night?

I remember a long long trip on a Tuesday night, unfortunately I was injured that night and didn’t play. Merthyr were a young side who played well and if it wasn’t for Leams smart finish it could have been a very different result. Their form is very good of late so Saturday will be a massive test

Elliot agreed:

When we travelled over there they were going through a few troubles and had a young side out, we enjoyed a good win but they have sorted themselves out since, and are much improved so we are expecting a much tougher battle this time round

Elliot Sandy

We asked Charlie what happened in the defeat at St Neots on Tuesday:

The game was difficult to say the least, I think we made it more difficult than it needed to be but full credit to St Neots, they had a game plan and executed it with good quality & consistency. I think everybody could see the minutes we had all played in the previous nine or ten days, but we’ve had a few days rest now so will expect to be back at 100% on Saturday

Elliot looked back at the run his side had been on:

We’d been on such a great run until that disappointing game on Tuesday, but that was our fifth game in ten days!! There isn’t a secret behind it, we have a very good team who on our day can match anybody in this league as results have shown, our lack of consistency at times this season is what has cost us dearly

How does Elliot think Banbury have competed against the top sides this season?

I think it has been a solid season from Banbury, in all levels of football money talks so it’s no surprise to see the top five big hitters securing the top five positions. But as I touched on before, in our recent games against them we have matched all of them and with such a young squad I would hope the younger lads learn from this season to push on next season

Where does Charlie think Banbury need to improve to push on next season?

The top five this season have dominated, you can tell that by the points tally & the gap between them and the rest of us. At Banbury we believe that we can be a club inside that top five, and we haven’t been a million miles away this year but it’s just been about our consistency. Consistency from individuals that’s lead to consistency from the team, this is something that can only get better with time so next season we look to improve and push on. You only have to look at the amount of draws we have had to realise how close we are to challenging the clubs at the top

Charlie Wise

How does Charlie feel his own season has been?

For me personally it’s been great, I started the season at Wantage Town in the Hellenic Premier and was playing, in late August early September I made the decision I wanted to be at Banbury no matter what. I was very lucky that the gaffer gave me the opportunity to get fit & prove to the staff, the squad and the supporters that I could be good enough to play at this level. If someone had said to me back in October, when I wasn’t getting anywhere near the squad and training on my own to work on my fitness, that I would get twenty odd appearances most of which have been from the start, I wouldn’t have believed them, so now I am enjoying playing, and feel extremely lucky to be playing at this level and doing so with Banbury United makes it even better!

And has Elliot enjoyed his season?

For me it’s been a season of two halves. I started the season well at Stamford but needed surgery on a minor problem which set me back a couple of months, then I joined Banbury and feel I have gone from strength to strength gaining fitness, scoring goals and helping the team more as I got fitter & back to nearer my best. I’m happy with my goal return here, and am feeling positive looking towards next season

Finally, what does the summer hold for Charlie?

The summer holds a holiday or two but I am also putting together a fitness plan for the off season. Anton Sambrook has been helping me all season staying behind after training, helping with diets and has made a massive difference, so thankfully he has said he will help put together a summer plan so that when pre-season comes along, I will have the best possible chance of getting a starting place in the team when the first league game arrives

And Elliot has a message to the Banbury faithful:

I’d like to say to all the United fans thank you for all your support home & away this season, you have been brilliant! Now rest up, enjoy the World Cup, and I will hopefully see you next season for a big promotion push!

Sports Shots would like to thank Charlie & Elliot for their time this week.

SLP; Banbury put Farnborough through pure El

Banbury United – 4

Farnborough – 1

Banbury United kept up the pressure on the play-off places in the Southern League Premier Division with a thumping win over Farnborough; Elliot Sandy the hero scoring all four goals. United led at the break and seconds after the restart scored again to take a two goal lead, but when Farnborough pulled a goal back a few nerves kicked in until the visiting keeper Craig Bradshaw lost his head with Ricky Johnson, pushing the striker to the floor on the goal line, resulting in an early shower for the shot stopper and a penalty for the hosts. Sandy converted the spot kick to seal his hatrick, and with the extra man went on to dominate the remainder and exact some revenge for the defeats earlier in the season, and gain their first ever win over the Hampshire side.

The game started slowly, just a corner apiece without much threat in the opening ten minutes barely got the crowd excited as the skies grew increasingly darker. On fourteen minutes a cross from the left flank from Tom Winters almost caught Bradshaw out and had him back tracking to acrobatically turn over his own crossbar. As the half progressed United slowly took control and looked the more dangerous, on the half-hour mark a free kick into the Farnborough box was flicked on by Sandy to Ricky Johnson who netted however a raised flag denied any celebration.

Elliot Sandy gives Banbury lead

Farnborough however did not heed the warning, as just a minute later another Winters free kick was flicked on by Luke Carnell, and on the edge of the six-yard box Sandy turned and smashed home to give his side the lead. United continued to press after the goal however very few chances materialised as the game drifted out to the break. H/T: 1-0

Before either side had chance to settle after the break, Banbury doubled their lead barely forty seconds in when Winters crossed from the left wing and stealing in at the near post Sandy swept home inside the near post, sending the home supporters into raptures. The hosts now sensed more and a free kick into the Farnborough box was headed narrowly over by Johnson.

The visitors slowly but surely started to fight back, on fifty-three minutes half-time substitute Jaydon Antwi dispossessed a United defender out on the right touchline and advanced towards goal, from twelve yards out he fired wide despite colleague Connor Calcutt in the middle unmarked, who certainly made his feelings clear.

Kieran Rhule then forced United keeper Martin Herdman into a decent save at the foot of his near post, turning away for a corner. Then on fifty-seven minutes the away side pulled a goal back, a low drive from Josh Bailey on the edge of the box was saved by Herdman but following up Antwi knocked home running in from the six-yard line, despite the suspicion of offside.

Now it was the visitors turn to apply some pressure, sensing they could possibly get something from the game, Antwi got away from Carnell inside the Banbury box and saw a fierce shot saved at point blank range by Herdman who used to his legs to block. Paul Stonehouse then blocked a Keano Deacon shot as Farnborough started getting a head of steam up and the equaliser seemed imminent. However, it all fell apart on seventy-three minutes when a Winters free kick from the left was challenged for by Bradshaw & Johnson right on the goal line, as the ball was cleared the keeper appeared to clash with the Puritan striker and a push saw Johnson fall inside the goal area. The referee immediately pointed to the spot and brandished a red card to the Farnborough custodian.

Johnson & Bradshaw challenge

Skipper CJ Fearn donned the gloves, and his first job was to recover the ball from the back of the net after Sandy completed his hattrick from the spot kick. The goal changed the complexion of the game for both sides, Banbury pushed for more whilst their guests tried to defend as best they could. A corner saw Carnell head for the top corner but Fearn was quick to gather with both hands.

With a minute left, a free kick was awarded to the home side a few feet outside the area, Sandy angled the ball across the area and despite a few bodies trying to get something on it, the ball bounced into the far corner to complete a memorable afternoon for the Banbury midfielder. F/T: 4-1

Attendance: 373

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

After the game Sports Shots spoke to four goal hero Elliot Sandy: 
And also manager Mike Ford: 

For match photography click here:


SLP; Banbury v Farnborough preview with Jack Self & George Nash

Saturday 10th March 2018

Banbury United v Farnborough

Southern League Premier

Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury take on Farnborough on Saturday at the Plant Hire Community Stadium looking to extend their recent six-game unbeaten run and keep alive their faint hopes of making the divisional play-offs come the end of the season. Having drawn their last two league fixtures Mike Ford and his side will be looking to get back to winning ways and gain some confidence ahead of their Oxfordshire Senior Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, where they face Kidlington for the right to face Oxford City in the final. However, Farnborough have won their last three league games, and beat United back in January in the reverse league fixture, so another tough battle is guaranteed.

Ahead of the game, Sports Shots caught up with Puritan midfielders Jack Self and George Nash, and asked Jack what the squad have done with their weather enforced time off:

The squad have been working hard in preparation for each game as normal, we prepared for St Neots hoping we wouldn’t be beaten by the weather but unfortunately the ‘beast from the east’ took over. So, we’ve trained this week with the view to Saturday’s game, making sure we’re set up physically & tactically

George discussed the positives of having a break:

I’d say the rest has come as both a help and a hindrance really. Given our recent run of good results, you could say a two-week break has the potential to disrupt the momentum we’ve picked up in this run, but with the recent spout of injuries & illness among the squad it gives us the opportunity to recover and replenish our numbers

We asked Jack what Banbury have learnt this season about their visitors:

We have faced them three times already this season, so we know a fair bit about the way they play, and despite the disappointing results against them, our performances have deserved much more. But we’re in a results industry so we need a good result to back up what will hopefully be a good display

Jack Self

George agreed:

We know our performances in the games against Farnborough this season haven’t been to the standards we set ourselves, and our results in those games reflect that. That said, Farnborough are a committed & hard-working side, and so we know this will be a tough game, all three games against them this term have been. We need to make sure we stamp our authority on the game as early as we can, and play at the intensity & in the manner we have tried to all season

We asked George if the recent number of changes to the playing squad has affected things:

Most of our lads have been around the non-league game long enough to know that squad changes are somewhat of an inevitability. It’s not something we can control or affect, so I don’t think it has had too much of an impact – we just need to accept it and remain focused. If anything, I guess it reinforces how – be it Southern League or Premier League – a place in a squad is never a given right, and that each week you’re having to stake your claim for a starting place

Jack looked at the number of draws of late:

Since the turn of the year we have been more mature in our performances, controlling the majority of games. Three of the four draws we’ve had, we were leading going into the latter stages of the game. It’s important now we maintain our focus and protect our goal right until the final whistle

We asked both players for their thoughts on their own personal season so far, Jack first:

I’d like to think I’ve had a good season especially since the turn of the year, I’ve contributed towards the ‘goals for’ column and believe I’ve played a key part in our recent upturn in form. I’d love to reach double figures by the end of the season but more importantly achieve the highest possible league position we can

George Nash

George wants more consistency:

Speaking candidly, I’d probably say my own personal season has matched that of the team. I’ve had some good games, and some not so good. One thing I am consistently striving for in my game, is funnily enough, consistency! I perhaps haven’t maintained the high levels I set for myself for long enough. I’d like to have chipped in with a few more goals, but I understand that isn’t my role in the side – that, and if I could only stop those nosebleeds every time I cross the halfway line!

Rounding up, we asked if George believes Banbury can still make a play-off place:

It’s a cliché but we just have to take each game as it comes. Collectively we’ve set goals for ourselves between now and the end of the season, so first and foremost we’ll aim to meet those. Whether a play-off place then comes into the equation remains to be seen

Jack thinks it is possible:

I believe we’re more than capable of reaching the play-offs. We have to win all our games and keep putting the pressure on those teams above us to make sure we’re in the picture come the end of the season

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

SL; Banbury v Basingstoke preview with Jack Harding & Luke Carnell

Saturday 20th January 2018

Banbury United v Basingstoke Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Basingstoke Town on Saturday looking to keep their recent good form going, having lost just once in their last five games in January. With three wins and a draw in that run, United find themselves back on the fringes of the divisional play-offs, however having played more games than anyone above them, including eight games more than Slough, their destiny is no longer in their own hands, and will rely on the teams above them slipping up if they are to snatch a play-off place. With sixteen league games left all Banbury can do is worry about their own performances.

Ahead of the game Sports Shots spoke with goalkeeper Jack Harding & defender Luke Carnell, and we asked Jack to recall Banbury visiting Basingstoke back in October:

That was a very tough game! They are a very good footballing side and they worked hard for each other. I think they were on top in the first half but we went in at 1-1. I remember the second half better because we controlled the majority of it, but simply could not find the next goal. I think they scored their second on the break, then a third late on when we were pushing for an equaliser. It was tough to take but they took their chances well

Luke also remembered the game well:

Basingstoke away was a poor game for us, we didn’t look too threatening going forward and looked rather vulnerable at the back, so we need to be more solid defensively, be patient in possession and let our attacking players do what they do best

We reminded Luke that back then the side were in a losing sequence of games, and he looked at the consequence of winning games:

Times are always hard when you’re on a losing run but on the flip side you gain confidence and momentum from positive results. Hopefully we can continue this mini unbeaten run we’ve got going and extend it further

We asked Jack which players he felt have made a difference to the squad lately:

The lads that are still with us! Elliot (Sandy), Jordy (Ngathe) & Charlie Wise over the past few weeks have been key players for us. Jack Finch is another, he was superb when he came in but then got injured. It will be good for us to get him back fit and playing again

Jack Harding

Luke also picked up on the squad:

Our personnel has changed slightly since that game back in October, I feel we are now a batter outfit than then. We are playing to our strengths which is proving very effective lately

Does Jack feel the play-offs are achievable?

Most definitely, on our day we can beat anyone in this league. We just need to get a good run going and then see where it takes us. But we believe we can challenge for those play-off places

We asked both players how they feel their own personal seasons have gone, Jack has found it tough:

The first two seasons we’ve had the best defensive record in our play off winning season and then the second best defensive record in our first season back in this division. This season we’ve conceded more goals so I feel I definitely haven’t been as consistent this year

Luke agreed on consistency:

From a personal note we’ve not kept enough clean sheets for my liking, and we also haven’t ground out enough 1-0 results when going to difficult grounds to play at, and we haven’t always been on top form as a side. On a positive I have managed to chip in with a few goals so I’m hoping to build on both of these aspects

Luke Carnell

We asked Luke just where Banbury can finish the season:

I know it sounds a cliché, but I just want us to finish as high up the table as we possibly can, go into every game trying to take all three points and then see how many points we can accumulate between now and the end of the season

And finally looking ahead to next week-end, a huge game ahead for Banbury agreed Jack:

Away to Hereford is definitely a game to look forward to. Playing in front of a couple of thousand people is the dream for any player at this level, we’ll be looking forward to it for sure

Sports Shots would like to thank Luke & Jack for their time this week.


Tiverton Town 2-2 Banbury United

Tiverton Town – 2

Banbury United – 2

Banbury United survived a second half onslaught on Saturday at Tiverton to earn the right to replay this FA Trophy first qualifying round tie, despite looking odds on at half time to progress after taking a two goal lead and looking comfortable with it, their hosts scored two quick goals at the start of the second half and as the wind picked up so did the tempo as Town sensed they could win the game but United defended well and now face a replay on Tuesday at The Community Hire Stadium.

The opening moments were rather devoid of any real goal attempts, Banbury saw some good movement down their left to release Matt Peake-Pijnen but his cross was comfortable for Martin Rice in the home goal to gather, and a Tiverton corner saw a mass of bodies fighting for a touch but a good strong hand from United keeper Jack Harding saw him push the ball away and a lunging boot from a team mate cleared any possible danger.

The visitor’s then took the lead on fifteen minutes from a simple throw in routine, Peake-Pijnen took the throw out on the left to Ravi Shamsi on the corner of the box, he allowed the ball to roll across his body before turning and firing inside the near post.

Shamsi fires opener

Tiverton rallied after the goal and a good save from Harding and a desperate block from skipper Luke Carnell kept them at bay, before a free kick awarded on the edge of the Banbury box saw Owen Howe thump at goal and again Harding got down well to his left to save two-handed. Nick Hurst then got away down the right for the home side and fizzed the ball across the goal mouth but no fellow team mates were anywhere near getting to the ball before it rolled harmlessly away for a goal kick.

A hefty challenge on Peake-Pijnen on twenty-eight minutes saw him have to be taken off and replaced by Tom Winters. Some sections of the home crowd seemed to think the challenge was worthy of more than a yellow card, but a caution was all that was given, and Tiverton went on to enjoy some possession of the ball; a right wing cross found captain Jamie Price in the middle and he swivelled to shoot but didn’t connect properly and screwed his effort wide.

Price then hurt himself stretching for a ball and ended up having lengthy treatment on the pitch before being stretchered off. Further punishment was inflicted three minutes into added time when Banbury doubled their lead, a ball into the Town area seemed to be fairly safe but as substitute James Richards looked set to deal with the threat he stumbled and allowed Shamsi to collect the ball, draw out the keeper before crossing to Jefferson Louis who got ahead of Tom Gardner to slot home. H/T: 0-2

Eight minutes after the break a right wing cross from Charlie Hawtin was met by the head of Louis who headed home, but the goal was disallowed by the referee despite the Banbury striker taking a boot to the face and having to go off for treatment for a bloodied nose and swollen eye, and eventually had to be replaced by Conor McDonagh.

Moments later a Tiverton free kick was struck goalwards by Ollie Knowles, as the ball deflected off the Banbury wall inside the area a huge appeal for handball went up but the referee waved play on. But on the hour mark another free kick to the home side again went into the Banbury wall, as the player struck by the ball went down the whistle sounded and a penalty was awarded, much to the amazement of the home crowd. Howe didn’t hesitate to take the spot kick, and sent Harding the wrong way. Tiverton now had their tails up!

Tiverton score penalty

Four minutes later the tie was all square, and the goal of the game was initiated by Knowles who produced a perfectly weighted ball down the right wing for Jamie Short to chase after, he crossed and running in Callum Hall flashed the ball past Harding giving the United keeper absolutely no chance.

The home side were now sensing the win, and almost snatched a third when Nick Hurst did well to get to the byline and cross, sliding in at the back post Tom Bath was inches away from connecting, soon followed by Knowles who tried his luck from twenty-five yards but angled his drive wide, and Howe collecting the ball out on the right cut across the Banbury eighteen yard line before unleashing a fierce drive that swooped over the crossbar.

Despite their pressure Tiverton almost orchestrated their own downfall when a throw in deep in their own half went completely wrong and set in McDonagh with a one on one with Rice, but the keeper saved well and gathered the rebound to save his team mates blushes. A Harding goal kick then saw substitute Ricky Johnson flick on and again McDonagh in behind the Town defence, as the keeper advanced he fired across goal and agonisingly just wide of the back post. F/T: 2-2

Attendance: 248

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


For match photography click here: