Archive for Banbury United Football Club

SL PDC; Banbury United 2-0 Royston Town

Banbury United – 2
Royston Town – 0

17.08.2019

Banbury United secured their first win of the new season with a goal in the first & final minute from John Mills & Ricky Johnson respectively, sandwiched between the other ninety-five minutes were two red cards for the visitor’s which saw them play seventy-five minutes with ten men, and the remaining eleven minutes of time with nine. A game lacking in clear cut chances almost had a second for the hosts just a minute after their first, from there neither side really tested either keeper & it took a last gasp second to seal the game much to the relief of the home faithful.

Barely sixty seconds on the clock saw Johnson in the centre circle lay into the path of Mills for him to advance into the box and slot past Town keeper Joe Welch into the bottom corner, moments later the same player fed Amer Awadh to race into the area but this time Welch got down well to block with his legs. Royston were reduced to ten men on the quarter hour mark when Harold Joseph lunged into a tackle on Johnson with the referee showing no hesitation in reaching for his red card, despite the advantage United never really threatened again before the break apart from a long range effort from Giorgio Rasulo.

Ricky Johnson secures the points late on

After the break Royston looked much livelier but again failed to break down a resolute red backline, the closest they came saw a break down their right fizzed across the eighteen yard line where incoming Scott Bridges thundered a shot off a Banbury defender Jack Westbrook which wrong footed Harding but rolled a yard or so wide of his left hand post. With eleven minutes remaining Royston were reduced further when defender Ed Asafu-Adjaye got caught in possession by Banbury substitute Jannai Gordon, the pair committed to a crunching tackle to win the loose ball and as the Puritan looked set to get away the former Luton Town Wembley winner kicked out and again the referee did not hesitate to flash a straight red.

As the board went up to signal an additional six minutes of play the tension rose as the home side tried to keep the ball in their opponents half as long as they could, the points finally sealed in that final minute when Charlie Hawtin won the ball out on the right & knocked through to Johnson just inside the box, with the white defence all out of position a desperate challenge from Gus Scott-Morriss was in vain as the front man kept his cool before slotting home. F/T: 2-0

Attendance: 405

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

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

For 2 pages (131 images) of match day photography please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmGg4bhP

SL; Banbury United v Royston Town match preview + Puritan keeper Jack Harding reveals all

Saturday 17th August 2019
Banbury United v Royston Town
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
OX16 5AB
K.O. 3.00pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Southern League Premier Division Central (22 teams)

Banbury United 17th

Royston Town 10th

 

(This season’s) League standings after 2 games:

Southern League Premier Division Central (22 teams)

Banbury United 12th

Royston Town 1st

 

This game last season:

20th October 2018

Banbury United 0

Royston Town 1 (James Potton)

 

Last four games:

Banbury United:

D 1-1 home v Nuneaton Borough 13th August SL

D 0-0 away v Redditch United 10th August SL

L 3-4 v Oxford City (Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final at Oxford City FC) 30th April

L 1-2 home v Hitchin Town 27th April SL

 

Royston Town:

W 0-5 away v Biggleswade Town 13th August SL

W 3-0 home v Alvechurch 10th August SL

W 1-0 home v Barwell 27th April SL

W 0-2 away v Hitchin Town 22nd April SL

 

Jack Harding

Full Name: Jack Matthew Harding

Age: 27

Nationality: British

Marital status: Engaged

Preferred shirt number: 1

Most effective position on the pitch: Goalkeeper

Daytime job: Electrician

Former clubs: Ardley United

 

We asked Jack:

How was your summer, do you miss football when it finishes or is it nice to just get away from it and relax?

I had a really good summer, including an amazing trip to Santorini for a relaxing break. The first couple of weeks it is nice to have a break, but yes definitely miss it and look forward to pre-season starting again

Re-signed on for Banbury this summer, what influenced your choice?

It was an easy decision for me, my home town, the team, the management, the board and the amazing supporters we have here. The manager wants us to play in a certain way which is very exciting for me to be a part of

How do you feel pre-season & the early league games have gone for you personally so far?

I missed the first part of pre-season as I was on holiday but since I’ve been back I feel like I’ve got straight back in to it and have loved being back with the team. Lots of hard work in training and I have really enjoyed it

What are the expectations and/or targets for the season for you yourself, and the squad as a whole?

I think I speak for myself and the whole squad, we believe we can make the playoffs

Who has been your biggest influence in football?

My older brother Michael. We walked to primary school together playing football, walked to secondary school together playing football, all we did was play football. We had a five aside pitch less than a minute walk from where we lived growing up, that’s where my love for the game started

How much belief is there in the squad that you can have a successful season, and which players will be key for you to achieve this?

We have a lot of belief in each other and what we are capable of achieving as a team. We’ve had a few new additions this season that have slotted straight in to the group, great characters and even better players

Home to Royston this week, do you know anything about them?

They’re usually quite physical and direct. They’ve had a great start to the season so will be coming to us full of confidence so it will be a tough game but one we know we can win

Who is the biggest moaner in the dressing room?

I would say I could be up there? Especially when there’s running involved or my team loses in training

What is your typical pre-match routine before you get to the ground?

I’m a bit superstitious about being superstitious. If we are on a good run I try and do the same things before games, things like drinks and the amount of times I touch the cross bar before kick-off. So I don’t have a set routine

In your current squad, who is the most under rated player in your opinion?

Jack Westbrook (Westy) I rate very highly, just think there a lot of things he does on the pitch that people don’t notice

Who has the worst dress sense at the club?

Mark (Timbrell) the physio

When you leave the football pitch on a Saturday, what is the first result you look for elsewhere?

Leeds United followed by the other teams in our league

Who is the last person you would let choose the music in the dressing room (or car) on match day, and why?

Liam Shea our goalkeeping coach. Simply because I don’t want to hear him rap alongside John Barnes ever again!

What’s the one game this season you most want to win and why?

Would be nice to have a good run in the FA Cup this year

Finally, after you’ve saved three penalties on Saturday, what can supporters buy you in the bar afterwards?

A San Miguel and a pack of pork scratchings

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

SL P; Redditch United v Banbury United preview + manager Mike Ford’s thoughts on pre-season

Saturday 10th August 2019
Redditch United v Banbury United
Southern League Premier Division Central
Trico Stadium
B97 4RN
K.O. 3.00pm

 

(Last season’s) League standings:

Southern League Premier Division Central

Banbury United 17th

Redditch United 15th

 

This game last season:

Saturday 3rd November 2018

Redditch United 2 (Brendon Bunn, Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham)

Banbury United 0

 

Last four games:

Banbury United:

L 3-4 v Oxford City (Oxfordshire Senior Cup Final at Oxford City FC) 30th April

L 1-2 home v Hitchin Town 27th April SL

D 1-1 away v Alvechurch 22nd April SL

D 1-1 home v Bedworth United 20th April SL

Redditch United:

W 3-1 home v Leiston 27th April SL

L 0-1 away v Halesowen Town 22nd April SL

W 3-1 home v Hitchin Town 20th April SL

L 0-1 away v St Ives Town 13th April SL

 

Mike Ford

Ahead of the season opener Sports Shots caught up with Banbury manager Mike Ford to ask how much time he’s had away from football to relax, & forget the game during the summer:

The period between the end of last season and the beginning of pre-season flew by. Recruiting players, preparations for the upcoming campaign as well as conversations with all the current players ate into my perceived time away so time off, no none really! Relax and forget? If this has happened, I can’t remember it!

When did pre-season training begin, and how were the first couple of sessions in terms of numbers?

We started on July the fourth, the session was well attended and the players as you can imagine were keen to go having had the best part of ten weeks away from football

How has it been signing on players, and have United lost many that have upset their plans?

Signing players, whether it be in the season or summer-time, is the most difficult part of the job. We had a few loan players who went back to their clubs, one player left to take up a scholarship in America and two players departed, I have brought in the best part of half a dozen players which I felt needed to be done to freshen the whole group up. I did sign one player who was more than happy to be quoted on our website expressing his pleasure at agreeing to sign for Banbury United, but I haven’t seen him since and he is currently playing for someone else

How has pre-season been in terms of results & performances?

It’s been excellent, the players have really bought into the way of playing that has been introduced and they are enjoying themselves. Results are not key at this stage; the performances are the reason that during the season games will be won and lost. Overall our performances have been good; the highlight being the game at Brackley & then the most disappointing the home second half showing against Swindon Supermarine. There is still work to do and we are a long way from the finished article

Do United still have players yet to sign on, or are they squad ready?

The squad is by and large completed although we are still tracking players and one or two may still come in

With the first game of the season on Saturday how does Mike view the game?

Yes, the new season is almost upon us, we are away at Redditch where we were easily beaten last season. They have a new manager who I’m sure will be hugely looking forward to it. My team will be ready and if our focus is on the performance then results will always take care of themselves

At this early stage, what are the targets for the first few games?

Targets can get in the way at times and the day to day business can get lost, but it’s also important that we know and understand what we are looking to achieve over the course of forty-two games

Finally, are there any games this season he is particularly looking forward to?

All of them! The first one is important, the first home one equally so and the Christmas period

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

2019/2020 Southern League Fixtures released

The 2019/2020 Southern League fixtures were released on Friday morning, all subject to change at this stage.

 

Banbury United:

Banbury begin on Saturday 10th August away at Redditch United, then just three days later host Nuneaton Borough at the Spencer Stadium.

For the full list of Banbury fixtures use this link: https://www.betvictorsouthern.co.uk/fixtures/BanburyUtd/2019/2020/p

 

Aylesbury United:

Aylesbury begin on Saturday 17th August by hosting Corby Town, followed three days later by a trip over to newly promoted Wantage Town.

For the full list of Aylesbury fixtures, use this link: https://www.betvictorsouthern.co.uk/fixtures/AylesburyUtd/2019/2020/P

 

Thame United:

Thame begin on Saturday 17th August away at Bedford Town, then on the following Tuesday evening they host North Leigh at the ASM Stadium.

For the full list of Thame fixtures use this link: https://www.betvictorsouthern.co.uk/fixtures/ThameUtd/2019/2020/P

 

SL: Banbury United squad for 2019/2020 shaping up

Banbury United have confirmed several players that have either re-signed ahead of the 2019/2020 season, or joined the club which include two coming in from Brackley Town Saints.

Mike Ford

United manager Mike Ford gave the low down on those committing to the new campaign:

Manager Mike Ford has confirmed two new players joining from Brackley Town Saints, goalkeeper Alastair Worby and central midfielder James Watts.

Commenting on the signings Mike says

“Alastair is someone who has done very well at Brackley Town Saints and has provided excellent cover for the first team. He is a very motivated individual who will be desperate to be the number one this season.

Alastair Worby

James is a young player who has spent his whole career in senior football at Brackley Town Saints where it would have been very easy for him to have remained. He has taken the plunge to sign for us which show the lad’s ambition and desire to achieve success for himself and ultimately our football club.”

The players are looking forward to the challenge:

Alastair said “ I’m thankful to Mike Ford and the club for giving me the opportunity to play for Banbury United. Looking forward to the challenge ahead and to push the club forward”.

James said “I’m looking forward to joining a new team and competing at a higher level. Thanks to Mike for getting me over to Banbury, looking forward to the upcoming season and testing myself!”

James Watts

We welcome Janes and Alastair to the club.

In addition Mike has confirmed that the following players from the squad that ended the 2018-19 season have also agreed to sign for 2019-20. Jack Harding, Charlie Hawtin, Lee Henderson, Ricky Johnson, Ryan Macdonald, George Nash, Eddie Odihambo, Giorgio Rasulo and Charlie Wise. Mike’s comments on these players are as below:

Jack Harding: Jack has had an up and down season due to returning to the club in pre season not fully fit then sustaining a wrist injury during the season, which held him back. Jack has been fantastic for this club, it’s not about what he has done but what he will be doing in the future for us.

Charlie Hawtin: Charlie has had his injury issues this season restricting his appearances and run in the team. It wasn’t too long ago he was marauding down the touchline and I’m sure with the right conditioning over the summer it won’t be too long until we see it again.

Lee Henderson: Lee is a fantastic player who suffered with injuries which included missing a few weeks through concussion as well as pelvic issues which we manged to eradicate after Christmas. A fully fit Lee Henderson will be a huge asset to this club

Ricky Johnson: Ricky is a captain who leads by example, giving his all every week. Again Rick suffered in pre season with Achilles problems and was a late starter into the season. He, I am sure, is determined as the rest of us to produce our best all next season week in and week out and if we can keep Rick fit and fresh i have no doubts this will happen.

Ricky Johnson

Ryan McDonald: Ryan has a great attitude and worked very hard with the first team squad to develop and improve this year which he has done. Next season can be an exciting one for a very decent talent.

George Nash: George has been fabulous for this football club and despite having a season that didn’t match his expectations in 2018-19 he is looking forward hugely to re-establishing himself to be the first name on the team sheet that he has been over the last three years. I am looking forward to working with George again next season and seeing him develop into an even better player.

Eddie Ohdiambo: Eddie fulfilled his duties last year with admirable professionalism. When called upon to play he showed all his experience and composure. In training he was full of bright ideas and this year he will take on extra responsibilities regards the coaching of the squad.

Giorgio Rasulo: Winning the Players’ Player of the Year Award at any club will tell you everything you need to know about Gio. He has fabulous ability but also a great attitude to go with it which made him a key player in the squad last season.

Charlie Wise: Charlie was appointed vice captain this year when more experienced players were overlooked. He gives his all at training and during games and as the season wore on his performances had maturity written all over them.

Charlie Wise

Looking at the squad in general Mike said “The football club has been very active since the completion of the season. Firstly to encourage our current players to re-sign for the upcoming campaign which has up to this point been very successful, including Amer Awadh signing on contract, and secondly recruiting away from the club has also been very busy with Jack Westbrook of course already having committed to us for next year. We are waiting on others to give their answers in the near future and as soon as we have positive news to bring we will let supporters know.”

Edmund Hottor and Matt Richards are not staying with the club.

2019/20 season non league steps 1-6 revealed

The non-league divisional structures have been revealed for next season’s step one to six clubs, which affects a number of the clubs covered by Sports Shots.

Step 3:

Banbury United continue in the Southern League Premier Division Central and welcome five new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bromsgrove Sporting, Hednesford Town, Kings Langley, Nuneaton Borough & Peterborough Sports.

 

Step 4:

Aylesbury United & Thame United continue in the Southern League Division One Central and welcome six new clubs to the division for the new campaign, Bedworth United, Biggleswade FC, Daventry Town, Halesowen Town, St Neots Town & Wantage Town.

 

Step 5 (Hellenic):

Brackley Town Saints continue in the Hellenic Premier Division after narrowly missing out on promotion, they welcome Burnham, Chipping Sodbury Town, Easington Sports & Westfields for the forthcoming campaign.

 

Step 5 (South Midlands):

Newport Pagnell Town have been transferred from the Future Lions United Counties League over to the Spartan South Midlands where they join former Aylesbury FC under their new set up of Aylesbury Vale Dynamo’s after relegation from the Southern League.

 

Step 6:

Ampthill Town, Buckingham Athletic & Winslow United all remain in Spartan South Midlands League Division One where they welcome five new clubs in London Tigers, New Salamis, Shefford Town & Campton, St Panteleimon & Stotfold.

All clubs have seven days to appeal, steps seven and below are to follow in due course.

SL; Banbury United 1-2 Biggleswade Town

Banbury United – 1
Biggleswade Town – 2

23.03.2019

Banbury United were left broken hearted late on Saturday afternoon as a ninety-seventh minute strike took the points back to Bedfordshire, two goals in the opening ten minutes of this Southern League fixture had threatened an afternoon of entertainment at the Spencer Stadium on Saturday however from that point the game failed to deliver as it turned into a midfield battle with very few scoring opportunities created at either end. After the opening frenzy the fixture deteriorated into a series of niggly fouls, plenty of on pitch verbal’s, the ball being thumped either out of the ground or back towards the benches for being under inflated & injuries that needed lengthy treatment, so when the board indicated an additional five minutes were to be played as the clock rolled over the ninety no one was surprised, however that five turned into seven and in that added time just at the hosts thought they’d done enough to share the spoils, Town scored their winner courtesy of substitute Liam Brooks to leave the home supporters and players aggrieved to say the least but after the game United manager Mike Ford told Sports Shots that he felt his players couldn’t have given any more during the game & had not deserved that late sucker punch.

Biggleswade took the lead in the fourth minute when a corner curled in took a couple of deflections out to Matt Ball who from twelve yards out rifled into the top corner, the visitor’s then went almighty close to doubling their lead on ten minutes when Solomon Nwaboukei did well down the flank before feeding a clever pass through for Joe White to hit first time and at point blank range Puritan custodian Jack Harding got some part of his body behind it to block, from the clearance Amer Awadh was released down the left wing where cutting in towards the box he played a smart one-two with Ravi Shamsi before pulling the ball across the face of goal where sliding in at the back post captain Ricky Johnson slid in to equalise.

Ricky Johnson equalised for Banbury

The hosts saw a free kick lifted into the area where Shamsi sliced his first effort up in the air and as it came back down to him he fired over the Town crossbar, ahead of Matt Taylor who was enjoying some early freedom out on the flank getting a cross onto the head of Johnson who outjumped his marker but he could only flick wide, and a clearance played long for Shamsi to chase down saw Sam Donkin in the Town goal advance and almost get caught out by the lively front mans attempted lob however he was close enough to back pedal and gather with both hands; Johnson showed his value at both ends of the pitch on twenty-six minutes when a superb chip from the edge of the box eluded Harding and defenders on the front post but on the line the skipper headed away.

A United attack broke down in their guests half which saw Shaun Lucien sent on the counter attack and after travelling forty yards he slid through the red backline to White who despite the back four calling for offside was allowed to go through on goal, again Harding came out and got something on the shot to deflect it up and over the top. Matt Berry-Hargreaves on his Banbury debut got forward and went for glory from twenty-five yards but fired high over the crossbar, a late Shamsi free kick out wide curled in saw a Wader’s defender fling himself at the cross but miss and Donkin had to throw himself away to his right to save the ball from going straight in. H/T: 1-1

Biggleswade celebrate late late winner

It took twelve minutes in the second period for the first real chance when Nwaboukei stole possession in midfield and played in White who flashed his effort across the goal face and inches wide of the far upright, the consequence of his landing saw White having to have treatment before being stretchered off with an ankle problem. Lucien was next to try his luck from distance but he got is angles all wrong and could only slice away from the intended target, the flow of the game was constantly interrupted as the half wore on, substitutions and further injuries to Awadh saw Greg Kaziboni introduced to the action but his power & pace were well marshalled by the visitor’s backline, his best chance came when he was sent straight down the middle of the pitch with a marker on his shoulder, he did well to get into the penalty area and shoot, the ball sailed wide to which the referee awarded a corner much to David Longe-King’s bemusement.

A Town corner was headed clear but fell nicely for Ball to hit on the volley but he got under it and lifted high & wide away from goal, as time ticked over into extra added time a Biggleswade attack saw some pinball inside the Banbury area and a red shirt throwing himself in front of the ball to spin out for a corner, danger cleared it seemed. However the set piece was swung deep into the back post where Johnson headed out, on the edge of the box Ball cushioned into the path of Brooks who hit it first time through a sea of bodies into the opposite bottom corner. F/T: 1-2

Attendance: 400

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

After the game Sports Shots caught up with Banbury manager Mike Ford to discuss the game & look ahead to next season:

For match photography (110 images) please click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmb2Sc1p

SL P; Banbury player coach proving Bigg hit with Puritan youngsters

Saturday 23rd March 2019
Banbury United v Biggleswade Town
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Biggleswade Town on Saturday looking to shake off their recent run of just one win and two draws in their last eight league outings, now sitting in fifteenth position in the Southern Football League Premier Division Central table with the four point deduction they received now showing as immaterial as they trail the side above them by five. Reaching the final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup this week has given the squad a taste of victory, and of their seven league games left to play four are at home giving the Puritans every chance of getting back into the top half of the table, the play-offs now seemingly gone as they can only catch fifth place Rushden mathematically but another four points for the Northamptonshire side would end that possibility, which means Mike Fords men are playing for pride and to finish as well as they possibly can to start next season on the front foot. Biggleswade on the other hand are still fighting for a place in the play-offs, victory Saturday could elevate them above Rushden depending on other results and they come to the Community Hire stadium off the back of a very impressive victory over top of the table & champions elect Kettering Town last Saturday, can Banbury improve on the goalless draw at their guests back in October?

Eddie Odhiambo

This week Sports Shots caught up with Banbury utility player Eddie Odhiambo to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

This is my second spell at Banbury, I re-joined in a player coach capacity having been in the same role elsewhere last season. I joined as a progression for my coaching as the main factor, the manager here bases a lot of expectancy on his staff and securing the right people around him so it was encouraging to be asked to get on board. I was really impressed by Mike’s (Ford) attitude in my first spell and he envisages his team to have an ethos similar to mine. Working hard has always been my approach to football, and is where his standards are set. It has been a season so far of mixed fortunes on the pitch. Our contrasting home and away form probably encapsulates that best

How does Eddie view his season so far in terms of contribution?

Personally, the discussion I had with the manager was that I would be supporting players especially in the positions I cover, I would be expected to be ready to play at the required level on request. I have played out wide, in central midfield and either full back so my fitness levels have needed to be good. I started this season with a lengthy suspension so it felt like a three month pre-season!

How good does Eddie think this squad is at United, and which players have impressed the most?

The squad has many players other teams would, and have coveted, this level usually finds squads made of young players & stalwarts. Young players like Amer Awadh & Harry Whitehead are a pleasure to work with, I bore them with stories of how they would never have kept up with me when I was their age! Giorgio Rasulo, has impressed me to no end because of his attitude to improve his performances, the regulars like Ricky Johnson are ever present because influence on the team and leadership qualities. Jack Harding & George Nash have maintained a level of consistency since my last stay here

Of the youngsters at the club, who does Eddie view as having a long career in the game?

I’ve already mentioned Amer, Harry and Gio. I could also mention both Charlie’s – Wise and Hawtin in the same breath as having attitudes to improve as players. Matty Taylor has the temperament to succeed and has looked the full time player he is. Ryan Macdonald continues to develop and is great to have a local lad in the first team

Since the win over Needham at the start of the month, two defeats since to Kettering & Tamworth, how were those matches?

The points tally would indicate very disappointing, the manner of goals conceded would also reflect disappointment also, as its well below the level we have displayed, especially at home

Biggleswade Town this week who Banbury shared a goalless draw with earlier in the campaign, what does Eddie recall of that fixture?

I recall this as the game I rolled back the years and gave Greg (Kaziboni) a tutorial in how to play out wide..!! It was a stalemate in the fact that two evenly matched sides couldn’t find a way to win. However, we were resilient and difficult to play against

What are the targets for the remainder of this season?

Targets need to be adaptable, so through my suspension I wanted to be fit to play and make an impact as a coach. From the bench coaching, I wanted to be able to deliver clear, relevant contributions, to affect the game. Today I want to make whoever’s position I have difficult for them to get back in the team

Finally we asked Eddie if he could choose any team mates to go on any TV programme who he would choose:

Jamie Heapy & I’m a celebrity. So he’s as far from my house as possible instead of creeping in my garden like he’s known to do..!!

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

SL P; Banbury assistant manager is in the Market for an end of season push

Saturday 2nd March 2019
Banbury United v Needham Market
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Needham Market on Saturday looking for the three points which could potentially propel them back up towards the top half of the Southern Football League Premier Division Central table, four league games without victory combined with their recent points deduction has seen The Puritans drop to fourteenth place in the league, the two sides below them in the table have games in hand meaning that United need to pick up some wins in their final ten games of the season in order not to be dragged into any sort of battle towards the wrong end of the table. Needham arrive themselves in a poor run of form, just a single victory in their last seven league outings sees them sitting in ninth place but eight points off the play-off places, both sides will look at this game and see it as a chance to kick start their run in.

Sam Antonbrook (left) with manager Mike Ford

This week Sports Shots caught up with Banbury assistant manager Anton Sambrook to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about?

This is my third year back at the club. After the club got promoted back to the Southern Premier the gaffer approached me about becoming part of his staff, so I worked as a coach for the first two seasons and then became Mike’s assistant last summer. It’s the town where I grew up so having the opportunity to return especially after the supporters trust took over meant a lot to me

What have been the highlights so far?

Collectively, probably the first season where we were pushing for the playoffs right until the end. As individual performances go, the home win against Kettering is the standout performance. Off the pitch, at Kings Langley two years ago, the supporters were unreal in the bar after the game with their singing

How would Anton sum up Banbury’s season this time round?

Frustrating really. We started really well but then we failed to back up our home performances by picking up enough points on the road

How does he rate the current squad at the club?

There are some real quality and talented players in this squad and ability wise it is probably the best we have had in the last three years. But our league position shows that that is not the only necessary requirement to be successful in this league

Are there things Anton looks back on and thinks could have been done differently?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!! We make decisions at the time that we think will have positive outcomes or impacts for this football club on the pitch. I’m sure looking back there are things that have happened that we have done slightly differently

Going into the final ten games of the campaign, what are the targets for the squad?

For the last three years our target has always been get to forty points as quick as possible from the opening day and then see where it takes us, that remains the same. The bare minimum is that we expect the squad to give us every last ounce of effort until the April twenty-eighth in training and in games

We asked Anton to name the best one to eleven he’s seen at the club in his time:

If I include going back to those that I played with to then it would be:

Harding

Fuller

Bowyer

Muckleberg

Cousins

McEachran

Nash

Singleton

Rasulo

Baird

Forinton

Are there any top level manager and assistants that Anton compares himself & Mike Ford to:

I don’t know the answer to that one! We need to win some silverware before we start comparing ourselves to others at the top of their game

Finally, we asked Anton which of the current first team he would least like to spend a holiday with:

Difficult question that! I know who I would want to go on holiday with and that’s Jamie Heapy. That way, I know where he is while I’m away!!!

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

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