Saturday 21st April 2018
Banbury United v Merthyr Town
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
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
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
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
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.