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.
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.
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
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After the game Sports Shots spoke to four goal hero Elliot Sandy:
And also manager Mike Ford:
For match photography click here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmcgUgG1