Banbury United – 4
Coalville Town – 2
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.
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.
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
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