Pitching In Southern Premier League Central

Banbury United

Henshall (20), Langmead (84)

Hednesford Town

(1) 2

(0) 0



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Andy Wycherley



Halesowen Town (H) 3.10.20

The Pitmen’s stuttering start to the new season continues this evening as a goal in each half from hosts Banbury United ease them past a poor Hednesford side that have Danny Glover sent off for a handball on his own goal line in the second period


Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Lowestoft Town had seen Andy Morrell’s side chalk up their first point of the new season and arrived at Banbury’s Spencer Stadium looking to go one better and register a first win of the 2020-2021 season. Morrell stuck with the same XI that had started at Lowestoft, but was without striker Dan Sweeney as a substitute option so brought John Dodd back into the squad for tonight’s game


Banbury had started the season with a draw at Royston Town and a defeat at home to Redditch United, as well as making progress in the F.A. Cup last midweek with a 1-0 win over Carlton Town. Manager Andy Whing made three changes to the side that had started against Redditch as Alex Henshall, Pablo Haysham and Jack Finch replaced Josh Endall, Aaron Heap and Henry Landers


It was a cool evening at kick-off with the Pitmen starting well as Louis Dodds tried his luck in the fourth minute with a shot that was deflected away for a corner kick. From Dodds’ resultant corner, Callam Mendez-Jones headed goalwards but was denied by Banbury keeper Jack Harding


The visitors went agonisingly close to an opening goal in the tenth minute of the game as Dan Turner’s persistence won the away side a corner kick; Dodds delivered another fine cross from the flag-kick and found Danny Glover, whose header came back off the crossbar via a touch from Harding before boon scrambled behind by the Banbury defence


Rhys Thompson delivered a free-kick into the Banbury penalty area in the sixteenth minute but saw his cross hooked over the crossbar by forward George Cater


After Andy Wycherley had punched clear a dangerous Sam Brown long throw away from danger, the hosts took a twentieth-minute lead with their first real shot in anger. And what a good strike it was too, as the Puritans worked the ball across the pitch to Henshall on the right-hand side of the Hednesford penalty area via a pass from Giorgio Result. The midfielder took a touch before executing a fine curling shot beyond the reach of Wycherley and found the far corner of the net in the process


Buoyed by the goal, Banbury pushed forwards in search of a quickfire second goal and went close three minutes later as the lively looking Finch fired just wide of goal after another good break from the hosts


A minute later, the experienced James Constable laid the ball off to Rasulo, whose low shot was saved well by Wycherley to push the ball away for a Banbury corner kick


Turner felt that he should have been awarded a penalty kick on twenty-five minutes as Harding appeared to bring the young striker down in the box, only for the referee to remain unimpressed and play continued. Banbury went up the other end and forced a corner kick which was headed wide by Landers at the far post


Finch was given far too much time and space to get another shot away for the hosts on thirty-three minutes, forcing keeper Wycherley into yet another good stop


The best the Pitmen could muster in a muddled period of play from the men in yellow saw was a wayward effort from Jack Hallahan on thirty-five minutes that drifted well wide of goal


It was a niggly end to the half as both sides gave away cheap fouls, with neither side able to create a clear-cut opening before the game reached half-time. The Pitmen had had a mixed half, dominating the opening fifteen minutes before struggling to create anything of note later on as Banbury enjoyed the better of the last twenty minutes of the half


Hallahan started the half on the wrong foot as he was booked within a minute of the restart for a silly foul on Haysham in the centre circle after the Banbury man had shown him a clean pair of heels


Wycherley continued to keep his side in contention with another good save from his repertoire on fifty-one minutes, this time turning away a low shot from Rasulo


At the other end, Harding made an equally impressive stop six minutes later, making a fine stop to push away a shot from Turner after Cater had played his strike partner in on goal


Just after the hour mark, Harding was forced into making another good save as Ben Bailey’s effort from long-range was kept out by the Banbury stopper


The Pitmen made their first substitution of the evening on sixty-three minutes as Dodds was replaced by Will Norcross, which saw Norcross move to a wide area in a tactical reshuffle


Mendez-Jones joined Hallahan in the referee’s notebook on sixty-five minutes after he had brought Amer Awadh down just outside the Hednesford penalty area. The Pitmen scrambled the resultant free-kick away before Wycherley finally dealt with the danger from the corner kick


Once again, it was Wycherley to the rescue on seventy-two minutes, as the former Telford stopper made another fine save to turn an Awadh shot away at his near post as Banbury continued to look the more likely to score


The game swung firmly in the host’s direction a minute later as the Pitmen were reduced to ten men and conceded a penalty kick in the same breath; a corner kick from the right-wing was headed goalwards by Kelvin Langmead and struck the arm of Glover as he attempted to clear his lines. The referee had little option but to show the Pitmen’s top scorer a red card and award Banbury a penalty kick. Constable took the resultant kick, but Wycherley guessed right and made a fine stop down to his left before smothering the ball at the second attempt to seal his man of the match performance


This appeared to give the Pitmen a brief shot in the ram, with Bailey looping a shot just over the bar for the visitors on seventy-five minutes on the edge of the penalty area after Turner had found his skipper with a pass


With twelve minutes of the game remaining, the Pitmen made their second change of the game as youngster Carter Lycett replaced the poor Ryan Campbell-Gordon at left-back


The hosts finally put the results beyond doubt with six minutes of the game remaining as another inswinging corner kick found the head of the experienced Langmead, with the former Northampton and Peterborough man powerfully heading home past Wycherley from close-range


Banbury substitute Ricky Johnson was rightly shown a yellow card with five minutes remaining after taking out Wycherley with a late tackle after the pair had challenged for a long ball forwards


The Pitmen’s final change of the evening came with three minutes remaining, as another disappointing display from Hallahan was brought to an early finish as he was replaced by Lee Smith


It had been another sobering reminder of the work ahead for Morrell and his coaching team as their second league defeat in three games leaves them still searching for that elusive first league win of the campaign. The distinct, and pretty obvious, lack of quality in some areas of the pitch is hampering their progress and they will continue to struggle unless Morrell looks to strengthen in certain positions over the coming weeks as several players in the current squad are proving incapable of competing at step three level. A big game for the Pitmen on Saturday sees them host Southern League Division One Central high-flyers Halesowen Town in the second qualifying round of the F.A. Cup looking to move into the next round and attempt to lift their flagging spirits

Banbury United: Harding, Self, Brown, Henshall, Langmead, Westbrook, Awadh (Landers 87), Rasulo, Constable (Johnson 68), Haysham, Finch       Subs Unused: Hawton, Heap, Endall


Hednesford Town: Wycherley, Griffiths, Campbell-Gordon (Lycett 78), Bailey ©, Mendez-Jones , Thompson, Cater, Hallahan ▆ (Smith 87), Glover  (73), Dodds (Norcross 63), Turner        Sub Unused: Dawes, Dodd

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