Banbury advanced to the semi finals of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup thanks to a win over near neighbours Easington Sports who, despite playing three levels below Banbury, put in a spirited performance to keep the score line to just 3-0. It was good to see a 300-plus crowd in attendance, the first time in 26 seasons for a Senior Cup tie.
Manager Mike Ford made a number of changes from Saturday's starting XI. Harry Whitehead and Lee Henderson featured at the centre of the defence, Edmund Hottor in midfield and Matt Timms at left back. Ricky Johnson was restored up front. Matt Taylor ineligible as he will be playing for Oxford United in the competition. Nash, Kaziboni and Wise were all on the bench. Also featuring was Sean Whaler, making his debut after a loan move from Northampton Town.
And it was Whaler who got a dream start when he opened the scoring after six minutes. Banbury had already had a couple of half chances when Whaler's sixth-minute cross from the right eluded Adam Rimmer in the Easington goal to sail into the net.
Rimmer was again in action saving from Diggin and a Johnson header. Easington competed well and frustrated Banbury but were unable to make any inroads into the Banbury defence. They were made to pay for conceding a free kick on the right hand edge of the box close to half-time. An inswinging Shamsi cross was met by Ricky Johnson who headed home Banbury's second.
After the restart Banbury remained in the ascendancy. Matt Timms almost made it three when his 20-yard strike came back off the bar. Easington were stretched as Banbury held onto the ball for long periods but they didn't buckle even when the added threat of Kaziboni was introduced. It took until the 83rd minute for Banbury to increase their lead when Diggin crossed from the right for Johnson to outmuscle the away defence and head home.
The last chance of the game saw a typical Kaziboni run saw him cut through on the right but his shot just skimmed across the goal.
Banbury: 1. Jack Harding, 2. Sean Whaler, 6. Ravi Shamsi (Sub 16. Greg Kaziboni 70') 7. Charlie Hawtin (Sub Eddie Odihambo 65'), 8. Edmund Hottor, 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 10. Steve Diggin (Sub 19. Ryan McDonald, 85'), 14. Lee Henderson, 17. Harry Whitehead, 18. Giorgio Rasulo, 20. Matt Timms.
Subs not used: 4. George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise
Easington: 1. Adam Rimmer, 2. Tom Smith, 3. Sean Snelling (Sub 16. Ruben Torego 84'), 4. Lloyd Sabin, 5. Josh Rose, 6. 7 Craig Robinson, 8. Dave Buckwell (Sub 14. Connor Grant 65'), 9. Henry Rose (Sub 12. Michael Spaull 65'), 11. George Coombes, 17. Dan Watkins.
Subs not used: 10. Michael Zinn, 13. Joe White.
Man of the Match as chosen by Match Sponsors Bourton Drains – Edmund Hottor
Updated 13:14 - 16 Feb 2019 by Steve T