Stratford Town 2 Banbury United 0
Banbury's play-off hopes suffer a huge set-back as they go down 2-0 at Stratford
Banbury got off to the worst of starts going behind in just the sixth minute when a low cross in from the by-line down the right by Mike Taylor was struck home at the near post by Will Grocott.
Banbury though worked hard and were soon having the better of proceedings. In the 13th minute a fierce low drive from the edge of the Stratford penalty area down the left towards the far corner had to be punched away by Niall Cooper in the Stratford goal.
out and his shot looked bound for the back of the net but Cooper pulled off a great save to tip the ball over the bar.
Whilst Banbury would continue to have the better of the game for the rest of the half and much more of the play, they were unable to create clear opportunities and three minutes from half time a free-kick from the right by Will Grocott was put to the far post where Wayne Thomas’s fierce shot was well saved by Jack Harding but Mike Taylor was on hand to knock the loose ball home from close range.
In stoppage time at end of the half it was close to being 3-0 when a cross from the right by Grocott saw a header from Taylor well saved by Harding.
Early in the second half Stratford went close when Mike Taylor hit the side netting from a narrow angle on the left but Banbury would soon be having the better of the game again and in the 52nd minute Manny Duku took the ball inside from the left and through on goal appeared to be brought down inside the penalty area but the match referee saw things differently and awarded a free-kick to the home side and booked Duku for simulation.
In the 57th minute Duku did well to set himself up when flicking the ball in a central position over Liam Francis but he then fired the ball wide from 15 yards. In the 66th minute substitute Conor McDonagh was put through down the left but fired the ball over the bar from a
In the 19th minute a corner from the right by Tom Winters caused problems in the centre and was only cleared out as far as Marvin Martin but his fierce shot from 20 yards went wide. Three minutes later and a Winters corner from the right fell to Luke Carnell 12 yards narrow angle.
In the 82nd minute it looked as though Banbury had found a way back into the game when Justin Marsden needlessly handled the ball inside the penalty area but Ricky Johnson’s spot-kick fierce spot-kick low straight down the middle was saved by Cooper’s legs.
After this it was relatively comfortable for the home side and they would go close to extending their lead two minutes from time when a Grocott free-kick from a central position just outside the penalty area was put just wide.
Despite having the better of most of the game, it is all about putting the ball in the back of the net and Banbury failed to do so with Stratford showing United how to do that twice.
Stratford Town: Niall Cooper, James Fry, James Hancocks (Guy Clark 85), Daniel Summerfield, Liam Francis, Wayne Thomas, Ben Stephens (Justin Marsden 43), George Forsyth, Michael Taylor, William Grocutt, Edwin Ahenkorah (Simeon Tulloch 63). Subs (not used): Barry Fitzharris.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Eddie Odhiambo, Tom Bradbury, Marvin Martin (Jack Self 46), Jack Westbrook, Luke Carnell, Zac McEachran, George Nash, Ricky Johnson, Manny Duku (Conor McDonagh 62), Tom Winters (Mark Bell 83). Subs (not used) : Jacob Blackstock, Sam Humphreys.