Cinderford Town 1 Banbury United 2
Goals from Luke Carnell and Manny Duku result in a hard-earned three points for Banbury at Cinderford to keep alive their hopes of a play-off place
United manager Mike Ford had to make do without the ill George Nash but there was a place in the starting eleven for the returning Tom Winters with Eddie Odhiambo coming in to replace the injured Callum White.
Cinderford would have the better of the opening fifteen minutes. In the third minute a snap-shot from 20 yards by Craig Norman saw Jack Harding do very well to tip the ball over the bar for a corner. Then from the resultant corner from the right Shane Perry’s header from eight yards again saw Harding again come to Banbury’s rescue with a fine finger-tip save.
However, it would be Banbury who would make the breakthrough in the 15th minute. A Conor McDonagh sharp turn on the edge of the box saw Giles Cutlan save well by tipping the ball around the post for a corner. Then when Tom Winters’ corner from the right was cleared back to him, he put the ball back into the centre where Luke Carnell headed the ball home from 15 yards.
Whilst the home side had their fair share of possession, United always looked dangerous going forward. In the 28th minute a good run from McDonagh down the left led to the ball falling to Jack Self who hit the post from a narrow angle down the left on the edge of the six yard box. Then in the 41st minute Winters broke through down the left, taking the ball inside before stroking the ball just over the bar as Giles Cutlan in the Cinderford goal came out to narrow the angle.
In the first minute of the second half Cinderford went so close to equalising when Nick Harrhy’s shot hit the post. As the half developed the home side would look the more likely to score the next goal with Banbury having to work very hard under a lot of pressure at times to keep the home side out.
However, in the 79th minute a quick break from a Cinderford attack saw Jack Self put substitute Manny Duku through down the centre and he struck the ball over the home custodian from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner of the net much to the delight of the large traveling Puritan contingent.
It was though certainly not now to be plain sailing for United as five minutes later a neat passing move put Craig Norman through on goal and he made no mistake striking the ball home from just inside the Banbury penalty area into the bottom corner of the net.
It was an anxious final few minutes for United fans but they held out to keep alive their hopes of a play-off place though Merthyr’s two late goals to win at St Neots keeps the Welsh side firmly in the driving seat for fifth place.
Cinderford Town: Giles Cutlan, Isaac Kelly, James Bloom, Shane Parry, Dan Clare, Jack Alderdice, Lewis Bamford (Ben Hands 49), Sammie Hicks, Nick Harrhy, Craig Norman, Elliot Ford. Subs (not used): Josh Nelmes, Mitchel Howells, Cameron Clarke.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Eddie Odhiambo, Tom Bradbury, Marvin Martin, Jack Westbrook, Luke Carnell, Zac McEachran (Darius Browne 82), Jack Self, Ricky Johnson, Conor McDonagh (Manny Duku 57), Tom Winters (Jacob Blackstock 73). Subs (not used): Mark Bell, Jasko Keranovic.