Stratford Town 2 Banbury United 3
Substitute Leam Howards strikes a late winner for United
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Changes in personnel due to injuries but Charlie Wise was fit to return to the centre of defence, allowing Ricky Johnson to play up front. Jack Harding returned in goal. Nuno Felix has left the club.
Whilst the opening stages were fairly equal in terms of possession, it was the home side who looked the more likely to open the scoring. In the 8th minute a dangerous cross in from the right by Eli Bako saw Charlie Wise get to the ball first on the edge of the six yard box to put the ball behind for a corner. Four minutes later and a Ben Stephens shot from 25 yards went wide. in the 18th minute Stratford went ahead when good passing play down the right then saw the ball come in from the right with it falling nicely for Ben Stevens to hook the ball from ten yards over Jack Harding in the Banbury goal into the back of the net.
Banbury though responded well to going behind. In the 21st minute a Charlie Hawtin cross in from the left saw Ricky Johnson's header from 12 yards go just wide. On the half hour a Tom Winter's cross in from the left and Johnson's header was pushed away by Louis Connor around the post for a corner.
But Banbury would get the equaliser that they were pressing for three minutes later when an Elliot Sandy shot from 15 yards was punched away by Connor in the Stratford goal but Winters was on hand to strike a glorious volley from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner of the net.
In the 38th minute a quick break from a Banbury attack saw Stephens cross low into the centre from the right where Will Grocott had plenty of space but shot over the bar from 15 yards when he should probably have done better.
Six minutes into the second half and United went in front when a Jordy Ngathe cross from the right was headed back at the far post by Tom Winters and Johnson was on hand to nod the ball home from close range.
In the 59th minute a cross from the left by Winters was headed wide by Johnson but a minute later and Stratford were level when a free kick on the right taken by Grocutt saw Mike Taylor get to the ball first eight yards out and he fired the ball home powerfully into the back of the net.
The last half hour developed into a very open affair with both sides looking for and looking as though they might snatch a winner.
But with eight minutes left the ball came in from McDonagh from the right with it being missed by Loyiso Recci and went through to Leam Howards who slotted the ball home past an exposed Connor from 10 yards.
Not surprisingly Banbury were put under some pressure in the closing minutes and Stratford went very close to equalising in the first minute of stoppage time when a shot from Taylor from the edge of the penalty area hit the post
Overall, there was little between the sides but in an entertaining game it was United who came out on top to maintain their impressive away record for the season.
Stratford Town: Louis Connor, James Fry, Charlie Evans, James Hancocks, Loyiso Recci, Liam Francis, Justin Marsden (Edwin Ahenkorah 61), Eli Bako, Mike Taylor, Will Grocutt, Ben Stephens. Subs (not used): Scott Martin, Gary Moran, Christian-Florin Tudorache, Daniel Summerfield.
Banbury United: Jack Harding, Charlie Hawtin, Jordy Ngathe, George Nash, Charlie Wise, Luke Carnell, Jack Self, Elliot Sandy (Leam Howards 65), Ricky Johnson, Conor McDonagh, Tom Winters. Subs (not used): Graham Bryan,Ryan Macdonald, Niall Clayton.