Banbury United 2-1 Halesowen Town
By Steve T
Early goals win the points for United
Banbury first home game of the season, and a first against Halesowen for seven seasons, saw them run out worthy winners.
Banbury had the visitors on the back foot from the start and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 5 mins. A Ravi Shamsi free kick wasn't cleared and skipper Charlie Wise drilled the ball through keeper Platt from six yards out. However, Halesowen were level only three minutes later. Former Oxford United player James Roberts was brought down by Jordy Ngathe in the box and he picked himself up to fire home the resultant penalty.
The setback didn't stop Banbury going forwards and they regained the lead on sixteen minutes when Greg Kaziboni cut in from the right and fired past Platt from 25 yards. Further pressure saw Kaziboni have a shot well saved, Steve Diggin fire across the goal from the right and Shamsi hit the outside of the post but it stayed 2-1 at half time.
Halesowen introduced the experienced striking duo of Ebanks-Blake and Hughes in the second half, Hughes tested keeper James Goff at his left hand post but it was Banbury who came closest to scoring, A clever looping header from Diggin hit the bar and Kaziboni was denied by Platt at point blank range as he followed up.
In the last few minutes Halesowen bombarded the Banbury box looking for the equaliser but the defence with centre-backs Wise (man of the match) and Lee Henderson bolstered by sub Ricky Johnson held firm to ensure Banbury took the three points that their performance merited.
Banbury United: James Goff; Charlie Hawtin, Jordy N'gathe, Lewis Gabbidon (Sub Ricky Johnson, 76 mins), Charlie Wise (c), Lee Henderson, Jack Finch, Jack Self, Steve Diggin, Ravi Shamsi (Sub Mark Bell, 82 mins), Greg Kaziboni (Sub Ben Baker, 88 mins).
Unused Subs: Amer Awadh, Harry Whitehead.