Redditch United 2-0 Banbury United
By Steve T
Banbury second best
It was a very disappointing trip up the M40 for Banbury who returned home well beaten from the trip to Redditch who had been third from bottom prior the game. This was a third successive league defeat for United.
Banbury made one change to the starting line up from Tuesday with Jack Finch on the bench and George Nash starting. However, Finch was deemed not fit in the warm up and Harry Whitehead took his place.
Banbury shaded the first half possession-wise but failed to create any clearcut chances. A series of three consecutive corners troubled the home defence but no killer finish could be found. Jack Self forced an error in the Redditch half but his shot from the edge of the box was well saved by Francis low to his left. At the other end Redditch got behind Banbury on a couple of occasions but didn't take advantage and an Ali shot from 20 yards went narrowly wide of Agboola's post.
As half-time approached, Banbury pressed Redditch in their half. A lob into the box by George Nash was met by Ricky Johnson and he was fouled going for the header. It looked a clear penalty but after a discussion the referee and assistant adjudged the foul to have happened outside of the area and Banbury had to make do with a free kick. This almost brought rewards as John Mills shot was well saved by Francis low to his left again. This was Mills' last play of the game as he limped off just before the break and was replaced by Steve Diggin.
It was an uneventful opening to the second half but everything changed on 52 minutes when Brendon Bunn picked up a Marvin Martin header on the left had side and was allowed too much space in the box before firing past Manny Agboola at the near post.
Within 10 minutes it was 2-0 at the increasingly influential Shaquille Leachman-Whittingham got on the end of a deep cross from the left at the back post and his first shot went past Agboola to make it 2-0.
Banbury pressed to get something out of the game with Greg Kaziboni leading the way. He showed great determination to get a cross in from the right but Johnson could not supply a first-time finish and the close-range chance was bundled away. At the other end, Leachman-Whittingham's pace caused Banbury problems but profligate finishing by him and his teammates kept the score to 2-0 at the final whistle.
Whilst the penalty decision may have changed the outcome there was no denying that Redditch were by far the stronger side in the second half and deserved winners.
Redditch: 1. Francis, 2. Ashmore, 3. Sinclair, 4. Franklin, 5. Parsons, 6. Evans, 7. Ali, 8. Bunn, 9. Howards, 10. Leachmann-Whittingham, 11. Nelson.
Banbury: 1. Emmanuel Agboola, 3. Marvin Martin, 4. George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise, 7. Charlie Hawtin, 8. Jack Self, 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 13. John Mills, (Sub 10.Steve Diggin 45'), 14. Lee Henderson, 16. Gregory Kaziboni, 18. Giorgio Rasulo (Sub 12. Amer Awadh 73', Sub 11. Mark Bell 80').
Subs not used: 15. Eddie Odhiambo, 17. Harry Whitehead