Banbury United 2-1 Rushall Olympic
Hard-fought win extends United's unbeaten run
Banbury extended their unbeaten run to eight matches after a tough win over a combative Rushall side. The performance never reached the heights of the win over Kettering the week before but Banbury were pleased to grind out a result, enjoying a little luck along the way in front of a healthy 450+ crowd boosted by a 'Footy for a Fiver' initiative.
United settled the better of the two sides and went close when Greg Kaziboni sent Ravi Shamsi free in the penalty area. His low cross was missed by everyone in front of goal. The ball went through to Matt Taylor who took it to the byline and crossed to a well-positioned Shamsi but his header was comfortably dealt with by visiting keeper Adam Przybek. They went close again after a good period of ball retention ended with George Nash's sending Greg Kaziboni clear but, after cutting into the box from the right, his shot skimmed the far post.
Banbury took the lead on 31 minutes from a penalty. Amer Awadh linked up well with Kaziboni and Giorgio Rasulo before driving into the area and was upended eight yards from goal by Orrin Pendley to give referee Wayne Barrett an easy decision in awarding a spot kick. This was entrusted to Steve Diggin and he fired low past Przybek's right hand. He was a hair's width away from making it 2-0 soon after, just failing to connect with a low cross from Shamsi that flew across the six-yard box from the left.
Although Rushall then had half chances in their best spell of the game Banbury went into the break good value for their lead.
Early in the second period good work from Shamsi set up Awadh but his shot was deflected to safety. However Rushall levelled things up on 57 minutes. A free kick from the right caused confusion in the Banbury defence with Manny Agboola doing well to keep out Pendley's close range shot but Joe Hull scored from the rebound, with Charlie Wise's claim to have hooked the ball back into play being overruled. Rushall almost took the lead moments later when Banbury lost possession in midfield and Daniel O'Callaghan hit a shot that grazed the outside of the post.
However Banbury got back in front on 65 minutes and it was the man of the moment Kaziboni who did the trick. His near post shot was beaten out for a corner which Rushall failed to fully clear. Nash passed to Kaziboni whose trickery took him into the box and his powerful shot had too much for keeper Przybek who could only help it into the roof of the net to send the Town End delirious.
Having regained the lead, United went in search for a third which nearly came when another teasing Shamsi low cross was touched away by Przybek with Charlie Wise and Ricky Johnson inches away from adding a final touch.
Rushall refused to give up the quest for a point. Sammons struck the bar from 25 yards, O'Callaghan fired over and a loud appeal for handball against Charlie Wise was turned down. Banbury were pinned back in five long minutes of injury time and from a Sammons' corner, Pendley hit the post in a huge scramble before Agboola was finally able to claim the ball. The little bit of luck that had eluded Banbury in October came to their rescue and another three points were secured to send the supporters home happy for Christmas and no doubt encourage a few more to make the short trip to Stratford on Boxing Day.
Banbury: 1. Emmanuel Agboola, 3. Matt Taylor, 4. George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi, 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 10. Steve Diggin (Sub 8. Edmund Hottor 81'), 13. Amer Awadh (Sub 11. Mark Bell 65'), 15. Eddie Odhiambo (Sub 17. Harry Whitehead, 86'), 16. Greg Kaziboni, 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 2. Darius Browne 13. John Mills.
Rushall: 13. Adam Przybek, 2. Brian Smikle, 4. Sam Whitall (Sub 14. Simeon Maye '73), 5. Joseph Hull, 7. Danny Waldron, 8. Daniel O'Callaghan, 10. Ashley Sammons, 11. Adam Page (Sub 16. Jakub Burroughs '57), 12. Tyler Little, 18. Orrin Pendley, 19. Ben Lund.
Subs not used: 1. Joe Slinn, 6. Kevin Monteiro, 15. Edwin Akenhorah
Attendance – 451
Man of the Match as selected by Match Sponsors Puritans Supporters – Matt Taylor