Royston Town 3-0 Banbury United
By Steve T
Poor away form continues
Banbury's poor away form continued with a very disappointing defeat at Royston Town, who completed only the third league double over United since promotion in 2016. Mike Ford's team had few chances and no complaints in recording their worst result of the league season against a team that had not won since New Year's Day.
With Lee Henderson unavailable Manager Mike Ford opted to partner Ricky Johnson at the back with Charlie Wise. Matt Taylor, whose loan until the end of the season was confirmed in the week, was at left-back. However, fellow loanee Sean Whaler, who had signed from Northampton Town, was unavailable due to injury.
The game kicked off in a swirling wind and this dominated the first half with neither team really getting to grips with the conditions.
Banbury forced corners which caused some discomfort in the home defence but as the half wore on it was the home team who made greater inroads, often attacking down the right, but with no end product to really test Jack Harding. The closest Banbury to a goal came was from a Ravi Shamsi free-kick just inside the Royston half. The home keeper misjudged the flight and was back-pedalling as he tipped the ball past the post.
Half-time was delayed by what appeared to be a nasty injury to Royston's Daniel Gallin. He was stretchered off with what turned out to be a badly-sprained ankle and not the break that was feared.
If the first period had been an even affair the second turned into a nightmare for Banbury. Royston took the lead on 53 minutes. A mishit cross from the left was hooked back into the box and Vance Bola got inside Charlie Hawtin to head home. Seven minutes later it was 2-0 when a corner form the right was hit deep to the far post and Tom Newman headed home.
Banbury tried to get back in the game and Giorgio Rasulo cut in from the right but saw his shot saved by Welch. Amer Awadh then produced a great run along the left goal line before pulling the ball back to Shamsi who miscued his shot when well placed.
It got worse for Banbury when Eren Kinali was allowed too much time on the right and his subsequent shot beat Harding at the near post to make it 3-0. A late Diggin header was well saved by Welch but it would have been no more than a consolation.
Manager Mike Ford was suffering with illness but received no tonic from the day's proceedings and another sizeable Puritan following were left scratching their heads as to why away form, which has been so good in recent seasons, has deserted the team.
Royston: 1. Joe Welch, 2. Gus Scott-Morriss, 3. Joe Newton, 4. Scott Thomas, 5. Taylor Parr, 6. Daniel Brathwaite, 7. Eren Kinali, 8. Luke Knight, 9. Dan Gallin (Sub 13 Vance Bola 45'), 10. Sam Corcoran, (Sub 14. Tom Newman 50'), 11. Rohdell Gordon (Sub 12. Josh Castiglione 76').
Subs not used: 15. Luke Oswick, 16. Charlie Johnson.
Banbury: 1. Jack Harding, 3. Matt Taylor, 4. George Nash, (Sub 8. Edmund Hottor, 68'), 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi, 7. Charlie Hawtin, 9. Ricky Johnson (C) 10, Steve Diggin, 12. Amer Awadh (Sub 19. Ryan McDonald, 85'), 16. Greg Kaziboni (Sub 17. Harry Whitehead 56') 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 19. Jamie Heapy, 20. Charlie Barnett.