Lowestoft Town 1-0 Banbury United
By Steve T
United netted by the Trawlerboys
Banbury's away day blues continued with defeat at Lowestoft. They were left to rue a strong first-half display that yielded pressure and chances but no end product.
It was a tough afternoon for Banbury who could only name two subs, one of them coach Anton Sambrook. A combination of unavailability and injury decimated the squad, not what was needed for a 320-mile round trip to the furthest point east the club has ever played a league game.
Banbury started with a 3-5-2 formation and took the game to their opponents with Edmund Hottor and Giorgio Rasulo controlling midfield. An early corner saw Charlie Wise fail to make a connection from close range and Ricky Johnson, following up, saw his shot bundled wide. Harry Whitehead headed over from the corner. Steve Diggin had a good chance from just inside the area but didn't make a clean contact and Putnins was able to make a comfortable save.
It was against the run of play when Lowestoft took the lead on 17 minutes. A long ball was chased by Reed and Whitehead into the right hand side of the penalty area, there was some contact and seconds later a theatrical dive by the home centre-forward, but the referee awarded the penalty and Deeks sent Harding the wrong way from the spot.
Banbury responded well with Ravi Shamsi at the heart of most attacking opportunities. He hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot from the left, then scuffed an effort when well placed before cutting in from the left and seeing his shot well saved by Putnins. Banbury's best chance of the game came when a corner fell to Diggin but his close range effort was cleared off the line and Whitehead cleared the bar with the follow-up.
At the other end Harding did well to push a Hughes shot wide of the right-hand post after he pounced on weak clearance inside the box. He was also called into action to make a header outside of his area and while out of position was relieved to see Curry's shot sail over the bar.
The second half saw Lowestoft nullify Banbury's midfield dominance and chances were few and far between. Lowestoft defended corners and crosses well and Banbury could not fashion openings as they had in the first period. Greg Kaziboni's introduction didn't create the spark needed. Lowestoft came closest to scoring when a header was cleared off the line, although Banbury broke well from this and only a last-ditch tackle prevented a flowing goalline to goalline opportunity.
Lowestoft saw out time to celebrate a 1-0 win that puts daylight between themselves and the bottom three. Banbury and their loyal supporters who had made the long journey were condemned to another disappointment on their travels.
Lowestoft Town: 1. Elvis Putnins, 2. Josh Curry 3, Jack Wilkinson, 4. Kyle Barker, 5. Adam Tann, 6. Travis Cole, 7. Henry Pollock, 8. Connor Deeks, 9. Jake Reed, 10. Ben Fowkes (Sub 16. Adam Fisk, 70'), 11. Tommy Hughes (Sub 12. Adam Smith, 79').
Subs not used: 14. Cion Wren, 15. Fletcher Hedge, 17. Shaun Bammant.
Banbury United: 1. Jack Harding, 3. Matt Taylor, 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi, 7. Charlie Hawtin, 8. Edmund Hottor, 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 10. Steve Diggin, 14. Lee Henderson, 17. Harry Whitehead (Sub 16. Greg Kaziboni 73') 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Sub not used: 20. Anton Sambrook.