Banbury United 1-2 St. Ives Town
By Steve T
Unbeaten home run ended by St Ives
This was a disappointing defeat, the first at home in nine games, played in front of a good crowd brought out by unseasonally warm conditions and boosted by local schoolchildren and the presence of former Banbury players enjoying a reunion day.
Manager Mike Ford welcomed back Amer Awadh, who had recovered from injury, and George Nash but Matt Taylor was absent due to a clash with his Oxford U23 duties while Friday had seen the departure of Steve Diggin to Corby. Northampton loanee Sean Whaler was fit and able to take his place on the bench where newcomer and former Cobbler Prudence Anaele also lined up.
Banbury started the game brightly with Ravi Shamsi creating problems for the home defence and fashioning a half-chance but they went behind on 15 minutes. A dangerous Banbury attack was stopped and the ball hit upfield, bouncing over Charlie Wise and allowing Andrew Osoi Bonsu a run at goal. His curling finish from the edge of the box beat Jack Harding's outstretched left hand.
Banbury responded well to the setback. Lee Henderson got free at a corner and headed wide at the far post and Ricky Johnson got a toe on the end of a good ball into the box but the effort was scrambled to safety. However, St Ives made it two when Ben Seymour-Shove used space on the right to place a shot that bounced in front of Harding to leave Banbury 0-2 down at half time.
Sean Whaler was introduced for Edmund Hottor at half-time and he started brightly on the right. On 56 minutes his cross was met by Ravi Shamsi with a powerful header from the edge of the box which flew past keeper Conway to give Banbury hope. Soon after Shamsi was the provider for Whaler, whose shot from inside the box just missed the far post, and he then found space but shot too close to Conway.
After this Banbury were unable to maintain momentum. St Ives disrupted play, using their substitutions to run down the clock. Ryan Macdonald came on for Harry Whitehead with fifteen minutes left but found his opportunities limited. Skipper Ricky Johnson battled to the end, almost forcing an own goal when he chased own a long ball and then came close to punishing a fumbled cross. However, it was the visitors celebrating at the final whistle.
Banbury: 1. Jack Harding, 4. George Nash, 5. Charlie Wise, 6. Ravi Shamsi, 7. Charlie Hawtin, 8. Edmund Hottor (Sub 2. Sean Whaler 46'), 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 12. Amer Awadh, 14. Lee Henderson, 17. Harry Whitehead (sub 19. Ryan Macdonald 73'), 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 11. Prudence Anaele, 20. Jamie Heapy, GK. Charlie Barnett.
St Ives: 1. Martin Conway, 2. Ben Jackson, 3. Jack Coulson, 4. Manashe Sundire, 18. Gavin Hoyte, 6. Jarvis Wilson, 7. Ben Seymour-Shove (Sub 13. Ty Ward, 82'), 8. Robbie Parker, 9. Tom Wood, 10. Andrew Osoi Bonsu (Sub 14. Jake Newman 75'), 11. Ollie Snaith (Sub 15. George Bailey 62').
Subs not used: 12. Jordon Patrick, 16. Ben Baker.
Man of the Match – as selected by match sponsors Edd Frost & Daughters – Ravi Shamsi