Banbury United 2-1 Needham Market
By Steve T
Late winner brings relief for United
There was relief around the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium as Banbury picked up their first win since mid-January thanks to a late Giorgio Rasulo goal.
The only change to Tuesday's starting XI saw Eddie Odihambo come into the side, replacing Charlie Hawtin who was injured in the Redditch game. Greg Kaziboni, who had missed the last two games with an ankle injury, returned to the bench.
Banbury got off to a dream start with only five minutes gone on the clock. A corner was played short by Ravi Shamsi to Giorgio Rasulo and they then combined for Rasulo to cross for Joe Iaciofano to score from close range via the visiting keeper Jessup's leg.
It was an open game with the visitors operating with two wide men giving space in midfield. Shamsi was at the heart of most of Banbury's attacking intent and he combined with Iaciofano and Johnson before shooting wide as he burst into the area. Needham Market created a couple of half chances but their best opportunity came when Mills on the left volleyed a long ball from their keeper first-time, over Harding but just past the far post.
With half-time approaching Banbury came close to doubling their lead. Awadh and Shamsi moved the ball down the left channel and Iaciofano picked up the ball and chipped a shot over the advancing keeper but it came back off the bar. However, late in stoppage time it was the visitors who got on the scoresheet when Lee Henderson was harshly adjudged to have a handled a shot that hit him from point-blank range. Marsden slotted home the resulting penalty kick.
The second half saw Needham Market push forwards but Jack Harding was able to comfortably deal with a couple of headers although a dangerous low cross from the right by Marsden was just missed by two attackers when only a touch was needed for a goal.
The introduction of Greg Kaziboni for Iaciofano gave Banbury extra vigour. He saw a 20-yard drive deflected wide then put in a superb cross to Ricky Johnson whose header just missed the right-hand post.
Ravi Shamsi almost curled in a free-kick from the right as the pressure mounted on the visitors' goal. The winner finally came on 85 minutes after great work by Awadh who tracked back and won a tackle on the half-way line. He then drove forward to the left-hand edge of the penalty before pulling the ball back for Rasulo who cut inside and fired a right-footed shot from 18 yards past Jessup's right hand.
Banbury have found it difficult to see games out whilst in front at times this season but here they were able to run down the clock and retain possession to hold on for a morale-boosting and deserved three points.
Banbury: 1. Jack Harding, 3. Matt Taylor, 6. Ravi Shamsi (Sub 5. Charlie Wise 85'), 8. Edmund Hottor (Sub 4. George Nash 70'), 9. Ricky Johnson (C), 10. Joe Iaciofano (Sub 16. Greg Kaziboni 65'), 12. Amer Awadh, 14. Lee Henderson, 15. Eddie Odihambo, 17. Harry Whitehead, 18. Giorgio Rasulo.
Subs not used: 11. Prudence Anaele, 19. Ryan Macdonald.
Needham Market: 1. Jake Jessup, 2. Jake Dye, 3. Calum Sturgess, 4. Sam Squire (Sub Jeremiah Kamanzi 70'), 5. Kieran Morphew, 6. James Baker, 7. Joe Marsden, 8. Russell Short, 9. Luke Ingram, 10. Jamie Griffiths, 11. Adam Mills.
Subs not used: 13. Cook, 14. Carragher, 15. Pelling.
Attendance – 402
Man of the Match as selected by match sponsors Magna – Giorgio Rasulo
Photo: Giorgo Rasulo strikes Banbury's winner.