Saturday 5th October
A depleted Banbury side took the long trip to Suffolk in their stride and deservedly came back with all three points in the bag, following a hard-working display in a game that the home side were probably disappointed to lose.
United were without Ricky Johnson (injured) and Lee Henderson and Jack Westbrook (both suspended) so their central defensive options were somewhat limited. Eddie Odhiambo came in for a welcome start, with Charlie Hawtin and Connor Roberts in the middle and Kynan Isaac on the left.
In a fairly evenly fought encounter, Banbury's defence looked fairly solid throughout and was backed up by Jack Harding between the posts, playing better than he ever has and producing another faultless performance. Giorgio Rasulo took over the captain's armband as if he had been there all season, and the rest of the team played as a unit to thwart an impressive Marketmen side.
As both sides tested each other early on, the first decent chance of the game came in the 12th minute when Needham's Joseph Martin shot from the right, only to see his effort well-saved by Harding. The play swung from end to end as the evenly-matched sides traded attack for attack, but neither goal was threatened until the 35th minute when Banbury started to get a bit more of the ball and Jaanai Gordon, who had been on his own up front for most of the game, saw his shot blocked by home 'keeper Marcus Garnham, and the rebound fell to Roger Ngaah Bosio, whose snatched effort was just off target. Pablo Haysham then had a couple of efforts, the first saved by Garnham and the second a foot wide. The Marketmen also went close following a corner, but Banbury's defence held firm and the first-half ended goalless.
After the break, Banbury looked the more likely to break the deadlock and Amer Awadh went close when Garnham saved well at the near post. Needham were unlucky in the 65th minute when a cross from Luke Ingram on the right bounced off the top of the crossbar and was cleared. Then in the 70th minute, Joe Neal sent in a shot from the corner of the penalty area which was cleared off the goal-line by Claudio Dias, as Needham put pressure on United.
The addition of John Mills in the 73rd minute signalled an increase in Banbury's mobility up front and this looked to perk up United's play, but the very impressive Keiran Morphew in the heart of Needham's defence still marshalled his co-defenders as they sought to keep Banbury at bay.
Two minutes after he came on Mills was unlucky when he saw a close-range shot deflected for a corner, and the corner-kick itself was then deflected for another as Banbury looked to apply more pressure. Isaac, impressive throughout, was now pushing forward more often as Needham were forced on to the defensive. The deadlock was at last broken in the 86th minute when, following good work from Mohammed Ahmed and Isaac on the left, Mills fired in a fierce close-range shot from a narrow angle. James Baker got a touch on the ball but failed to stop it bulging the back of the net.
Needham Market:- Marcus Garnham, Daniel Morphew, Callum Sturgess, Russell Short, Keiran Morphew, James Baker, Luke Ingram (84 mins. Callum Page), Gareth Heath, Joe Neal, Joseph Marsden, Jordao Diogo (22 mins. Samuel Squire).
Subs not used: Jake Dye, Noah Collard, Finlay Shorten.
Banbury United:- Jack Harding, Connor Roberts, Eddie Odhiambo, Kynan Isaac, Charlie Hawtin, Giorgio Rasulo (captain), Pablo Haysham (73 mins. John Mills), Claudio Dias, Amer Awadh (85 mins. Mohammed Ahmed), Roger Ngaah Bosio (55 mins. Kobe Chong), Jaanai Gordon.
Subs not used: Gedeon Okito, Anderson Cayola Villarroel.
Attendance – 244
Man of the Match as selected by Puritans Radio – Connor Roberts