Redditch United 0 Banbury United 0
Banbury's new season started with the short trip to Worcestershire, a journey that they had made many times before.
The strong wind and the 3G pitch made for a tricky encounter but, given the conditions, the quality of football on show gave the small crowd plenty of entertainment. The opening ten minutes saw the visitors take control and they confined the Reds in their own half with some quick-passing, one-touch football that was a credit to their pre-season training.
Following this spell of domination, and completely against the run of play, the first chance fell to the home side in the 11th minute when, in their first attack and following a mistake at the back by Banbury, Rhys Hilton went close when he lobbed the stranded Jack Harding, only to see his effort go high and wide of the goal. Just four minutes later, Harding did well to save at the feet of Callum Coyle but picked up an injury which required several minutes of treatment.
The game started to even out in terms of possession as Redditch's chances gave them some impetus and this made for a more competitive game. The travelling Banbury fans had to wait until the 22nd minute for their first decent goal-scoring chance. Following a corner from the right, Giorgio Rasulo's flag-kick was sent to the far post where John Mills shot was blocked on the line. The rebound fell to Connor Roberts but his 10-yard chip narrowly missed the far post.
Just before half-time, Banbury's best chance occurred when, following a forward move involving five players, the ball was picked up by Mills who side-stepped two players in the penalty area only to see his goal-bound shot deflected into the path of Gedeon Okito, but somehow his shot from a yard out went just the wrong side of the post, with Max Beardmore in the Redditch goal completely beaten.
Straight after the interval, Banbury went close again. Rasulo broke from the halfway line and fed the ball to the impressive Amer Awadh but his shot was well saved by Beardmore, who then saved again shortly afterwards from Claudio Dias. Midway through the second half, Harding did well to save near the foot of the post when he could have easily been caught out by a 40-yard wind-assisted effort from Ollie Mulders.
The second period was a lot more even than the first and the match faded out into inevitable goal-less draw. Banbury might have snatched a win had they been less reluctant to attempt any speculative shots in the swirling wind.
Redditch United: Beardmore, Hickman, Moore, Mulders, Stoddart, Staten, Newell, McLean, Sweeney, Hilton (84 mins. Bailey-Nicholls), Coyle (90 mins. Deards).
Subs (unused): Boucher, Franklin, Willock.
Banbury United: Harding, Roberts, Okito, Westbrook (captain), Hawtin, Rasulo (90 mins. Odhiambo), Dias (66 mins. Johnson), Awadh, Henderson, Mills, Anderson (64 mins. Davies).
Subs (unused): Wise, Denilson
Attendance – 261
Redditch – Ryan Moore
Banbury – Connor Roberts (selected by Puritans Radio)