Banbury Ladies 1st 2, Epsom Ladies 1st 5

Banbury arrived at Epsom’s pitch with their sights set on beating the opposition as they had in their previous encounter against the Surrey side. Despite Sadie Lapper (Banbury’s player-coach) being absent and Banbury’s prior track record of playing away, the team were confident and determined to secure a win.
Finding it difficult to adapt to the slow, bouncy pitch Banbury found themselves down 2-0 within the first ten minutes. Epsom were an experienced, well drilled side who pressed Banbury very high up the pitch, leaving the Oxfordshire team with limited options out of defence. After a spell of sloppy defending, wayward passing and slow reactions, Banbury found their feet and worked their way up to their attacking end of the pitch. With some handy stick work from Banbury’s forwards and high midfielders, the girls penetrated the Epsom D with quick shots and penalty corners but struggled to convert. This was until central defender, Juliet Gardner, stepped up to take a penalty corner, hitting the ball past the keeper’s right foot into the corner of the goal; putting the score to 2-1.
The score stayed at 2-1 for the remainder of the first half until a penalty corner was awarded to Epsom; following a Banbury foot in the D. Epsom’s full attacking line surrounded the D as the half-time whistle blew and despite all their effort Banbury found themselves down 3-1.
Having discussed Epsom’s press during the half time talk, Banbury were able to fight their way into the oppositions D by utilising the outside flanks with some early passes from defence to leading forwards up the line. It didn’t take long for Banbury to win a penalty corner, of which a ‘right slip’ was called. With textbook execution of the aforementioned penalty corner routine, Natasha Nunneley found herself on the scoreboard with a deflection on the right post, narrowing the score to 3-2.
With a determined Epsom side, they barged their way through the Banbury defence to be awarded with another short corner, as a result of a stick tackle just inside the D. Upping the score to 4-2, Banbury’s heads started to drop with the realisation that the game may be slipping away from them.
In a matter of minutes Banbury’s centre midfielder, Charlie Matthews, was taken off the pitch with an injured hand, leaving the Banbury side with no subs. An exhausted Banbury conceded yet another goal, this time in open play, finishing with a short range shot past Lotty Andrew’s (Banbury keeper) foot, leaving the final score line at 5-2.
A disappointing result for Banbury and a long list of things to work on for next week’s home match against London side; Teddington.
Samantha Humphreys