Banbury Men Bounce Back with a Dominant Home Win
Banbury HC Men’s 1s – 3 Henley Men’s 1s – 1
With a 2 week break from the unlucky and disappointing loss away at Winchester, Banbury used the break to refocus and build for a resurgence, and it came in a comprehensive fashion in their 3-1 home win over Henley HC on Saturday.
The first half was a masterclass in possession and counterattack as the Banbury defence with Josh Nunneley, Darsh Theara, and keeper Kit Lamb at its heart gave Henley no chances to get a finger hold on this game. Any attack was repelled and the midfield pairing of Man of the Match, Joe Allen, and the dangerous and creative Steve O’Connor dominated the middle of the park. For the first 15 minutes, Banbury’s counter-attacking through Tyson Nunneley and George Brooker down the right flank tore Henley to shreds but early chances were missed despite some great work by O’Connor, Captain Will Kellett and George Godwin upfront. Then the Banbury play switched down the left flank with Pete Lamb and Harry Simons particularly linking well, leading to Henley’s defence and midfield becoming more open as the points of attack changed. This resulted in the Banbury opener when Harry Simons struck a superb reverse stick shot from the left of the D to give them a 1-0 lead.
From then on it was all Banbury and the fresh legs of Sam Chadbourne on the left flank and Jacob Buckner Rowley up front kept the pressure on the opponents. Just before half time O’Connor worked well off Joe Allen in the heart of midfield to work the ball around the Henley defence and find George Godwin in the Henley D. Godwin expertly rounded their keeper and scored with a tight reverse stick shot to make it a deserved 2-0 gap at the break.
The second half started with Henley attempting to rally but again the Banbury defence held well and Thaera and Nunneley expertly dealt with any crosses into the D and Lamb in goal cleared his lines well. Allen worked well with Tyson Nunneley and Pete Lamb on the flanks and was constantly winning possession in the heart of midfield so that the Henley surge ran out of steam and Banbury soon opened up the Henley team with their brand of fast and fluid counter-attacking hockey, especially through the flanks with Brooker and Simons dominant. The third Banbury goal came from this pressure when Captain Kellett swiftly trapped and struck the ball into the Henley net with just 10 minutes to go. Late on Henley scored a consolation goal but it was a comprehensive victory for the Banbury team who found their overdrive gear after the disappointment of 2 weeks ago.
Manager, Andy Camp said “this was a great response from our last match and sets us back on course for the league title as the second half of the season starts. We looked good all over the park today – we were in control, and we moved the ball on well in our counter-attacks which tore the opponents apart. We should’ve been more clinical with our chances, but this win really gave us a shot in the arm to recover our winning streak. Next week we are away to Maidenhead, and we need to go into that game focussed with a winning mentality”.
Photo: Simons closes down Henley with Nunneley and gets the opener.