Banbury Suffer Gut-Wrenching Defeat
Banbury HC Men’s 1s - 1 Oxford Uni Men’s 1s -2
Banbury was very unlucky not to come away with a share of the spoils in a closely fought game against top team Oxford University.
The first half was end to end hockey with both teams testing the opposition keepers. After 5 minutes it was Oxford who won a penalty flick after defender Pete Lamb made a great double save on the line but the following strike was impeded. The university dispatched the penalty to go 1-0 up. But Banbury, who had 3 key players missing, went straight on the attack with Harry Simons and James Long creating from midfield for Steve O’Connor and Captain Will Kellett up front causing problems for the university defence. This led to a penalty corner after 13 minutes which Josh Nunneley was unlucky not to score as his rocket of a drag flick smashed high against the Oxford goal post. The University then came at Banbury hard but, man of the match, Kit Lamb in goal was outstanding and the defence of Nunneley, Darsh Theara, Pete Lamb and Harry Camp stood firm. Then with just 4 minutes left of the half Long found O’Connor upfront with a great aerial pass down the left wing which O’Connor took into the Oxford D and beat the keeper with a delightful flick to make it 1-1 at halftime.
The second half was a very tight affair with both teams defending well and playing great flowing hockey. Youngsters Jacob Buckner Rowley and Sam Chadbourne linked up well to create many attacks down the flanks, and Josh Nunneley and Lamb were commanding in defence. But a series of cards for ill-discipline left the last 15 minutes of the half with Banbury playing most of it with 10 men. Richard Hobley and Joe Allen especially worked hard in midfield to hold the opposition out leaving Oxford with only a couple of chances. But with 5 minutes left on the clock, the university picked up a loose ball in the Banbury D and scored with a deft slap shot to make it 2-1. Banbury then threw everything at the university who rocked under the attacking pressure and with just 10 seconds on the clock O’Connor intercepted an Oxford aerial pass, rounded a defender with ease and expertly squeezed the ball into the goal between the University keeper and defender. Banbury thought they’d scored a deserved equaliser but the umpire blew for full time as the ball made its way to the empty goal and the goal didn’t stand. The game ended 2-1 to Oxford University but an under-strength Banbury team were very unlucky and can take heart from the way they played.
Manager Andy Camp said “we are obviously gutted that we didn’t come away with a deserved draw - hitting the post and having a last gasp equaliser chalked off is difficult to take. But I was particularly pleased that this team fought every second of this game and it shows we have nothing to fear. Next week we take on Reading away and we will be well up for it”.
Photo: Nunneley hits the post
Photo: Goalscorer O'Connor unlucky not to get the equaliser.
Photo: Harry C making a run