Five games left for the Puritans to clinch spot

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford
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Banbury United boss Mike Ford says there can be no more slip-ups if his side are going to make the Evo-Stik Southern League play-offs.

Ford saw his side’s five-match winning run come to an end in Saturday’s premier division derby defeat at Stratford Town and knows they must quickly get back on track.

We probably can’t afford to slip up again but I know we’ve still got some good performances in us

Puritans boss Mike Ford

The gap between the Puritans and Merthyr Town, who occupy the final play-off place, is back to three points. But Ford says his side must be ready to take advantage of any slip-ups by the Welsh outfit.

On Saturday, United travel to lowly Hayes & Yeading United and Ford will be looking for maximum points to keep the pressure on Merthyr.

Ford said: “We probably can’t afford to slip up again but I know we’ve still got some good performances in us.

“We must not look at the teams below us, we still need to be looking at those above us and be ready to take advantage if they slip up.

“We’ve got to deal with the pressure in the last five games, starting on Saturday. We have to match Hayes & Yeading in every department because they are fighting for their lives.

“Like most mid-table teams, Hayes are capable of beating anyone. And those teams are only in that position because they haven’t won enough games.

“Of the 12 defeats we’ve had this season, eight of them have come against mid-table teams and that has cost us. So we have to do much better against them.

“As a group, we’ve done great defensively but in attack we’ve not done well enough. We’re second in the table for goals conceded but down in 14th for goals scored and that’s what is costing us.”