Ford calls on his strikers to make the difference

Banbury United striker Manny Duku blocks a clearance at Stratford Town. Photo: Edwin Barson
Banbury United striker Manny Duku blocks a clearance at Stratford Town. Photo: Edwin Barson
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Banbury United boss Mike Ford has challenged his strikers to produce the goals in the last five Evo-Stik Southern League games of the season.

That’s the one area in which the Puritans have come up short in what has been an outstanding first season back in the premier division.

Of the 12 defeats we’ve had, eight of them have come against mid-table teams and that has cost us

Puritans boss Mike Ford

United have the second best defensive record in the division but are only mid-table when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net. Despite an exciting brand of attacking football, the Puritans have managed just 62 goals so far, much less than the teams above them.

And Ford said it’s United’s inability to overcome mid-table teams which has cost them vital points.

On Saturday, United travel to lowly Hayes & Yeading United where Ford will be looking for his side to be more potent in attack.

He said: “We’ve not scored enough goals this season and if we want to improve we have to do better in that department. Ricky Johnson and Conor McDonagh have only got 25 goals between them and that’s not enough.

“We’ve done the stats and it’s taking us 13 attempts to score one goal. We created less chances at Chesham than we did against them at home yet we beat them 4-0 because we were more clinical that night.”

And one of those players charged with getting more goals is McDonagh, who was left out of the starting line-up at Stratford.

Ford revealed that McDonagh did not turn up for training but said the matter has now been sorted and he remains part of his plans.

He said: “Conor didn’t turn up for training on Thursday so he didn’t deserve to start at Stratford.

“I have to be fair to the players, if you turn up to training on a regular basis you will get your chance. I had to make a stand and that’s why he was left out.”