Ford knows what is required for Puritans to push on

Manny Duku comes away with the ball during Banbury United's defeat Leamington on Monday. Photo: Edwin Barson

Manny Duku comes away with the ball during Banbury United's defeat Leamington on Monday. Photo: Edwin Barson

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Banbury United manager Mike Ford knows what is required if his side are to build on this season’s success.

So near, yet so far. That was how it turned out for the Puritans in the penultimate Evo-Stik Southern League game of the season.

Our failing this season has been putting the ball in the net and that’s something we can address in the summer

Puritans boss Mike Ford

The Puritans lost 1-0 at Leamington in Monday’s premier division derby and that ended their slim hopes of making it into the play-offs on the final day.

Jamie Hood grabbed the only goal of the contest midway through the first half and United never really looked like getting back into a game they had to win to stay in contention.

Ford said: “This season we’ve been playing against better teams and better players. They are well organised and have far more experience than what we have.

“In general, the changes we’ve made have paid off and I’ve got a good group of players who have acquitted themselves very well this season.

“But, if we want to do better, then they have to be better and so do I and that may mean getting better players in. Our failing this season has been putting the ball in the net and that’s something we can address in the summer.”

Ford started with Manny Duku up front with Conor McDonagh at Leamington but made changes in the first half with Sam Humphreys replacing the former Kings Langley striker.

Ford said: “It was disappointing for Manny [Duku] but I had to change the shape in the first half, we just couldn’t get a foothold in the game so I went with a front three. You can either sit there, not make a decision and go 3-0 down or make a decision.

“As a manager, you have to try and do your best for the team. There was even a time in the second half when we thought about taking Sam [Humphreys] off.”