Ford praises players after Puritans stay in play-off race

Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Banbury United manager Mike Ford

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At this stage of the season, all that matters is the result and Banbury United boss Mike Ford knew the importance of getting three more points on Saturday.

The Puritans beat Cinderford Town 2-1 in Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash. The victory keeps United in the premier division play-off race despite Merthyr Town getting a late three points to keep the gap down to a single point.

We were the team with everything to lose and not much to gain

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Goals in each half from Luke Carnell and substitute Manny Duku put United in charge before aa late goal from Craig Norman set up a nervous ending.

Ford said: “That was a huge effort from my players on a difficult surface against a team with nothing to lose. We were the team with everything to lose and not much to gain.

“We were expected to come here and win and I’m not going to give Cinderford any credit for the way they played. If they had played like that all season they would be in mid-table.

“Cinderford played without any pressure and with freedom, they had a good shape and system.

“We’re still in the chasing pack and still on Merthyr’s heels. It was a great result and no-one should take anything away from my players in that performance.

“We can only focus on what we can do. We set targets for the players before the game and, although I’m not sure we reached many of them, we’ve still come away with the win and the players deserve ten out of ten for character.

“Our supporters were frustrated because they expected us to win comfortably but we’ve done what we needed to do.

“We were the 1-10 favourite in a five-furlong flat race, we didn’t win it comfortably but we’ve still won it. Without playing well, we could still have been out of sight before halftime.

“We had some great opportunities to finish the game off but again we haven’t taken them. If we had gone in at halftime 3-0 up, the game becomes easy but in the end it got very edgy for us.”