Ford says he is confident of coming up with solution

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Banbury United boss Mike Ford must be scratching his head trying to work out what has gone wrong with his defence.

The meanest defence in the Evo-Stik Southern League last season has been one of the leakiest in the top half of the premier division this time. Last season, United struggled to score goals but had no problem keeping them out, this time it’s the other way around.

We’ve had a pretty good start. We were August’s team of the month, but now the table is starting to take shape

Puritans boss Mike Ford

The Puritans have conceded 16 goals in nine games and have kept just two clean sheets in the league. They shipped three more at Kings Langley before coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller on Saturday but let in three more at leaders Kettering Town without reply on Tuesday.

It’s a dilemma for the United boss who has tried several permutations in a bid to shore things up. But Ford says he is confident of coming up with the solution.

Tuesday’s defeat was only the second time the Puritans have been outplayed and Ford will be looking for his side to be better equipped when the Poppies come to the Banbury Plant Community Stadium in November.

Club captain Ricky Johnson has missed the last two games through illness but will train on Thursday and should be back in contention for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie while new signing Tom James from Leamington made his debut in defence at Kettering, where Ford employed a three-man central defensive line-up.

He said: “It was one step too far for us on Tuesday but I’d like to think that when Kettering come to us we’ll be a lot better than that. We got a good doing over against Redditch and we got another one at Kettering.

“But I’m not going to get too down about the result, we just have to put it to bed and prepare for a massive game on Saturday. I had to manage some players on the pitch and some off it with Saturday’s game in mind.

“The only defeat that really disappoints me was the one against Frome because they’re a team around us in the table. We’ve got 18 points from nine games and if you equate that over the course of the season that works out at two points a game and should get you 80 plus points.

“We’ve had a pretty good start. We were August’s team of the month, but now the table is starting to take shape.”