Banbury relying on rivals slipping up to avoid drop

Banbury's Joe Cooper takes on Oxford Hawks' Drew Blackburn

Banbury's Joe Cooper takes on Oxford Hawks' Drew Blackburn

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With only two South Premier Hockey League games remaining, Banbury are now relying on others if they are to avoid relegation.

Banbury failed to recover from a disastrous start to lose 5-3 in Saturday’s division one derby with rivals Oxford Hawks.

Yet again we have had a poor start to both halves of the game and finished strongly but with too little too late

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

The visitors got away to a great start inside the first minute. With the Banbury defence distracted and claiming a free-hit for a lifted ball, Matt Wood was able to slot home.

Banbury equalised when a left-sided saw Max Grossmith’s shot was saved by the keeper but the rebound was slammed home by George Brooker.

Despite the quick reply, Banbury still looked shaky and conceded ten minutes later when Dan Rhodes lobbed keeper Scott Reynolds. Ten minutes later Ted Bennett finished off a move down the right.

Banbury conceded a penalty corner within two minutes of the restart calmly finished by Jack Biggs. Banbury began to improve but conceded yet again to an open play move with Toby Blong extending the visitors’ lead.

If Banbury could play the whole of their games like the last ten minutes of recent games they would not be struggling.

Centre back Josh Nunneley may give the coaching team nervous moments when he goes forward. But it was his surge forward and pass into the D which found Brooker who finished well from short range.

Just like last week, Banbury finished strongly with Adrian Simons being flattened to win a penalty put away by Tyson Nunneley. But it was all too late with Banbury running out of time and unable to fully reduce the arrears.

Manager Steve Brooker said: “Yet again we have had a poor start to both halves of the game and finished strongly but with too little too late.

“For periods of each game our performances are good but we need to be consistent for the whole game if we are get the results we need.

“That leaves us needing to win the next two games against London Wayfarers and Spencer but still reliant on the results of others.”