Brooker wants Banbury to show more mettle in fight

Banbury's Simon Boardman goes on the attack against Guildford
Banbury's Simon Boardman goes on the attack against Guildford
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Steve Brooker will be looking for his Banbury side to show some steel in their bid to avoid the drop.

Banbury head to Horsham for Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League fixture in desperate need of points.

We have the quality to thrive in this league but we have to show some character in this tough spell

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

They lost 3-1 to basement boys Guildford and are now in a battle for survival against fellow division one strugglers Horsham who Banbury are level on points with ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

Banbury made a great start with repeated successful breaks down the right hand side through Kieran Symons and George Brooker. But successive breaks into the opposition area failed to result in a score as chances went unconverted.

The visitors may have been bottom of the table and without a win until Saturday but they proved to be made of stern stuff and a different side that Banbury beat earlier in the season. Having looked dangerous on the break, Guildford converted a chance midway through the first half through Tom Cantey to rock the home side and take a lead into the half time break.

Banbury made a brisk start to the second half and George Brooker’s mazy dribble down the right won a penalty corner which was converted by Kyle White to give the home side hope of the much needed points.

But the visitors snatched the lead back after only two minutes through another breakaway move finished by Tom Moore to dash Banbury’s hopes.

The successes of the changed home formation are giving way to uncertainties and even a switch back to the more familiar 4-4-2 failed to bring reward as Banbury were unable to convert their forward pressure and squandered their hard won penalty corner chances.

With time running out and more desperate attacks failing to bring a response, the visitors broke down the right in the dying minutes and won a penalty from the ragged defence which was coolly slotted home by Sam Plater.

Guildford were obviously delighted to get their first points of the campaign but Banbury are looking over the brink.

Brooker could only look on in dismay and said: “Creating chances is not enough as we are simply not converting.

“We now have a tough road ahead for the next nine games. We have the quality to thrive in this league but we have to show some character in this tough spell, starting with our long trip down to Horsham.”