Banbury are staring relegation in the face and life in the South Premier Hockey League does not get any easier.
Manager Steve Brooker saw a huge improvement in his side’s performance at rivals Milton Keynes.
But that was not enough as they went down to a sixth successive division one defeat, losing 3-1.
With Banbury hosting top-of-the-table Bromley & Beckenham this week they are leaving a lot of work to do for the last few weeks of the season if they are to avoid the drop.
Banbury started brightly but always looked vulnerable as Milton Keynes pressed forward with trademark repeated penetrating passes to quick moving forwards in front of goal.
It required a sharp save from keeper Scott Reynolds in the opening few minutes to keep Banbury on level terms.
The visitors soon settled down and began to find their own shape, putting some pressure back on to the hosts.
But it was the home side which struck first, breaking from a side-line ball down the right and into the D with Jamie Dodd slotting home.
After the delay for a head injury to a home player, Banbury settled back into their promising first half form.
But they were unable to score although Barney Williams’ sharp shot drew an outstanding save from the Milton Keynes keeper to frustrate the visitors’ hopes as they went into the break still training.
A defensive slip after ten minutes of the second period conceded a penalty corner for the home side which was put away by Nick Anderson to increase the hosts’ lead.
Banbury were down but not out and continued to pressure the home defence with increasingly effective attacks. That finally produced its reward with Simon Boardman finishing a right-sided move putting away Kyle White’s cross.
But any brief hope of snatching a late point was snuffed out as the home side capitalised on another defensive slip to restore their lead with Dodd doubling his tally. Milton Keynes kept out the renewed Banbury pressure in the dying moments.