Banbury United 16 points clear at top of league but won't get complacent

'Every day we prepare as if we're playing a cup final' says first team coach Craig Pead

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:33 am
Updated Thursday, 20th January 2022, 11:40 am
Pictures from Banbury's win over AFC Rushden & Diamonds courtesy of Hawkins Images

First team coach Craig Pead has reminded players to make the most of this opportunity which won’t happen often in their careers - to ‘grasp it and be grateful for it’ as Banbury United stay 16 points clear at the top of the table.

It’s now a brilliant nine league wins in a row for the Southern League Premier Division Central leaders, who earned a 2-0 success on Saturday over AFC Rushden & Diamonds - watched by a crowd of over 1,000.

And in a Puritans Radio interview after the game, Pead said: “Everyone’s pulling in the right direction, everyone knows what the meaning of this season is.

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“I keep saying to the players, this doesn’t happen a lot in people’s careers.

“When you are involved in a team that are pulling in the right direction, have this much ability, this much work rate, with this opportunity that they have got in their hands at the moment, this doesn’t happen very often.

“You have got to grasp it, be grateful for it and you have got to work until it’s mathematically said we are there.

“We will be going to the end, even if it’s the last game of the season.

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“It doesn’t matter how many points we are clear, we still go and keep working every single week.”

Reflecting on their latest victory, which saw Chris Wreh head in a captain Giorgio Rasulo free-kick early in the second half, followed three minutes from time by an own goal from a Morgan Roberts corner, Pead said they always knew it was going to be a tough game.

“It’s frustrating because we have set our high standards now,” he said.

“But the beauty of this team is that even when we are not at such a high standard they can still grind, still compete, still score goals and get results.

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“It’s tough to stay at the top, mentally and physically.

“Everyone wants to be that first team that turns you over.

“Every day we prepare as if we’re playing a cup final.

“Yes it’s fantastic, they’re doing well, but I’ll always ask for more from all the players,” he explained.

“We’ve not won the league, we are currently doing well but having the mentality we have got is going to stand us in good stead, so we don’t let any complacency slip in.”

This weekend Redditch United - sitting just a couple of places above the danger zone - visit the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

Then Banbury complete January’s fixtures with a trip to bottom club Nuneaton Borough on the 29th.

With 22 wins in their 26 games, just one defeat and three draws, Andy Whing’s title hopefuls have 69 points.

Coalville, in second place have 53 points and a game in hand, while Peterborough Sports (in third on 50 points) and Rushall Olympic (fourth with 45) have both played two fewer games so far.