Banbury United 20 points clear after top-of-table win over Rushall Olympic

Board of Directors issue statement after anti-social behaviour at game

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:12 pm
Man of the Match Jay Williams defending Banbury's goal  PICTURES BY JULIE HAWKINS
Man of the Match Jay Williams defending Banbury's goal PICTURES BY JULIE HAWKINS

Saturday’s 2-1 win at Rushall Olympic stretched Banbury United’s lead at the top of the table to 20 points.

Although Andy Whing’s side went behind in the fifth minute of the top-of-the-table clash, they were soon level through Jack Stevens, curling the ball into the top corner after Chris Wreh had two shots charged down.

Wreh then scored the winner midway through the second half.

Jack Stevens opening the scoring for Banbury United

With a break in their Southern League Premier Division Central fixtures now until Hednesford Town visit on March 19, Whing reflected on a job well done.

“We could have killed the game off with the chances we had, but to come here and win 2-1 is an unbelievable result,” he told Puritans Radio in a post-match interview.

“It’s a little bit frustrating we don’t have a game next week, when you are winning you want to keep going, but the lads will have a bit of a breather then we’ll go again.”

And he couldn’t be happier with his side: “The players have been absolutely brilliant, absolutely outstanding to a man, the whole squad,” he said. “The togetherness in there is brilliant.

Chris Wreh about to score...

“But we haven’t won anything yet, there’s no celebration in the changing rooms, we just take it game by game.”

Other teams in the chasing pack still have games in hand, but Banbury’s 83 points with only five draws and two defeats in their 33 games, is looking harder to catch for teams in the play-off places.

Rushall have 63 points from 32 games, followed by Coalville Town (63 from 30), Peterborough Sports (57 from 30) and AFC Rushden & Diamonds (55 from 31).

“It was a fantastic team performance,” Whing summed up. “Rushall were outstanding, but we just had the edge on them today.”

But it wasn’t a good day on the terraces and the Board issued the following statement on Sunday: “The club are extremely disappointed that the behaviour of a small number of the large following yesterday at Rushall Olympic, who were very welcoming hosts, has taken the focus away from another fantastic performance by the team on the pitch.

“We recognise supporters support our team in different ways but the anti-social behaviour of some at the game is not acceptable, a view we know to be shared by the vast majority of our fans, and as a club we will not tolerate this.

“Those identified as being involved, including those using smoke bombs, will face sanctions including being banned by the club from attending matches.

“We know the referee will report on the issues to the FA and that the local police have recorded a number of incidents.

“We will assist them with their investigations. Anyone who has any information regarding issues on the day that they wish to share with us to assist please contact [email protected]

We will consider what measures need to be taken to endeavour to ensure this is not repeated.

We are enjoying a fantastic season and no one wants this to be spoilt by behaviour off the pitch.

We are saddened to have to make a public statement like this that detracts from the amazing performances by the team and tarnishes the reputation of the club as a whole.”

Whing also branded the behaviour “absolutely disgraceful”.

“It’s not called for at any level, at any game,” he said.

“This is Rushall Olympic’s livelihood, their pitch and we’re throwing flares on it. It’s an absolute disgrace.

“Unfortunately because we are doing so well we are getting a few idiots into our games now and we are not having it.

“The supporters have been outstanding, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a certain element, a few people who just want to cause trouble.

“They will have to be dealt with and hopefully not come to football games again.”