Banbury United five points clear at top of tree for Christmas
Thrilling victory over Peterborough Sports on Tuesday evening sets up happy festive season
PICTURES BY JULIE HAWKINS
Happy Banbury United supporters are celebrating Christmas five points clear at the top of the tree.
Tuesday evening’s entertaining 3-2 victory over third-placed Peterborough Sports was a massive result for the Southern League Premier Central Division leaders.
And speaking after the game, delighted acting chairman Stephen Barlow said: “It’s brilliant. Andy (Whing) has got the guys playing really, really fantastic football, committed, some lovely stuff.
“It’s just a great squad – a great time to be involved with the club and I am so proud we have a football club at the top of the league going into Christmas, what a great feeling that is. There’s so much hard work by so many people behind the scenes.
“All credit to Andy and the players, week in, week out Tuesday - Saturday, they keep doing it. It’s fantastic – I’m so proud of them.
“This season the squad are stronger all over the pitch, – what a great pre-season Christmas present it is.
“Banbury fans should be well chuffed with tonight and obviously the first half of the season.”
But for manager Whing, Tuesday’s game was marred for him by abuse from opposition supporters.
“It crossed the line and has left a sour taste,” he told Puritans Radio.
“I haven’t enjoyed it tonight. Things have to change.”
But he was full of praise for his side.
“We were fantastic,” he said. “The lads were brilliant.”
Supporters are now looking forward to their only home game of the busy festive period when tenth-placed Stratford Town arrive on Monday.
“We are looking forward to that,” said Whing. “We are five points clear, but as I said to the players, we haven’t done anything yet, we are only 21 games in, 19 left and we have four big games coming up.
“Stratford are going to be a completely different team to what we faced earlier in the season, probably a bit more competitive so it’s going to be a tough game for us.”
After that the league leaders head to fourth-placed Alvechurch on New Year’s Day and lowly Redditch United on Bank Holiday Monday (January 3) before a trip to mid-table Stourbridge on Saturday, January 8.
But the Puritans couldn’t be in better shape, having won their last four games, three away from home, including Saturday’s 2-0 success at Biggleswade Town, who are 16th.
With only four midweeks off since the start of the season, Whing’s side put in a hard working performance.
In the last ten minutes Kelvin Langmead got on the end of a Giorgio Rasulo flag-kick from the left, for Chris Wreh to score.
ThenMorgan Roberts was put through by Wreh for 2-0.
Against Peterborough Sports Banbury were two goals up in 15 minutes through Morgan Roberts and Chris Wreh. Their hosts came back to 2-1 and Roberts missed the chance to level with a penalty.
Jay Williams made it 3-1 at half time but Sports set up a nervous finish, scoring from a late free-kick.
Victor Sodeinde joined Banbury from Hereford this week. The 21-year-old striker came through the Maidstone United academy and was a regular in Nottingham Forest’s U23 side in 2019-20.