Banbury United focus on cups now after near perfect start to league season

It's FA Cup time with visit of Ardley United

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 6:14 pm
Captain Jack Westbrook was Banbury United’s scorer in their win at Stratford Town on Bank Holiday Monday Pictures by Julie Hawkins

Two more victories over the bank holiday weekend have lifted unbeaten Banbury United to second in the early league table.

Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hitchin Town and Monday’s 1-0 triumph at Stratford Town keep up an impressive start to the season for Andy Whing’s men.

They now have 13 points from five games, with only their opening 1-1 draw with Stourbridge falling short of a 100 per cent record.

Sign up to our daily Banbury Guardian Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jack Westbrook celebrates scoring

Peterborough Sports head the table with five wins out of five.

Now, after building up some good momentum over the opening fortnight, United will put their Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central fixtures aside this week, with two knock-out competitions to entertain supporters.

On Saturday Ardley United from the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division will be the visitors to the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium for the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Then on Monday (6th) attention switches to the League Challenge Cup for a trip to Division One South side Evesham United.

.

Against Hitchin, Banbury were a goal down within a couple of minutes from a 20-yard effort but Ben Acquaye levelled after half an hour from Henry Landers’ cross.

Landers was next on the scoresheet after good work by Kelvin Langmead.

And when Landers made it 3-1, he became the League’s top scorer with five goals in four games.

Against Stratford on Monday, captain Jack Westbrook opened his account, hitting the only goal of the game in the 64th minute.

For manager Andy Whing it could hardly have been a better start to the campaign.

“From being 1-0 down and ten men after five minutes on the first day, the lads have been fantastic since then,” he reflected.

“We got a draw out of it and then put in a really good performance and deservedly won at Rushden & Diamonds away, with plenty of chances.

“Barwell was our poorest game so far. We were 2-0 up and let them back to 2-2 but managed to score at the last minute to dig ourselves out.

“The win against Hitchin was thoroughly deserved and it really could have been five or six in the end. Stratford was our toughest test so far, they’d won their last three games and were flying as well.

“We made a slow start but as soon as we got a foothold it should have been two or three in the end. It was a fantastic away performance.”

Whing explained they split the season up into five-game blocks with points targets, which they have exceeded for the opening set and now need to keep the consistency going throughout the campaign.

With a different kind of pressure they are looking forward to the two cup games, using with the full squad.

He added: “It’s nice to have a break from league pressure, but playing lower league opposition we are expected to win both games, so there’s two potential banana skins.

“The FA Cup is a massive competition and after how well we did last season we need to be in it.”