Banbury United top of the league after thrilling late winner over Hednesford Town
Morgan Roberts’ 93rd-minute winner in a dramatic 3-2 victory over Hednesford Town lifted Banbury United to the top of the league on Tuesday evening.
Jack Stevens had put the Puritans in control with two goals in the opening quarter of an hour, but their ninth-placed visitors levelled with two second-half strikes to set up a thrilling finish.
In a rich vein of form, Stevens was also on target twice at the weekend, along with Ben Acquaye to beat then leaders Coalville 3-1.
And relieved manager Andy Whing was pleased to have picked up the three points in a memorable match.
“Coming off the back of a tough game on Saturday, in the midst of three away games in short space of time before Christmas, it was vital to be off to a good start and it’s nice to go top of the league as well,” he said, speaking to Puritans Radio after the victory.
“We’ve lost one game this season and it’s taken us until mid-December to go top of the league, which just shows how well Peterborough Sports and Coalville have done this season that we find ourselves in that position. Now we have to stay there, that’s the hardest part but we are up to the challenge.”
Banbury have a two-point lead at the top of the Southern League Premier Central Division on 48, having played 19 games to Coalville’s 20. Peterborough Sports are third on 42 points from19 outings.
Having let a two-goal lead slip on Tuesday evening, Banbury showed great determination to earn their 15th win of the campaign.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Whing added.
“But I was raging at half time as we know what can happen - we should have been five or six up. We had a 15-minute spell where it looked like we had shot ourselves in the foot, but we deserved the winner to be honest.
“We showed great character and resilience. I’d only made one change from Saturday and it was great to win the game.”
After last month’s 1-1 draw with Coalville away from home, on Saturday Banbury made no mistake and dominated the second half to pick up three more points.
It meant they went into the midweek fixture with Hednesford just one point behind the Leicestershire side and had two games in hand.
And after their unbeaten start to the season ended 2-1 at St Ives Town earlier this month, Banbury have since made sure that was their only blip and returned to the winning formula to go top.
This weekend the new leaders head to Biggleswade Town, who are sitting 15th and looking to improve on their record of five wins from 18 games.
Then on Tuesday they are back on the road with a tough game at third-placed promotion rivals Peterborough Sports.
Festive fixtures see Stratford Town at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium on Monday, December 27 followed by a New Year’s Day clash at fifth-placed Alvechurch.