Defenders challenged to come up with goals

Leam Howards has bagged ten goals this season
Leam Howards has bagged ten goals this season

Banbury United manager Mike Ford is calling on his defenders to come up with more goals as the Evo-Stik Southern League season nears the business end.

The free-scoring Puritans have seen the goals dry up recently so Ford wants more goals from his central defenders to back up his usually reliable strike-force who have not been at their best in recent games.

We’ve conceded so few goals this season and a lot of that is down to Jack Harding

Puritans boss Mike Ford

United were scoring for fun earlier in the season but goals seem to be harder to come by now.

Top scorer Ricky Johnson, with 24 Division One South & West goals to his name, has only bagged four in the last 13 games while last season’s leading scorer Leam Howards has ten to his name but has started several games on the bench.

Ford said: “Getting goals at the right time in games and staying patient is the important thing. But missing chances has cost us points recently.

“Central defenders are in the team to keep clean sheets. But they also go up for set-pieces and it would be interesting to see how far they travel up and back in games. So why make it a wasted journey?

“Jack Westbrook has got one goal, Andy Gunn has three and now Charlie [Wise] has got one. But those defenders have not scored enough goals, they need to get on the end of things and score more goals for us. Charlie missed an easier chance to score at Wantage before he did.”

But Ford paid tribute to keeper Jack Harding, who he says is one of the unsung heroes in the team, having conceded only 38 goals.

He added: “Jack Harding is such a calming influence even though he doesn’t have that much to do.

“We’ve conceded so few goals this season and a lot of that is down to Jack. He’s been brilliant for us, as have all the players.”