Despite seeing his side bow out of the FA Trophy, Banbury United manager Mike Ford had nothing but praise for his players.
Ford was missing Charlie Wise, Ricky Johnson and Mark Bell through injury and Jack Westbrook, who is still recovering from illness, for Tuesday’s first qualifying round replay with Hungerford Town. But Ford was still satisfied with United’s performance despite the 3-0 defeat at Spencer Stadium.
It’s the end of a very long month and the injuries took their tollPuritans boss Mike Ford
First half goals from Matt Day and the prolific Mark Draycott put the visitors in control. United rallied in the second half but substitute Mike Jones added a third goal near the end.
Ford said: “We lacked some key players and I needed to give some a rest but I still picked a team which I thought would give them a test. Always in the back of my mind Yate was always going to be a more important game than the replay.
“The injuries to Ricky Johnson, Mark Bell, Charlie Wise and Jack Westbrook’s illness has hurt us but I was pleased with our efforts and I can’t criticise my players, they kept going.
“It’s been a very tough month and we probably had our best chance to go through in the first game. We had a slightly different side on Saturday and showed we could compete with them, it was more of an indication of where we are.
“Tuesday gave me the opportunity to see some players who haven’t started games and for me to see where they are in their own game. It’s the end of a very long month and the injuries took their toll.
“But to be fair to my players, they showed great spirit and kept going in the second half when we had a couple of chances to nick a goal. It wasn’t to be but Hungerford deserved to go through. We played some nice stuff but just lacked a cutting edge up front. We missed Ricky up top and with Louis Joyce unavailable, there was no-one to support Leam Howards.”