Home run is pivotal as United look to cement play-off place

Banbury United manager Mike Ford wants his side to be more ruthless
Banbury United manager Mike Ford wants his side to be more ruthless

This could be a pivotal month for Banbury United with three home games coming up, two of them against their Evo-Stik Southern League promotion rivals.

The Puritans return to Spencer Stadium on Saturday when they entertain lowly Bridgwater Town before welcoming North Leigh and Winchester City in what could prove to be six-pointers against two sides they have yet to beat.

But in between those two games at Spencer Stadium are trips to Bishops Cleeve and Tiverton Town, who are just outside the play-offs.

United should have too much for Bridgwater, who they beat 4-1 earlier in the season. But manager Mike Ford continues to guard against complacency as he feels it is now almost expected by some fans for his side to collect three points simply by turning up.

Ford felt that was the case in Saturday’s 2-0 success at Wimborne Town where United extended their Division One South & West winning run to four games.

Despite going out of the Oxon Senior Cup on Tuesday, Ford knew the quarter-final tie at Oxford City should serve his side well in their league campaign.

Ford said: “Unlike league games, having less of the ball against City meant sitting deeper to defend and hitting them on the counter-attack. We may have to adopt those tactics in difficult away games like Taunton and Tiverton.”

But Ford has growing concerns that United are not coming out on top in tight affairs, as was the case in Tuesday’s defeat.

He said: “I can’t ignore the fact that we’ve not won tight games this season and that’s something we will have to address.

“There have been a few games which we have bossed but not won because we’ve not taken our chances.

“We’ve got to be more ruthless in front of goal.

“As a performance, it was decent against Oxford City but we had enough chances in the second half to have scored four or five goals.”