Kaziboni’s super strike seals three points for the Puritans

Greg Kaziboni celebrates after scoring Banbury United's winner against Halesowen Town. Photo; Jake McNulty
Greg Kaziboni celebrates after scoring Banbury United's winner against Halesowen Town. Photo; Jake McNulty

Greg Kaziboni’s first half stunner earned Banbury United all three Evo-Stik Southern League points against Halesowen Town.

The Puritans beat Halesowen 2-1 in Tuesday’s Premier Division Central clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium where all three goals came in the opening period. Captain Charlie Wise gave his side the perfect start, James Roberts equalised from the penalty spot but new boy Kaziboni scored what proved to be the winner moments later.

Halesowen began brightly but it was United who took a fifth minute lead. Halesowen failed to deal with Ravi Shamsi’s free-kick and when the ball ran free Wise pounced to slam it home from close range.

But the lead lasted just five minutes as Halesowen equalised from the penalty spot after Lee Henderson and Jordy Ngathe got in a tangle on the edge of the box. Jack Rae took full advantage but was tripped by Ngathe as he burst into the box and Roberts sent Goff the wrong way from the ensuing spot-kick.

Shamsi went close moments later after being released by Steve Diggin, he evaded the advancing Daniel Platt but, after rounding the stranded keeper, could only curl the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle.

In a fast, open game United regained the advantage in the 16th minute with a goal out of the top drawer. Kaziboni picked up the ball 25 yards out, stepped inside his marker and curled it around Platt and into the far corner of the net.

Halesowen had plenty of the ball but United always looked a threat on the break, quickly turning defence into attack. Another goal was always on the cards and it was United who looked the most likely to get it with Platt doing his best to make sure they didn’t.

United went close again when Jack Self found Diggin whose drive from a tight angle was tipped around the far post by Platt. Shamsi’s dangerous cross was cut out by Platt with Diggin waiting to pounce and the keeper then turned Kaziboni’s effort around the post.

Shamsi skipped past Enock Ekongo before firing into the side-netting from a tight angle just before the break.

Straight after the restart, Shamsi found Diggin and his shot on the turn tested Platt. Shamsi almost made skipper Daniele Bragoli pay for some indecision on the edge of the his own box before Ekongo rescued the situation. From Shamsi’s ensuing corner, Lewis Gabbidon’s header was saved by Platt.

Experienced striker Lee Hughes entered the fray as Halesowen looked to get back on level terms. But Gabbidon headed wide from another Shamsi corner from a good position as United looked for that crucial third goal.

Hughes soon made a difference as he raced on to a long pass from Bragoli before shooting past the far post from 15 yards. Hughes conjured another opening for himself on the edge of the box and Goff had to be alert to palm the ball away for a corner.

In between, Kaziboni’s run ended with Platt tipping his shot around the post. United went even closer when Diggin’s glancing header came back off the far upright from Samsi’s cross with Platt denying Kaziboni from the rebound.

Another former top striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake entered the fray so to counter his threat, Ford threw on Ricky Johnson as an extra central defender. The United boss seemed content to hold on to what he already had.

A late break by Kaziboni saw Shamsi’s shot blocked by Bragoli while Ebanks-Blake shot into the side-netting at the other end and Roberts forced Goff to turn his low drive around the post.