Slump continues as Puritans are knocked out of the FA Trophy

Banbury United's Greg Kaziboni takes on Hayes & Yeading United's Liam McDevitt during Saturday's FA Trophy second qualifying round tie. Photo: Steve Prouse
Banbury United's Greg Kaziboni takes on Hayes & Yeading United's Liam McDevitt during Saturday's FA Trophy second qualifying round tie. Photo: Steve Prouse

Banbury United’s poor run continued after they were knocked out of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

The Puritans lost 2-0 against Hayes & Yeading United in Saturday’s second qualifying round tie. Goals in each half from Lee Barney and Roddy Collins saw the Isthmian League outfit through at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

Manager Mike Ford opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Greg Kaziboni and Mark Bell out wide, hopefully to provide the ammunition for Steve Diggin up top. Giorgio Rasulo, Jack Self and George Nash were the midfield trio while new signing Matt Taylor made his debut at left-back.

United got off on the front foot and went close early on. Self released Kaziboni and his cross was met acrobatically by Diggin but his fierce volley was superbly tipped on to the bar by Jack Smith.

United’s quick start caused the visitors problems and Diggin robbed Tom Jelley but Kaziboni was just unable to get on the end of his low cross into the six-yard box.

The fast and furious opening continued as both sides looked to get attacks going at the earliest opportunity in an end-to-end tie. United’s quick inter-passing gave them the slight edge but the final pass in the last third was just lacking.

And it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute when another attack came to nothing and United were punished for not pressing in the final third. From a quick counter-attack down the left flank Toby Little’s driven low cross was met by Barney who hammered the ball into the back of the net from six yards.

Boosted by the breakthrough, the Isthmian League division one leaders enjoyed their best spell of the game, looking every bit a team high on confidence. Little provided some good crosses from the left and former Puritan Scott Bridges headed over from another excellent delivery.

Rocked by going behind, United struggled to re-impose themselves on the tie in the first half and failed to press high enough. Hayes & Yeading showed enough quality in the first period to suggest they would be difficult to peg back.

United had it all to do in the second half but they fell further behind two minutes after the restart when a free-kick from Bridges was headed past Manny Agboola by the unmarked Collins.

Another quick break by Little saw him pull the ball back for Bridges who saw his drive deflected wide. Collins found Duncan Culley in the box but Agboola was quickly off his line to save at his feet.

In between, Kaziboni advanced but dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box. United needed a quick response to get back into the tie and Lee Henderson was just unable to provide it on the end of Rasulo’s deep free kick at the far post.

Ford threw on Ricky Johnson for Nash and he went straight up front to partner Diggin. But United found it difficult to create openings as the visitors, with Bridges pulling the strings in midfield, showed more nous and maintained their grip on the game.

With United searching for a way back into the tie, the game opened up as Hayes & Yeading looked to exploit the spaces in behind. Substitute Hassan Jalloh looked a more than adequate replacement for Barney with his direct approach.

Jalloh escaped the attentions of Charlie Wise and his cross found Culley who headed straight at Agboola. With time running out, young striker Ryan Macdonald came off the bench as Ford gambled on an all-out push for a goal.

Substitute Lewis Toomey was just inches away from extending his side’s lead from a tight angle and Scott Donnelly shot straight at Agboola in stoppage-time. But the visitors had already done enough to book their place in the next round and end United’s interest in the competition.