United will start as firm favourites

Easington Sports manager Ben Milner
Easington Sports manager Ben Milner

Banbury United and Easington Sports will meet for the fourth time in the OFA Senior Cup on Tuesday.

The Evo-Stik League South side have won the previous three encounters and will go into Tuesday’s quarter-final tie at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium firm favourites against their UHLSport Hellenic League neighbours.

In last season’s tie I felt Banbury’s physical presence was the difference between the two sides because we were quite a small team at the time and couldn’t handle it

Sports manager Ben Milner

The first time the two clubs met was in the second round in 1980 with the holders winning 5-0 thanks to a brace from Mark Boyland, Geoff Pratt, Martin Allen and Phil Emsden. Also in the United side that night was current chairman Phil Lines. United reached the semi-final where they lost to Oxford City.

It was more than three decades before the sides met again in 2011 when United won 3-0 in the quarter-final tie at the Spencer Stadium. Joe Coleman, now with Sports, Nabil Shariff and Lewis Hilliard got the goals.

United beat North Leigh 3-0 in the semi-final before losing in the final at the Kassam to Oxford United 3-1.

The two sides met again last season at Addison Road where United came from behind to win 2-1.

Callum Convey gave Sports the lead but United won it with goals from Ricky Johnson and Charlie Wise. But United were beaten 3-2 by Kidlington after extra-time in the semi-final.

Sports boss Ben Milner said: “In last season’s tie I felt Banbury’s physical presence was the difference between the two sides because we were quite a small team at the time and couldn’t handle it. It will be a big test which should show us how far away we are.”

Puritans boss Mike Ford added: “Easington Sports are having a great season and I’m looking forward to the game.”