Poor performance sends Puritans closer to relegation

Banbury United's Tom Ryan tests Chippenham Town keeper Kent Kauppinen at Spencer Stadium
Banbury United's Tom Ryan tests Chippenham Town keeper Kent Kauppinen at Spencer Stadium

Banbury United slipped closer to relegation following Saturday’s 4-2 defeat against Chippenham Town.

Three first half goals did for the Puritans in the premier division clash at Spencer Stadium where Chippenham didn’t have to work very hard for the three points which Paul Davis’s side needed so much more. But they produced an individual and collective performance that deserved nothing and, with Frome Town grabbing a late victory, United are now ten points from safety.

Tom Fishwick returned from long-term injury and came in to partner Tom Ryan in central defence while Aaron Weston went straight into the starting line-up after being signed on-loan from MK Dons in midweek.

Kyan Isaac started despite picking up a groin injury at Arlesey Town which looked as though it would rule him out but Ade Talabi was ill. So Isaac played up front with Jordan Green sitting just behind but United lacked any width to trouble the visitors.

Former Brackley Town striker Charlie Griffin tested Leigh Bedwell with a 25 yard free-kick which the United keeper turned around the post. But it was the unmarked Griffin who broke the deadlock in the 17th minute after being picked out by Jordan Roberts.

Hicham Abdellah forced Kent Kauppinen into action with a 25 yard free-kick and Green cut inside to test the Chippenham keeper from 15 yards as United looked to get back on level terms.

But Chippenham doubled their advantage in the 34th minute with a goal of simplicity. Michael Pook’s long throw-in was headed on by Mark Preece for Griffin to add the final touch at the far post.

Ashan Holgate increased Chippenham’s lead four minutes later with another goal which left plenty of questions marks over United’s inability to defend. Alex Ferguson found Holgate who found it all too easy to cut inside Jacob Walcott before firing past Bedwell from 15 yards.

Three chances, three goals and it was all too easy for the visitors.

Manager Paul Davis threw top scorer Leam Howards on for the second half and he reduced the arrears within eight minutes of the restart when he beat Kauppinen from a tight angle after Marvin Martin’s deflected shot fell kindly for him.

But any hopes of a comeback were ended five minutes later when the unmarked Ferguson headed past Bedwell from Pook’s inswinging corner. United simply could not deal with any sort of attacking threat.

Griffin thumped the inside of the upright from the edge of the box and Ferguson was denied by Bedwell from the rebound. Green still looked the most likely for United and tested Kauppinen again after racing past Conor McCormack.

Ryan was pushed up front late on in a desperate bid to salvage something from the game but it was a gamble which never looked like paying off even though Abdellah pulled another goal back in the 80th minute when his inswinging free-kick eluded everyone in the box and found its way into the far corner.

There are still nine games left but this was probably United’s last realistic chance of getting out of trouble.