Puritans closing in on a perfect ‘season-defining week’

Banbury United are on the verge of making it a perfect return from what boss Andy Whing described as a “season-defining week”.
Banbury United celebrate one of their goals in the 6-0 win over Stowmarket in the second round of the FA Trophy. Picture by Julie HawkinsBanbury United celebrate one of their goals in the 6-0 win over Stowmarket in the second round of the FA Trophy. Picture by Julie Hawkins
Banbury United celebrate one of their goals in the 6-0 win over Stowmarket in the second round of the FA Trophy. Picture by Julie Hawkins

Having halted a run of eight games without a win in all competitions with a 4-0 win at Buxton in the Vanarama National League North, the Puritans seem to be right back in form as they followed it up with two more wins this week.

United thrashed Step 4 outfit Stowmarket Town 6-0 in the second round of the Isuzu FA Trophy at the weekend.

And then, on Tuesday night, they moved up to eighth place in the National League North as Jay Williams’ late strike earned them a 1-0 success over Bradford (Park Avenue).

That has left them one point off the play-off places ahead of a third home game in a row against Chorley, who sit immediately below them, on Saturday.

“We said that this was one of those season-defining weeks for us,” boss Whing said.

“We want to go as far as we can in the FA Trophy and having three home games on the spin after playing a lot of away games with some long trips in there made it huge.

“Our form has been decent but we know we always have to play well.

“Off the ball, I think we have been superb recently and the clean sheets show that.

“This was always a big week for us, we wanted to take six points from the two league games and if we end up doing that it’s going to put us right back in that play-off picture.”

The Puritans’ big win over Stowmarket, in which Slav Spasov scored twice and Henry Landers, Ben Acquaye, Giorgio Rasulo and Alex Babos were all on target, booked them a spot in the third round of the Trophy.

The draw was made on Tuesday and Banbury were handed another home tie against Bognor Regis Town, which is due to take place on Saturday, December 17.

And Whing was pleased to see his team show a clinical edge in front of goal.

“We knew it was going to be tricky on Saturday against an up and coming club with some ex-Football League players in their team,” he added.

“It was never going to be easy and it wasn’t for the first 20 to 25 minutes, it was pretty even.

“Our attitude was good but as soon as we got the first goal it settled us down and we were really good after that.

“We were clinical in front of goal, which is what I have probably been moaning about in the last few weeks.”