Shamsi and Johnson on the mark as Puritans get back to winning ways

Ravi Shamsi celebrates with Ricky Johnson after giving Banbury United the lead against Stourbridge. Photo: Steve ProuseRavi Shamsi celebrates with Ricky Johnson after giving Banbury United the lead against Stourbridge. Photo: Steve Prouse
Ravi Shamsi celebrates with Ricky Johnson after giving Banbury United the lead against Stourbridge. Photo: Steve Prouse | jpimedia
Banbury United got their BetVictor Southern League campaign back on track with their first win in six outings.

Goals in each half from Ravi Shamsi and skipper Ricky Johnson saw the Puritans beat Stourbridge 2-0 in Saturday's Premier Central clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

Manager Mike Ford opted for an attacking line-up with on-loan signing Luke Fairlamb making his debut on the left with Greg Kaziboni on the opposite flank while Shamsi partnered Johnson up front.

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United began on the front foot with Fairlamb prominent early on, providing some dangerous crosses which Stourbridge did well to defend while Kaziboni also enjoyed plenty of time on the ball.

In testing conditions, both sides struggled to create opportunities and defences were on top for most of the first half. It took until midway through the first period for either side to have a shot and it fell to United when Shamsi exchanged passes with Kaziboni on the right before curling his effort just past the far post from the angle of the area.

Almost immediately Stourbridge were presented with an opportunity when Jack Westbrook slipped and let in Andre Brown but Jack Harding was quickly off his line to block his effort.

More neat build-up play from Giorgio Rasulo set up Kaziboni who tested Charlie Price with a low drive from the edge of the box. United stepped up a gear as the half progressed, looking for the breakthrough.

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It arrived in the 33rd minute when Shamsi received the ball from Rasulo, turned his marker and, as Price came out to narrow the angle, neatly clipped the ball over the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Stourbridge made a more positive start to the second half but United twice went close in quick succession. Kaziboni worked his way into the area and crossed for Johnson who was thwarted by Jordan Williams and Rasulo's curling free-kick evaded Price but came back off the inside of the far post, along the line before being cleared.

Brown had a close range effort ruled out for offside after Harding had made the initial save following a good spell from the visitors. That signalled a period of pressure from Stourbridge and United found it difficult to get on the ball for the first time in the game, unable to find an outlet.

United still looked a threat on the break and from one such counter-attack, Shamsi turned and raced clear before slipping in Fairlamb whose first touch took him wide and allowed Price to make the save.

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But United doubled their advantage in the 71st minute when Claudio Dias made a storming run before finding Kaziboni on the right of the box and his his low drive was deflected into the path of Johnson who got the final touch from just inside the far post.

Substitute Andre Landell fired over late on as Stourbridge tried to get back into the contest. United's rearguard held firm until substitute Lewis Wilson impeded Brown in the box following a scramble after United failed to clear with Chay Tilt's corner. But Harding superbly saved Landell's ensuing spot-kick to keep a clean sheet and make sure of the three points.