Whing’s delight as Puritans’ fears are eased with a much-needed win

Andy Whing piled the praise on his Banbury United players after they eased any relegation fears with a crucial win at Southport on Tuesday night.
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A run of 11 games without a victory had left the Puritans looking over their shoulder at the bottom end of the Vanarama National League North.

But, having claimed a 0-0 draw with another struggler Blyth Spartans at the weekend despite having Jay Williams sent-off in the first half, United produced a superb result just when they needed it in midweek.

They trailed 1-0 at half-time at Southport but Williams headed home the equaliser with 12 minutes to go and, just two minutes later, Oxford United loanee Aidan Elliott-Wheeler scored what proved to be the winner.

Oxford United loanee Aidan Elliott-Wheeler fires home Banbury United's winner at Southport. Picture by Julie HawkinsOxford United loanee Aidan Elliott-Wheeler fires home Banbury United's winner at Southport. Picture by Julie Hawkins
Oxford United loanee Aidan Elliott-Wheeler fires home Banbury United's winner at Southport. Picture by Julie Hawkins

The victory moved Banbury onto what looks to be the magical 50-point mark ahead of an Easter weekend double-header which sees the Puritans heading to Gloucester City on Good Friday before they host Peterborough Sports on Easter Monday.

“It’s been a long time coming, winning a game of football,” said boss Whing.

“I think that since the Chorley game where we hit the woodwork four times, our performances have been really good.

“We had three clean sheets in the four games before Tuesday night and we just needed that bit of luck in front of goal.

“Having the games in hand has actually been tough because we have been playing Saturday-Tuesday and we have had a lot of injury problems.

“We were down to the bare bones again on Tuesday so the players deserve so much credit to go from playing with 10 men for 60-plus minutes on Saturday to keep going until the end at Southport. They were throwing their bodies on the line.

“To hit that 50-point mark is crucial but we still need to pick up as many points as we can between now and the end of the season just to be 100 per cent sure.

“But that win on Tuesday was very much needed.”

Whing was delighted with his team’s second-half display at Southport after he revealed he asked them to “be braver” in his half-time team talk.

The Banbury manager added: “We weren’t great in the first half and there was no real quality in the game but they scored with a free header from a set-piece. It was a poor goal from our point of view.

“We just said at half-time that we needed to be a bit braver and get on the front foot and keep the ball a bit better.

“You could just tell from the first minute of the second half that we were a lot better and we fully deserved the win in the end.

“It was one of those where we kept pushing and pushing and you were wondering if it was going to be one of those days.

“But we scored from our own set-piece and then young Aidan has scored a good goal. It was really pleasing.”