Banbury returned from London Academicals with hard earned 2-2 draw following a gritty performance in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League fixture.
The visitors got off to a promising start in the division two fixture despite their delayed arrival at the venue. Aussie Kieran Symons cracked home a penalty corner drag-flick in the first two minutes but the celebrations were short-lived as the home side won and converted their own penalty through Arion Alexopolous.
We have made a cracking start in the EH Cup and look forward to our home League fixture next weekend against high flying Wycombe who have won both of the their first two gamesBanbury manager Steve Brooker
What looked as if it might become a goal feast instead became a tough struggle with play bouncing from one end to the other. Banbury worked well down the left with Louis Harris and Symons down the right but were unable to convert their chances despite several more penalty corner opportunities.
And it was the home side that capitalised on a defensive slip for Ali Francis to finish from close range and give Academicals the lead.
After the restart, Banbury started strongly but frustration and clumsy tackles resulted in five cards, including a period with only nine players on the pitch. But strong central defensive performances from Harry Camp and Pete Lamb kept Banbury in the game.
With ten minutes to go Banbury gambled, removing a defender to put on a second front man, and it paid dividends with debutante Joe Allen deflecting past the home keeper with only three minutes to play. The home side were reduced to ten men for the final stages and Allen looked to have won it but he had a late effort disallowed.
Looking back on Saturday’s performance, manager Steve Brooker said: “We made hard work of this first league visit into London but have come away with a point from a game that we may well have lost last season.”