Banbury complete dramatic turnaround with big victory

Steve Campbell scored twice at Staines for Banbury
Steve Campbell scored twice at Staines for Banbury

With five South Premier Hockey League games gone, manager Steve Brooker could not have imagined his Banbury side would sign off 2015 in mid-table.

Banbury had lost their opening five matches following their return to the top division but their recent improvement has seen them rise to seventh ahead of the festive break.

Banbury returned from Staines with a convincing 7-2 victory over the basement boys with top scorer Harry Loxton bagging his 14th goal of the campaign.

The first half began with Banbury asserting their authority, dominating possession, and creating a number of attacking chances early on.

Loxton proved his worth as Banbury’s most potent goal threat, when he won a short corner within the first five minutes which was coolly put away by Harry Brooker to open his account for the club.

The remainder of the first half was a far more even contest, with the Banbury midfield consisting of Richard Hobley, skipper Steve Campbell, Brooker and Richard Foreman providing stability to deal with an onslaught of Staines’ attacks.

With just three minutes remaining on the clock before the halftime whistle, an uncharacteristic mistake from keeper Scott Reynolds saw Sajad Khan take advantage to put his side back on level terms.

But five minutes after the restart Banbury regained the lead when a superb move was rounded off by the in-form George Brooker. That proved to be the turning point and Banbury proceeded to dominate Staines for the remainder of the match and never looked back.

Loxton secured himself a brace with two composed finishes before Staines bagged a consolation goal against the run of play through James Laszlo.

The final 15 minutes of play produced a dramatic finish as frustrated Staines received two yellow cards in their bid to get themselves back into the game.

Banbury’s strength and composure in defence, and potency in attack proved too much for Staines and Campbell struck the ball hard past the Staines keeper to make it 5-2.

Despite the opposition’s best efforts in defence, Hobley buried two excellent finishes, both coming from the top of the D, to round off an excellent afternoon.