Banbury remain on promotion course with a six-goal blast

Banbury's Jonny Stirrup goes on the attack during Saturday's victory over Staines
Banbury's Jonny Stirrup goes on the attack during Saturday's victory over Staines

Banbury head to Purleigh on Saturday looking to maintain their South Premier Hockey League promotion push.

They stayed on track with another impressive victory to overcome the demons of their loss in the first half of the season against Staines and consolidate second place with a six-point cushion over third-placed Guildford.

Purleigh have seen a recent upturn in performances and we must not underestimate them if we are to maintain our momentum

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

Banbury also extended their goal difference in division two following Saturday’s 6-3 success over the West London outfit at NOA where Kieran Symons bagged a brace.

Banbury started brightly but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock when they raced down the right side and James Lazio scored from close range to give the relegation strugglers some hope of avoiding the drop.

But Banbury are more resilient now than they were in the first half of the campaign, with the confidence built from a successful run. They pushed through and produced a devastating five-minute spell midway through the first half.

With Josh Nunneley returning to the pitch, having limped off after a painful knock to the knee, his sharp side line push found Max Grosmith whose slipped pass set up George Brooker to shoot home.

Only a minute later, Nunneley’s long aerial pass again found Grosmith whose pass set up Simon Boardman to give the home side the lead.

Three minutes later, Symons slammed home a penalty corner to send Banbury into halftime with a two-goal advantage and looking good for the second half.

With confidence brimming, Banbury increased the lead only four minutes into the second half with Tyson Nunneley finishing from close range.

The visitors are desperate to avoid relegation and fought back with Lazio getting his second goal by converting a slick and well-practiced penalty corner move to reduce their deficit.

Banbury lost some of their confidence and formation shape under the renewed Staines pressure but it was the home side that added two more goals in another purple spell. Symons netted his second goal of the game and Joe Allan’s tireless work found reward to clock up the home’s side sixth goal.

Staines still attacked with Banbury looking vulnerable despite their four-goal advantage and Lazio completed his hat-trick. But it was too little too late to alter the outcome and the result which leaves Banbury flying high.

Manager Steve Brooker said: “We completed another great win over determined opposition and have now defeated every single side in the league at least once.

“We travel to Purleigh this week, they have seen a recent upturn in performances and we must not underestimate them if we are to maintain our momentum.”