Boardman bags late winner as Banbury get early lift-off

Simon Boardman hit late winner for Banbury at Spencer
Simon Boardman hit late winner for Banbury at Spencer

Banbury will face Indian Gymkhana for the first time in a South Premier Hockey League fixture.

And Steve Brooker’s boys go into Saturday’s division one fixture on the back of an excellent 2-1 opening day success at Spencer where Simon Boardman bagged the late winner.

Travelling with a reduced squad due to the absence of some key players but got off to a confident start despite the unfamiliar line-up with veteran Adrian Simons returning to the side and Ian Reynolds and Pete Lamb making rare starts in the league.

Banbury got the better of the early exchanges with new signing Jaz Singh providing a firm base from which attacks could be launched. Richard Foreman completed a right-sided move with a cracking reverse-stick shot only to see a brilliant save from the home keeper.

But moments later the visitors’ pressure resulted in a penalty corner coolly slotted home by Josh Nunneley.

But, the old woes of ill-discipline began to plague Banbury in the second half with two five-minute yellow cards during which the home side levelled through Matt Pacey. Spencer immediately upped the pressure and only some desperate defence and a string of outstanding saves from keeper Fergus Dunleavy kept the home side at bay.

With time running down a lack of substitutes meant the visitors were beginning to tire and make mistakes. But they won it in the closing stages when a left wing move from Rhys Potter to Reynolds found Max Grosmith who managed to squeeze a cross past the home keeper and create the chance for Boardman to score from close range.

Banbury closed ranks and kept Spencer at bay despite a frantic last few minutes to claim the victory.

Manager Steve Brooker said: “Two years ago we did ourselves a disservice when we last visited Spencer and came away disappointed and disheartened - Saturday could not have been more different.

“We have shown great spirit to take three points from just the sort of game we would have lost the last time we were in this division and just the sort of game we need to win if we are to keep any promotion ambitions alive. “Roll on next week when we will play Indian Gymkhana in a league game for the first time in the history of the club, we are relishing the prospect.”