Simon Boardman capped a great comeback as Banbury beat Indian Gymkhana in the South Premier Hockey League.
Banbury overcame a two-goal deficit to emerge 3-2 victors in Saturday’s division one fixture and are up to eighth in the table.
We showed real grit and kept cool heads to fight to the very end and gain the win we deservedBanbury manager Steve Brooker
Banbury were rocked in the second minute when Johannes Klöss converted a penalty corner. The visitors continued their sustained good play with great combinations from Tyson Nunneley and Steve O’Connor down the right and Louis Harris, Richard Foreman and Rhys Potter down the left.
But they were unable to finish off their chances and it was the home side that increased their lead just before halftime through Tejinder Hanspal.
The second half saw the game fizzing with emotion and aggression from both sides, and the umpires did well to retain control and allow Banbury the space and time they need to dominate play. But they had nothing to show for their efforts until Josh Nunneley slotted a penalty corner into the net off the post to give the visitors hope with just 13 minutes remaining.
With an excited home crowd urging their side on, the game looked likely to when to boil over when George Brooker was fouled as he surged towards the home D.
The heated exchanges lasted nearly five minutes and it was Banbury that retained their cool and continued with their controlled attacks once the game resumed. New signing Waqar Akbar dazzled the home defence as he broke in from the right, beating five players on his mazy run before lifting the ball into the net to level with four minutes remaining.
The home side were reeling and Banbury hit the winner with only a minute remaining when Boardman finished a left-sided move from close range to silence the crowd.
Manager Steve Brooker said: “This was a very hard place to come and do well and we have excelled to come back in fraught circumstances from a two-goal deficit. We showed real grit and kept cool heads to fight to the very end and gain the win we deserved.
“That was a great start to the second half of our campaign. We entertain Milton Keynes and then travel to Tunbridge Wells, both games are winnable against sides beneath us and we’re only five points away from the vital fourth place promotion slot.”