Brooker is left frustrated as Banbury fail to arrest slide

Banbury's George Brooker goes on the attack against London Edwardians. Photo: Steve Prouse
Banbury's George Brooker goes on the attack against London Edwardians. Photo: Steve Prouse

Banbury go into the mid-winter break on end of three straight defeats.

London Edwardians extended Banbury’s poor sequence as they ran out 3-1 winners in the last South Premier Hockey League fixture before the break.

We know other teams have also strengthened and London Wayfarers will be a testing start in a crucial couple of months as we seek to recover to a promotion place

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

Banbury slumped to their sixth premier division defeat of the season, ending on 13 points but with a negative goal difference of eight which will take some pegging back when they resume league action against London Wayfarers in the new year.

With the home side back to full strength apart from the injured Jaz Singh, Banbury started the game with high hopes.

They came close to taking a first minute lead when Steve O’Connor broke through the visitors’ defence only to see his shot smothered by the keeper. Banbury continue to create chances in the first half but failed to convert any of them.

After the restart, Banbury again began brightly with Callum White forging down the right and into the visitors D in the opening exchanges only to see the chance snuffed out and claims for a penalty corner denied. With the home defence weakened by an injury to Rhys Potter, the visitors won a penalty corner and Dave Jones finished off a well-rehearsed move to break the deadlock.

Moments later another penalty corner move gave Jones his second goal to double the advantage. With Banbury wobbling, the visitors tore down the right flank for Ed Hunt to slam home a cross and make the game safe.

With the game slipping away, Banbury switched to a three-man forward attacking formation and the latter stages opened up, allowing both sides to expand their passing games. It was the home side who broke down the left through Richard Foreman for White to cross and Barney Williams to spectacularly deflect into the net.

But it was too little too late and even Banbury’s previously well-oiled penalty corner routine failed to capitalize on two late chances.

Manager Steve Brooker could barely hide his disappointment at another defeat and said: “That means we have finished the first half of the season on a low and must now bounce back in January after our warm-up fixture against Stourport. We will be strengthened by the recovery of Jaz Singh and the return of Louis Harris but we know other teams have also strengthened and London Wayfarers will be a testing start in a crucial couple of months as we seek to recover to a promotion place.”