Brooker looks for a positive response from his players

Banbury's Jonny Stirrup goes on the attack against Bromley & Beckenham
Banbury's Jonny Stirrup goes on the attack against Bromley & Beckenham

Banbury will be looking to make the grade when they travel to Oxford University this weekend.

But manager Steve Brooker will be looking for a much improved performance from his players.

That was a great chance to climb the table lost on a day when we did not perform as I know we can

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

Banbury slipped out of the promotion places in the South Premier League after going down 4-2 against Bromley & Beckenham. Indian Gymkhana have jumped above Banbury and into fifth place.

The flair of recent games was missing in a poor first half and again Banbury allowed ill-discipline to cost them. The home side simply could not put together recent form with chances fizzing across the visitors’ goal without being converted and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock.

Peter Dobson completed a move that sliced open the home side’s right flank midway through the first half. Richard Foreman was harshly yellow carded and a free-hit was upgraded to a penalty corner from which Sean Kearns doubled his side’s advantage and on the stroke of halftime Dobson grabbed his second goal.

Banbury started the second period far more brightly and Josh Nunneley reduced the arrears when he slammed home a penalty corner. But the visitors stormed back straight from the restart and Dan Walsh restored their three-goal cushion.

Banbury began to improve, led by the impressive Jonny Stirrup as he worked tirelessly in midfield to restore pride, but it often seemed that the visitors had a player to spare. They snuffed out home possession and it was not until midway through the second period that Callum White was able to finish a left-sided move to reduce the deficit.

With ten minutes remaining, Banbury switched formation to a three-man forward line but were unable to finish any of the opportunities they created. They now have a negative goal difference that will not help in such a tightly contested league.

Brooker said: “That was a great chance to climb the table lost on a day when we did not perform as I know we can. This is disappointing but the positives were Callum White settling into the team and Jonny Stirrup leading by example.

“This week we travel to Oxford and have the chance to show what we are truly capable of and consolidate a position from which we can make a realistic promotion bid in the second half of the season.”