Brooker targets home run to close gap on the leaders

Barney Williams hit Banbury's late winner at Wycombe
Barney Williams hit Banbury's late winner at Wycombe

Manager Steve Brooker is targeting back-to-back home games for Banbury to turn the pressure on the leaders.

Banbury made it seven South Premier Hockey League wins on the spin with a 4-3 victory at Wycombe in Saturday’s division two fixture.

We have come away from another below par performance against good opposition with all three points

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

They remain in second place but are still three points behind League leaders Tunbridge Wells ahead of this weekend’s clash with Tulse Hill & Dulwich.

The game got off to a frantic start as Banbury struck with Simon Boardman finishing from close range to complete a Steve O’Connor pass after only three minutes. But Banbury conceded a penalty corner only a minute later that was struck home after a well-practiced move by William Needham.

The game continued at a frantic pace but play was scrappy as both sides struggled to find their real form and it was the home side that went ahead after 20 minutes following a right-sided move finished by Paul Stock. Banbury returned the compliment of a quick return and levelled after only a minute with Max Grosmith finishing a right sided move from George Brooker’s free hit.

With the scores level at halftime, the game remained scrappy but eventful as both sides had players side lined for disciplinary offences and Grosmith rattled the home side’s cross bar with a thundering reverse-stick shot.

It was only in the last ten minutes that the game really came alive. George Brooker thumped home to complete a left-sided move but Stock equalised with six minutes remaining.

Both sides fiercely contested the closing stages and Wycombe had a player sidelined for the crucial last period when frustration boiled over. Banbury took advantage with Barney Williams crashing home a reverse-stick shot from the edge of the D.

But the excitement was still not over as Wycombe tried to force the game by replacing their goalkeeper with an outfield player and Banbury’s attempt to spin out the last moments failed as they conceded a penalty corner with the last touch of the game.

Wycombe were hugely disappointed when their penalty corner routine ended unsuccessfully in a flurry of claims for another corner and the game was up.

Brooker said: “We have come away from another below par performance against good opposition with all three points and a seventh victory on the trot. We know we need to get more right for more of the game if we are to maintain momentum but we have two home games to show what we can do.”