Banbury head to Milton Keynes looking to end a three-match losing start to the new South Clubs Women’s Hockey League campaign.
Despite a much improved team performance, an eventful five minutes in the second half of Saturday’s division three fixture, saw Banbury conspire to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, going down 3-2 against a resilient Southgate team.
Banbury took a deserved 2-1 lead into the second half of Saturday’s game, only to have their heads slowly drop in the second half as Southgate pushed back.
The return of Charli Price and Sadie Lapper gave added grit, spark and organisation to the team, which enabled them to mount a spirited comeback after conceding to Gabby Murray-Panayioutou in the early skirmishes after having an earlier effort disallowed.
Quick thinking from Lapper from a free-hit on the edge of the D saw her to drive forward and smack a shot low and into the corner of the net.
Then a slick short corner move just before half time saw Natasha Roberts deflect a Lapper shot into the top of the goal to give Banbury a deserved halftime lead.
Banbury went out into the second half as if it was 0-0, stringing passes together but they failed to take advantage and get the vital third goal. A good passage of play between Lapper and Roberts resulted in a penalty-flick being awarded after the Southgate keeper took Roberts out and got a yellow card.
But Roberts hit the post and rebounding away, which boosted Southgate and deflated Banbury. Southgate took a quick free-hit resulting in an equaliser by Murray-Panayioutou.
Banbury quickly restarted play from the centre and kept pushing for a third goal but nothing came from their hard work. And they even missed out on a solitary point when a final run saw Emma Cox score the winner for Southgate.