Manager Steve Brooker will have breathed a sigh of relief as the Banbury revival continued with three hard-fought points at Lewes in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League fixture.
Banbury were guilty of lapses in discipline but still managed to secure a 2-1 victory in the division one clash.
An early yellow card for Louis Harris after a clumsy tackle did not disrupt the Banbury game and it needed an outstanding performance from the Lewes keeper to keep his side in it.
When Yates returned he was able to forge into the D and created enough time to crack home a back-handed shot from long range.
Banbury piled on more pressure with Barney Williams latching on to a long pass from defence to draw the keeper before passing to Harry Loxton who made no mistake, forcing the ball home.
Lowly Lewes showed tenacity to come back strongly in the second half which unsettled Banbury who allowed their frustration to lead to e ill discipline.
Loxton, Harris and the returning George Brooker all got yellow cards, leaving the defence under almost constant pressure with the visitors down to only nine players for two periods.
But centre back Harry Brooker was able to take advantage of the conditions to throw long aerial passes out of the stretched defence with Loxton and Richard Foreman denied by the Lewes keeper.
The home side’s pressure finally produced a reward as Matt Clark slotted home a penalty corner to the delight of the large home crowd. Lewes forged forward against a weakened Banbury side but without further reward.
In the closing stages, Lewes swapped their keeper for an extra outfield player and the visitors’ defence again fought off prolonged pressure with the impressive Harry Camp putting in some great tackles and blocks. Lewes won a penalty corner in the final seconds but the Banbury defence held firm to seal all three points.
Banbury’s recent revival will be given a stern test when they entertain second-placed Spencer on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Banbury return to action in the South Clubs Women’s Hockey League. They travel to Epsom who are one place and one point above them in division two.