O’Connor grabs late winner as Banbury turn it around

Banbury's Richard Foreman takes on Purley Walcountians' Tom Mullins
Banbury's Richard Foreman takes on Purley Walcountians' Tom Mullins

Banbury manager Steve Brooker was delighted with his side’s comeback against Purley Walcountians.

Adrian Simons bagged a brace as Banbury came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Purley Walcountians 4-3 in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League fixture.

I am really chuffed that the boys have bounced back from recent disappointments with a rejigged side to overcome a two-goal deficit

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

With several regulars missing, Banbury reverted to their tried and tested formation to increase their fire power in the forward line for the division two clash. It paid immediate dividends, winning a penalty corner which was calmly slotted home by Aussie Kieran Symons.

Banbury came so close to doubling that lead but a Purley defender pulled off a miraculous save to hook the ball away before it crossed the line. Boosted by their escape, Purley capitalizsd on a defensive blunder to win and convert their own penalty corner as Andy Baggs crashed the ball past the home defence.

That resulted from one of the few Purley incursions onto the home half of the pitch with Banbury looking effective right up to the edge of the D but then failing to convert the chances that arose. It was another rare visit into the Banbury half just before halftime when more defensive mix-ups allowed the visitors to claim the lead with Dean Ferriera slotting home.

The second half started even worse for the home side when Justin Metcalf grabbed a quick breakaway goal. Despite trailing, Banbury dominated the play and Simons, making a welcome return, helped them reduce the arrears.

Tyson Nunneley slipped a penalty corner to vary the usual routine and Simons crashed an unstoppable shot past the keeper. Symons then made a sparkling run from the right, his pass finding Simons who burst into the D skipped past the keeper and finished from a tight angle.

Another Banbury attack won a penalty corner and a further variation saw Steve O’Connor crown a fine performance, scooping the slipped pass over the flailing keeper to regain the lead and take the points.

Brooker said: “We made that look much harder than it should have been. But I am really chuffed that the boys have bounced back from recent disappointments with a rejigged side to overcome a two-goal deficit and get us moving back up the league.

“We have another long trip this week to Blackheath but we can push on again and get back to where we should be.”