Banbury manager Steve Brooker knows his side face a big ask to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
South Premier Hockey League leaders Old Cranleighans on the back of a 3-1 defeat at London Wayfarers where Alex Penny bagged a brace.
After the fireworks of a rollicking victory in the England Hockey Cup the previous weekend, Banbury have slumped to sixth in division one after a lack-lustre performance at Wayfarers. Banbury have seen both Indian Gymkhana and Bromley & Beckenham jump ahead of them as they slipped to sixth place.
Banbury were slow to get into their stride despite a promising debut from new recruit Callum White to strengthen the forward line. They found themselves under pressure from the start with piercing moves coming down the home right side to create several chances.
But it was Banbury that pushed themselves back into contention midway through the half when Max Grosmith got on the end of a right-sided move involving Tyson Nunneley, Barney Williams and George Brooker. The ball ended up in the goal, it was awarded but after much debate the umpires decided that the ball had missed the post, hit the stanchion and bounced back through a hole in the net.
With the goal disallowed and the bizarre award of a penalty corner Josh Nunneley saw his drag-flick parried over the bar.
After the restart Banbury succumbed to their disciplinary woes with a series of two-minute green cards and a five-minute yellow disrupting the second half. The home side raced into a two-goal lead with Tim Davenport and Penny finishing open play moves as Banbury struggled to adapt to the disruption to their formation.
Penny went on to grab a second goal and it was only an outstanding performance from the impressive Pete Lamb in defence and keeper Fergus Dunleavy that denied the home side three one-on-one chances.
Banbury managed to rediscover some form to win a penalty corner finished by Nunneley to reduce the deficit before twice switching formation to three then four forwards but it was too little too late.