Banbury go into this weekend’s double-header on the back of a hard-earned point.
A late equaliser from Matt Murphy denied Banbury all three points in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League clash at Old Cranleighans, where Steve Brooker’s boys drew 2-2 in a game which could have gone either way.
Banbury entertain Milton Keynes in Saturday’s division one fixture and 24 hours later make the long trip to Northern Conference outfit Bowden in the third round of the HA Cup.
Banbury got off to a great start at Old Cranleighans and could easily have taken the lead against the experienced home defence. But early chances were squandered and after a breakaway Murphy rounded off a right-sided move on their first visit into the visitors’ half.
Banbury went ford the same tactical switch as last week to increase their attacking fire power. But this time it did not bring the same immediate result and they went into halftime a goal adrift.
Resorting back to their usual format proved more successful and sustained pressure forced a short corner which was slammed home by Kyle White. With none of the costly ill-discipline of recent weeks, the game was closely fought but Banbury twice had a let-off as the home side whistled the ball across their goal evading the lunging forward.
Banbury welcomed back last year’s runaway top scorer Harry Loxton but it was White who gave Banbury the lead with his fifth goal of the season. But, just moments later, Murphy equalised with a spectacular deflection from a crashed cross following left sided move.
Manager Steve Brooker said: “We have clawed up a place to eighth, level on points with two other teams. The table is shifting every week in these early stages and there is a great chance for us to improve our position against Milton Keynes.”