​Banbury HC beaten by Barford but the scoreline is harsh

​Banbury HC returned after the winter break but fell to a 4-1 defeat at home to Barford Tigers.
Banbury defender Sam Pick moves to win the ball.Banbury defender Sam Pick moves to win the ball.
Banbury defender Sam Pick moves to win the ball.

After failing to convert several chances, only an outstanding performance from keeper Fergus Dunleavy kept the deficit at three, Banbury slipping to sixth in the league with seven games to go.

Banbury suffered a very significant blow after only four minutes when central midfield defensive dynamo Joe Allen fell awkwardly, turning his ankle to aggravate a recurring injury and which may now keep him out for a couple of weeks.

Josh Nunnely’s drag flick from a penalty corner went close early on but the visitors were soon in front from their own penalty corner, Michael Taylor scoring.

Two minutes later Tigers had another penalty corner and it was defender Jordi Groenewald who charged down the flick to keep deficit at one and moments later the home defence also kept out another superb volley by Isaac Farmilo, only to then concede when another clever cross field aerial pass caught them out to set up a cross for Farmilo to push home from close range.

The visitors defended well to maintain their lead as Banbury created several openings and things began to look up as the second half started with Tyson Nunneley winning a penalty corner from which Groenewald eventually slammed the ball home to reduce the deficit.

But the visitors turned up the pressure and with Groenewald then sin binned for ten minutes for a clumsy tackle the home side hung on defensively after changing their formation but could not progress up the field.

Back up to full strength in the final quarter Banbury created half chance after half chance as the ball whistled past the visitors goal but Tigers then broke away twice more for Muhammad Irfan and Angus Graham to seal their win.

Banbury manager Steve Brooker said: “The result is not a fair reflection of our performance in the game, we had as many if not more half chances than Tigers and were only a deflection or lunging stick away from levelling the score, but they converted chances where we did not.

"We will be working on that before our crucial visit to Birmingham University next week. They are one place and two points below us in the league and we need to get a win to consolidate our position.”

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