​Banbury HC secure safety with impressive away win

Jacob Buckner Rowley beats two St Albans defenders to start another Banbury attack. Photo submitted.Jacob Buckner Rowley beats two St Albans defenders to start another Banbury attack. Photo submitted.
Jacob Buckner Rowley beats two St Albans defenders to start another Banbury attack. Photo submitted.
​Banbury HC secured their National League status for next season with a resounding 4-1 win at St Albans.

​Indeed, the win lifted them three places to fifth in the EH Midlands Conference League with the last game at home this weekend against Harleston Magpies.

Banbury started at a furious pace but St Albans broke through down the left of the stretched visitors in the second minute and created a simple tap in goal for Ben Huddleston past Banbury keeper Fergus Dunleavy with his defenders nowhere in sight.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But the visitors knew that their League status was at stake and renewed their attacks regardless of the deficit, winning a penalty corner fired just wide by Josh Nunneley.

Banbury were over stretched again for the home side to win a penalty corner of their own with Dunleavy relieved to see the shot bounce away off the post.

Keeping up the visitors’ pressure, Tyson Nunneley broke away down the right to cross for captain George Brooker to crash his shot past home keeper Ian Fraser to level the scores as the first quarter drew to a close.

The second quarter began with the visitors relentlessly attacking but still vulnerable to the St Albans counter attacks though Jacob Buckner Rowley, Nathan Hochman and Brooker had chances to take the lead but they could not find the net.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hochman was then tripped in the area to win another penalty corner but saw Fraser pull off a great save low to his left, only for St Albans to bounce straight back needing Banbury defender Charlie Camp to make a desperate save on the line to keep the scores level at half time.

Banbury got just the start they wanted to the second half when Josh Nunneley’s tremendous aerial pass the full length of the pitch found Hochman behind the home defenders and he was able to scrape the ball home past Fraser from a narrow angle a take an early lead.

Tyson Nunneley kept up his sparkling form down the right and was fouled just outside the area. He took a quick re-start to find Jodie Groenewald who won a penalty corner and Nunneley then finished a training ground zig-zag move from close range and extended the visitors’ lead.

The home counter attacks could not break the Banbury midfield and defence with Pete Lamb and Joe Allen giving signature robust performances to keep them at bay whilst the visitors, not content with a two-goal lead, pressed forward creating chances with Groenewald winning another penalty corner, slammed into the net by Josh Nunneley to seal the win.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Manager Steve Brooker said: “This was the biggest game of our season so far and we have produced another fine performance but with the crucial difference of finishing some of the many chances our great attacking play has created.

"It is a great shame that our South African overseas player Jordi Groenewald will miss the last League game and our National Cup semi-final in April but we are now safe and know we have another season to consolidate our position at the top level.

"This has been a great weekend for the club with our second team also fighting their way to safety out of a possible relegation and we can now go into our final League game of the season in a more relaxed mode.”

Related topics: