Joe Allen keeps out another Norwich attack.Joe Allen keeps out another Norwich attack.
Joe Allen keeps out another Norwich attack.
Banbury returned from their longest away trip so far with a point from a 3-3 draw at Norwich.

They still slipped a place to eighth in the EHL Midlands Conference League, however, as other results did them no favours.

Banbury have now played all three of the top-placed teams, earning draws from two of them, and they could easily have won this clash against third-placed Norwich.

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Within the first minute a superb length of the pitch aerial pass from Charlie Camp found Jordie Groenewald but his shot whistled over the bar, the Banbury pressure continuing as they forced penalty corners and some great saves from home keeper Alastair Cooke.

But it was the home side that broke away from one of the saved penalty corners with a long pass that found Chris Wardle who bamboozled the visitors’ keeper Fergus Dunnleavy to grab the lead after ten minutes.

The home side put huge pressure on the Banbury defence after Camp’s departure due to injury with Tom Crowfoot and Sam Pick excelling to keep them at bay and man of the match Connor Roberts providing great work in the midfield.

Jacob Buckner-Rowley and Groenewald combined on 25 minutes but as the move broke down the home side broke away, won a penalty corner and Tom Cooke slotted home a well practiced and executed near post manoeuvre for a two-goal lead.

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But Banbury fought back strongly with captain Will Kellett finishing a left sided move to reduce the lead and only four minutes later Crowfoot levelled the scores.

Banbury dominated the second half with Nathan Hochman netting from a penalty corner to take the lead after 42 minutes.

But it was the home side that got a lucky bounce back off the post to wrong foot the visiting defenders for Wardle to push home from close range and level the scores.

In the last ten minutes Banbury came close on multiple occasions with Buckner-Rowley hitting the side netting from an narrow angle with two minutes to go and another brilliant save from a penalty corner by home keeper on the stroke of time to earn the home side a point.

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Banbury manager Steve Brooker said: “This was a great fighting performance, we were two down and we fought right back, showing what we are made of and that we deserve our place in this League.

"At full-time Norwich were so relieved to keep us out that they celebrated as if they had won.

"We now have two consecutive home games, first Bedford then St Albans. It is very close in the League and we could easily rise back to fourth or fifth if we go well and reproduce the performance of today.

"We also have a new spectator stand being opened at our home pitch next Sunday and will be looking to fill the seating and come away with three points.”

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