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Banbury United seal their step 3 future with victory at The Premier Plus Stadium

Saturday, 30 March 2019 21:06

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

St Neots Town       0          Banbury United        3     

This was theoretically a ‘must-win’ match for St Neots if they are to retain a credible chance of Step Three football next season.   Sadly, not at any time did this look likely, as a previously out of form Banbury with just one win in their last nine league outings strolled to a very comfortable victory.   When the result came through that Lowestoft had won their away match at Tamworth, St Neots were left effectively nine points from safety because of an inferior goal difference, with just fifteen points left to play for.   However, the post-match talking point was not about the three goals Banbury scored but the one that was disallowed.   After nine minutes a Giorgio Rasulo corner was knocked out for another corner indicated by match Referee Sean Barry, but the visiting player cheekily played on to net from a narrow angle and only persistent protests by St Neots with the opposing side lined up for a restart kick off eventually persuaded the official to consult with his colleague and then the corner was retaken.  Not that was to have any effect on the outcome of the contest because St Neots never seriously tested visiting keeper Jack Harding at any time in the 90 minutes.   Manager Marc Abbott reinstated Dan Trendall in the starting line-up and gave a full debut to Ben Bradley leaving Prince Mutswunguma and Owen Dunnett on the substitutes bench so the line up meant St Neots were at full strength.  

Right from the first whistle Banbury looked able to dominate play with home keeper James Philip doing well after just two minutes to parry  a fiercely hit volley from Gregory Kaziboni.   Four minutes later St Neots were behind when the lively Kaziboni sprinted down the right to cross for Guiseppe Iaciofano to send a delicate chip over the keeper into the far corner of the net.   Banbury then though they had doubled their lead only to be denied when Referee Barry dramatically changed his mind, but they continued to press forward and their sheer physical advantage with their taller players winning almost every headed challenge kept them well on top.   Iaciofano squandered a clear opening shooting wide from ten yards and Philip then saved well from a Rasulo free kick.   Towards the end of the first half St Neots did create a couple of chances but Jordan Norville-Williams effort was comfortably saved at the near post and a Scott Pollock free kick did extend visiting keeper Jack Harding to a full length save.   After Iaciofano had missed badly volleying over from just five yards, Banbury got the reward three minutes into first half added time they had deserved for their impressive first half domination when the lanky Ricky Johnson rose high above the home defence to head home another Kaziboni cross from the right.

St Neots needed an early second half response if they were to make inroads into the deficit and new boy Ben Bradley did test the visiting keeper from a Matt Miles corner.   The home side then introduced two fresh wide players with Prince Mutswunguma and Jacob Joseph replacing Dan Trendall and Joe  Sutton but within three minutes of the changes Banbury had put the match beyond the home side with a third goal.   It came from a rare mistake by Stevan Shaw who gave the ball away to Iaciofano and he unselfishly drew the keeper off his line to chip a cross to Ricky Johnson who only had to walk the ball into an unguarded net.   Banbury then seemed to take their foot off the accelerator allowing St Neots a greater share of play, but the home side lacked ideas and penetration although they won several corners from one of which Ryan Hughes headed narrowly over the bar with his sides’ best second half chance.   A Gary Wharton header late on was the only other threat to the home defence and Banbury left town after comfortably avenging a 3-1 defeat in the first meeting of the two sides this season.

St Neots Town:  Philip, Hood, Norville-Williams, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Bradley, Pollock, Wharton, Sutton,  Trendall

Subs: Mutswunguma (for Sutton 61 mins), Joseph (for Trendall 61mins), Dunnett (for Shaw 65 mins), Rhiney and Clarke.

Cards:  Trendall (Y – 61 mins)

Goals: none

Banbury United: Harding, Taylor, Nash, Wise, Hawtin, Richards, Johnson, Iaciofano, Kaziboni, Whitehead, Rasulo

Subs:  Shamsi (for Iaciofano 65 mins), Awadh (for Kaziboni 81 mins), Odhiambo (for Nash 87 mins), Finch and Antonio.

Cards:Taylor (Y – 69 mins)

Goals:  Ricky Johnson 2 (45+3 and 64 mins), Guiseppe Iaciofano (6 mins)

 

Referee:  Sean Barry (Northampton)

Attendance:       260

 

John Walker

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