FOOTBALL: Strafford dismissal key as Banbury lose again

FOOTBALL: Strafford dismissal key as Banbury lose again

FOOTBALL: Strafford dismissal key as Banbury lose again

First published in Sport

BANBURY United let slip a 2-0 lead as they fell to a seventh straight league defeat this season with a 4-2 loss at Frome Town in the Southern League Premier Division.

With Paul Davis taking charge for the first time as interim manager, things looked bright for the Puritans when goals from on-loan Josh Shama and Jacob Walcott’s penalty gave the visitors a two-goal cushion before half-time.

However, ultimately it was the dismissal of Lewis Strafford on 13 minutes that proved costly for Banbury, as the ten-men understandably tired late on, allowing the hosts to claim the points.

A much-changed visiting side went into the game hoping a change in manager would help get their season up and running.

And while just two players kept their place in the starting line-up from Monday’s home defeat at the hands of Cirencester Town, they went ahead after just three minutes.

Shama, signed on loan from Oxford United 24 hours earlier, latched onto a misunderstanding between Rhys Baggridge and Tom Golledge to chip Lewis Pierre and put his side ahead.

Strafford was then shown a straight red card for a horrible tackle on Matt Smith which put Banbury under real pressure.

Goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell, back for a second spell at the club, did well to keep out a Mark Francis shot as the hosts started to get on top.

But, despite the numerical disadvantage, Banbury doubled the lead.

Shama had gone close to making it 2-0 with a header, but when Walcott was fouled by Pierre in the box, the Banbury man picked himself up and tucked away the spot-kick.

Crucially, the away side were unable to hold onto their advantage at half-time.

Just a minute before the interval, Rhys Baggridge poked home from close range to give Frome a big lift.

Although Smith missed a great chance to level two minutes after the restart, the Somerset side did draw level in the 63rd minute when Mark Francis converted an excellent Ben Thomson pass.

Banbury were visibly tiring and the hosts took advantage, taking the lead with ten minutes remaining when Ricky Hulbert’s cross was converted by Thomson.

Davis threw men forward to try and salvage a point, but Banbury were caught on the break in the final minute when a fine run and cross from Baggridge was finished off by Francis to seal victory.

However, Banbury can take much confidence from the performance.

Banbury Utd: Bedwell, Agathangelou (Twitchings 16), Mzungwana, Westbrook, Strafford, Fishwick, Walcott, Hawtin, Shama (Howards 76), Browne, Evangelinos (Houston 55). Subs not used: Katsouloudi, Tappin.

Attendance: 161.

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