A late strike sinks the Marketmen!!
By Paul Munn
Another disappointing day on the road as the poor run continues….
A start of a new month, could the Marketmen put the disappointing previous month behind them. A trip to Banbury in Oxfordshire would provide the answer. Banbury, who played their part in a thrilling three all draw at Bloomfields in December, have like the Marketmen, encountered a poor run of results. The Marketmen starting XI saw James Baker deputise at centre half, as Dan Morphew was not quite 100%. This meant Luke Ingram took over centre forward duties, with Adam Mills coming in on the left and Joseph Marsden switching back to the right.
It was Banbury who got off to the better start with a couple of early attacks which required the Marketmen defence to be fully alert.
With only five minutes gone on the clock the hosts won a corner which Ravi Shamsi and Giorgio Rasulo worked a short corner to deliver the ball across the six-yard box, it fell to Joe Iaciofano who, despite an effort from Jake Jessup to block it with his leg, slotted it into the back of the net from close range. 1-0 BUFC.
The Marketmen responded reasonably well with Callum Sturgess having a good run down the left and likewise Joseph Marsden doing the same down the right. However on both occasions the Banbury defence manged to deal with them and clear any impending danger.
Joseph Marsden moments later provided a decent cross to the far post, where it was met by Luke Ingram, alas he had strayed into an offside position. Luke Ingram was in the action again when he fired an effort into the side-netting from a near post corner.
Despite having plenty of possession during this period they were unable to turn it into clear cut chances. Although they did create one from another near post corner, delivered by Joseph Marsden it was glanced wide of the far upright by James Baker. The midfield and full backs pushed on well, but the final ball was missing. Also, a few dead ball situations did not go according to plan, with the ball missing the crowded area and going straight out of play.
To be fair, Banbury did look a real threat on the counter-attack, which benefitted from the pace of Ravi Shamsi and Joe Iaciofano who caused the Marketmen defence a few problems. They both had decent opportunities, Ravi Shamsi firing wide with a first time effort from the edge of the box and Joe Iaciofano sending an effort over the top after being played in by Banbury skipper Ricky Johnson.
The Marketmen kept plugging away and managed to fashion some chances. Jamie Griffiths put in a decent cross that Adam Mills got a head to find Luke Ingram, but he was unable to get a clear effort on goal. Moments later a route one ball from Jake Jessup saw Adam Mills hit a speculative volley from wide on the left flank which had Banbury’s keeper Jack Harding back-peddling, but unfortunately it flew past the far post.
As the first half entered stoppage-time Joseph Marsden created a chance out of nothing when, after receiving the ball from Jake Dye, he cut into the box before curling a low shot that just went inches past the far post.
It was at this point Banbury could and should have doubled their advantage, when Joe Iaciofano was put through, he struck the ball over the advancing keeper, only for him to see it crashing of the bar.
And how crucial that miss proved to be. In the final action of the first half Joseph Marsden created a shooting opportunity. His effort was blocked in the box at close range by Harry Whitehead. However, the referee blew his whistle adjudging he did so with his arm and pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Joseph Marsden, having missed one last week, he sent the Banbury keeper, Jack Harding, the wrong way to resume normal service and level up the score. 1-1.
Half time: Banbury United 1 vs Needham Market 1
After the restart, it was the Marketmen who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Russell Short tried to find the target with a long range effort, but he was unable to keep it down. Luke Ingram tried to finish of a good Marketmen move, but he also was unable to find the target, as he put it wide of the post.
A couple of decent Callum Sturgess free kicks followed. One of which was cleared by the Banbury defence who just got to the ball before it caused any danger. The other was well delivered finding the head of Jamie Griffiths, but although it was on target his effort was comfortably gathered by the host’s keeper. It was the Marketmen who were looking the more threatening at this stage of the game.
Banbury were struggling to retain possession and only having one noteworthy chance registered this half, that being a Ravi Shamsi fierce angled drive, which luckily for the Marketmen was well blocked, they decided to change things just after the hour mark. They replaced Joe Iaciofano with Greg Kaziboni. He had an immediate impact giving the hosts more presence in the final third and as a result of this they created three good chances in quick succession. The substitute himself had the first of them with a twenty-five yard effort that was luckily for the Marketmen deflected behind for a corner. The second one brought out a great save by Jake Jessup when he had to claw away a Ricky Johnson header from a long throw-in and the Banbury skipper also had another effort soon afterwards when he glanced another header wide from Matt Taylor’s cross.
Meanwhile at the other end and in between these Banbury chances the Marketmen came so close to taking the lead. Joseph Marsden having received the ball from Russell Short found space out on the right and delivered a dangerous low ball across the area, Jamie Griffiths and Adam Mills who were both advancing looking to get a touch on it in order to tap it in, just failed in their quest. An agonising moment for the Marketmen players, management and supporters alike.
Although the Marketmen were creating some chances, notably Jeremiah Kamanzi, who had come on in place of Samuel Squire, having go from twenty yards, but unfortunately it lacked power and it was gathered by the keeper, the upper hand in the contest was now with Banbury. They themselves created some good opportunities. Eddie Odhiambo finished off a promising move, but he pulled his effort wide of the post and a good Ravi Shamsi curling free-kick flashed across goal before going just past the far post.
With five minutes remaining of normal time Banbury’s Amer Awadh’s won possession on the left, he took it on and played it inside to Giorgio Rasulo, on receiving the ball he cut inside his marker and beat Jake Jessup with a low drive from 20 yards that found the bottom corner of the net to give the hosts the lead. 2-1 BUFC.
A bitter disappointment for the Marketmen as they tried to find a response. Although they did have a minute or so of good pressure they could not turn it into anything meaningful. The disappointment and a bit of frustration was evident and was on show in a ‘handbag’ moment late on. Banbury then shored up things by taking off the attack minded Ravi Shamsi and replacing him with a more solid midfielder, Charlie Wise. They were able to see out the four minutes of stoppage-time to claim the three points, their first win in six games.
Another disappointing and frustrating day for the Marketmen. The performance itself was, in my opinion better than in previous weeks, but we do seem to be missing that cutting edge. No doubt the management team and players will have their own opinions, these are the ones that matter the most. No doubt they discussed a few after the game and will continue to do so at forthcoming training sessions, to find ways to getting fortunes back on track and driving the club on.
Full time: Banbury United 2 vs Needham Market 1
Banbury United: Harding, Odihambo, Taylor, Hottor (Nash 72), Henderson, Whitehead, Shamsi (Wise 90), Rasulo, Johnson, Iaciofano (Kaziboni 63), Awadh.
Needham Market: Jessop: Dye, Sturgess, Squire (Kamanzi 64), Morphew (K), Baker, Marsden, Short, Ingram, Griffiths, Mills