Banbury United manager Andy Whing so proud of the young cup team against Rushall Olympic
PHOTOS BY JULIE HAWKINS
Saturday’s 2-0 win over Stourbridge at Amblecote put Banbury United 16 points clear atop the Southern League Premier Central Division after 25 games.
Despite the absence of five premier squad members, Andy Whing’s squad put in another hard-working performance with their best defensive performance to date – making them 17 clean sheets this season.
A home goal from their hosts, tenths, put Banbury ahead after nearly half an hour and shortly after the break Lewis Johnson made it 2-0.
They are now at home for the next two weekends, hosting fifth-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds and then Redditch United, who are just above the danger zone.
On Tuesday night, a 92nd-minute winner of Rushall Olympic denied the exhausted Puritans a berth in the Southern League Challenge Cup semi-finals, winning 3-2.
But manager Whing praised his very young side against Rushall’s first team, fourth.
“It was an exceptional performance and I am disgusted for them,” he said afterwards.
“I don’t think they deserved it, we were their best team in the first half, but probably Rushall’s greater experience in the last 15-20 minutes of the game really showed it.
“I’m proud of each of them and they should all be proud of themselves. They represented the football club incredibly well.
“It just shows that this football club is evolving, when ten of our first team players are missing today.
“We had two fit defenders so we didn’t want to risk them. There are one or two that will hopefully come back over the weekend.
“We couldn’t take any chances tonight. We could easily have said that we didn’t have enough players, but that’s not us at all.
“Overall it was a fantastic night for us in terms of the minutes that were needed for the players and the young players as well.”
And Whing said it was great to see Jack Harding return in goal, coming back from his elbow injury in October.
Morgan Roberts gave Banbury the lead after half an hour on a Giorgio Rasulo assist.
Then three goals in ten minutes just after the hour mark saw Rushall equalize, Victor Sodeinde scored 2-1 from the penalty spot, then the visitors equalized again.
With both teams pressing, Rushall won the tie 3-2.
Center-back James Golding, 17, had joined the Puritans this week for work experience at Oxford United, where he has been an academic since the summer of 2020 after spending eight years in the academy system at AFC Wimbledon.
19-year-old midfielder Jed Abbey has also signed on loan from AFC Telford for the remainder of the season. He went through the Wolverhampton Wanderers age groups from the age of eight.