k1INJURY-hit Blues went down to a heavy defeat as Banbury left the ProKit (UK) with the three points, on Saturday.

An experienced United were too strong for a depleted and youthful Stortford side that through circumstances had to give first team league debuts to three players. Max Brassington filled the right back berth with George Casey still injured while Freddie Oakman and Joe Ryan made their league debuts coming on as second half substitutes.

k2Marvel Ekpiteta and Josh Simpson were still out injured and a big blow was the absence of Dipo Akinyemi who was injured earlier in the week training with his parent club Stevenage and could be out of action for some time.

Also missing was Dean Ager who was called back by Colchester United for an FA Youth Cup tie in the coming week. New signing and academy player , Chad Cruse, was on the bench alongside another youth player Marcus Crowther.

It took only six minutes for the Puritans to open the scoring when their first real attack ended with Jack Self’s cross towards the far post being headed in by Ellliott Sandy.

k4The Blues had a number of promising attacks without really threatening the Banbury goal although Jamie Cureton tested keeper Jack Harding after receiving a fine pass from Alfie Mason and they were well in the contest until the visitors notched two goals in three minutes.

On the half hour Ricky Johnson headed Charlie Hawtin’s cross back to Sandy who drove home from just inside the box..

Then Johnson again won a header from a Hawtin centre and Conor McDonough was able to tap in from close range.

Two minutes later Jason Williams released Darren Foxley to arrow the ball across the six yard box with no one getting a touch and Stortford came their closest to scoring ten minutes from the break as Williams goalbound header from Foxley’s corner was headed off the line by Sandy.k3

United’s Luke Carnell had a back post header gathered by Tyler McCarthy and a McDonough free-kick was close across the face of the Blues goal.

At the other end Jordan Westcott tried a shot from distance that was held by Harding as Blues went into the dressing room wit a three-goal deficit.

Kevin Watson’s side kept battling after the break but fell further behind in the 59th minute when Luke Carnell’s header from McDonough’s corner was initially saved by keeper Tyler McCarthy but the United player was quick to hammer the loose ball into the net.

Foxley was close for a consolation goal with a long-range effort that was just wide of Harding’s left-hand upright but the Puritans scored their fifth goal in the 76th minute.

A clever back-heel from McDonough set up Jordy Ngathe to centre from the right and substitute Tom Winters, who had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes, found the net with a close range header.

The Puritans had the ball in the net a couple of times before the final whistle but on both occasions the goals were overruled for offside and it would have been an injustice if Banbury had scored any further.

STORTFORD: Tyler McCarthy; Max Brassington; Darren Foxley; Jack Thomas; Alex Rogers; Joe Robinson; Alfie Mason; Jordan Westcott; Jason Williams (Joe Ryan 82); Jamie Cureton; Callum Taylor (Freddie Oakman 61).

Unused substitutes: Marcus Crowther and Chad Cruse.

BANBURY UNITED: Jack Harding; George Nash; Luke Carnell; Tom Bradbury; Charlie Hawtin; Jack Self (Jack Finch 80); Conor McDonough (Ryan McDonald 86); Ricky Johnson; Jordy Ngathe; Elliot Sandy (Tom Winters 73); Charlie Wise.

Unused substitute: Jamie Heapy.

Referee: Elliott Kaye

Attendance: 301