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United 3 Banbury 2

26 March 2013

U's go through in the Senior Cup

United went through to the final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup tonight with a 3-2 win over Banbury United at Court Place Farm. Goals from teenage strike duo Callum O'Dowda and James Roberts plus a penalty from the returning JP Pittman sealed the win against a good Banbury side who made it a fine cup tie througout.

United fielded a strong line up which mixed experience with youth. Wayne Brown, Sam Long. Michael Duberry , Harry Worley and Luke O’Brien formed  the back line, Josh Parker, Simon Heslop, Josh Ashby and O'Dowda the midfield, and Pittman and James Roberts  teamed up in attack.

Roberts saw an early effort cleared when it looked a yard over the line but it was his youth team strike partner O’Dowda who made the breakthrough by firing home a right footed effort from the edge of the box after 16 minutes to make it 1-0.

Roberts had a shot saved after 25 minutes but it was far from one way traffic with Banbury playing some good stuff and forcing Duberry and Worley to make several important challenges and on 41 the Puritans levelled as Albi Skendi ran clear to roll the ball past the helpless Brown and level the scores at the break.

The U’s didn’t take too long to recover their lead after the break. A dropping ball was heading for the lively Parker but he was bundled over before he could bring the ball down. Pittman took responsibility and thumped the penalty past keeper Warren Carter to make it 2-1 after 54 minutes.

Eight minutes later and it was 3-1 as Roberts once again underlined his potential. Heslop, who controlled the midfield all night, did superbly to drive forward and round a defender before playing a perfectly weighted pass for Roberts who calmly passed beyond the keeper to make it 3-1.

Any thoughts that the game was safe were dispelled on 73 as another mix up in the United defence left Saul Otoba with a tap in from six yards to keep the game alive. Parker saw a dipping effort spectacularly tipped on to the bar and over by Carter on 85 but banbury played with genuine urgency in the last few minutes to ensure that this was a proper competitive tie.

The U's will now face either Thame United or Oxford City in the final at the Kassam Stadium.

Brown, Long, Duberry, Worley, O’Brien, Parker, Ashby, Heslop, O’Dowda, Roberts, Pittman

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