Banbury United have struggled so far this season, finding themselves second from bottom of the Southern League Premier after they were humiliated 8-1 by league leaders Stourbridge three weeks ago. They returned to the league against Frome Town after FA Trophy duty and looked all the better for their break from the grind of league football.
The much-changed Banbury side started on the front foot and took an early lead in spectacular style. A deep cross from Luke Cray was headed into the path of the unmarked Wayne Blossom at the far post, who fired an overhead kick back across the face of goal to leave Frome goalkeeper Darren Chitty wrong-footed.
Banbury visibly grew in confidence and continued to press forward and looked likely to score another. Frome, however, also looked dangerous on the break on the rare occasions when they were able to get out of their own half. The long throws of Tom Evans were a particular threat and it was from one of these that the visitors got their equaliser late in the half. Banbury failed to deal with the long throw as 'keeper Matt Gill failed to collect, allowing Dave Thompson to send the ball goalwards and Marvin Martin was unable to keep it from going in despite his desperate lunge.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first. Banbury continued to dominate possession and territory, but for all their endeavour were unable to break down a stern Frome defence. Tom Lorraine provided a strong aerial threat for the home side, giving Frome particular problems from corners, and Kynan Isaac – a new arrival from Conference North Oxford City – was full of running on the left wing.
That said, the hosts tired towards the end of the game and Frome could have stolen a win, finishing the game on top with their only significant spell of pressure, and Gill had to be on his toes to keep out a dangerous shot in the dying minutes.
Banbury may have been glad to hear the final whistle, but when they reflect on the match as a whole they may feel aggrieved that they couldn't take all three points. Those points could prove vital at the end of the season, and Banbury have struggled to find the wins they need so far this season. However, there are many positives that can be taken from this performance. The Puritans didn't play like a side fighting relegation and will hope to push on and create more reasons to feel positive when they welcome fellow strugglers Weymouth at the weekend.