Banbury United  0-1  Brackley Town       Sat 17 July 2021

The annual local derby fixture was well fought and competitive on an afternoon of sweltering heat with Saints edging the win through Lee Ndlovu’s fine finish.  Both sides should take credit for high energy performances in temperatures that warranted a sensible precaution of drinks breaks and there was little between the sides.

Saints started the brighter with a goal-bound effort hacked off the line on 8 minutes and Jimmy Armson foiled only by the ‘keeper one on one.  But The Puritans’ Chris Wreh saw his shot well saved by Danny Lewis and just before the break a double chance should have seen the home side nose in front as former St James Park midfielder Georgio Risulo’s fierce shot was pushed out by Lewis before the ball was flashed across the face of goal.

Within moments of the re-start Ndlovu produced a moment of quality to put Saints ahead, the striker’s chip finding the net from distance.

Late in the game Banbury came close to levelling with substitute keeper Ben Taylor saving well at point blank range.

“It was not easy out there this afternoon but conditions can be like this in August when the league season starts so we have to be ready for this,” Kevin Wilkin said.  “It was another good work-out and some positives but we have a lot to improve on in the coming weeks.”

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