Ben Hibberd converted two set pieces and goalkeeper Sammy Laurent saved a penalty stroke as Winchester won 4-3 at Banbury to make it make-to-back South League Premier Division wins.
Winchester, who broke their duck with a 3-2 victory over West Hampstead the previous week, got off to a bright start under the Warwick Road floodlights, with several efforts troubling the Banbury defence before a string of penalty corners finally resulted in Ben Hibberd converting from short range to give the visitors a deserved lead.
Winchester’s dominance continued with Banbury having to withstand heavy pressure before Todd Clark doubled the lead with a well placed finish.
Banbury hit back soon after though Will Kellett from a well worked penalty corner trimming Winchester’s half-time lead to 2-1.
Banbury maintained their new-found momentum, pushing for an equaliser, but the centre back partnership of James Pawley and the influential Harry Trussler [pictured] kept their efforts at bay. Midway through the second half, Trussler himself restored Winchester's two goal advantage, a well-placed drag flick putting his side firmly in control.
Banbury switched system shortly after and hit back almost immediately through James Long to reduce the deficit to 3-2 and leave the game on a knife edge.
With 15 minutes to go James Pawley conceded a stroke after a poorly timed tackle in his own D – but Laurent easily saved a tame flick to spare his team-mate’s blushes.
Winchester countered and almost immediately won their own stroke. James Lander found himself free on the back post but could only find the body of a sprawling Banbury defender. Hibberd stepped up to convert the stroke and give Winchester 4-2 lead going into the final ten minutes.
A flurry of cards then saw both sides reduced to ten men before a high press from Banbury yielded a third goal for Steve O’Connor to make it 4-3 but Winchester held on.
Winchester are now level on six points with neighbours Trojans, who lost 4-3 at Milton Keynes, despite a fifth of the season by Matty Bell and goals from Colin French and Harry Markham. It was Trojans second consecutive defeat.
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