Banbury United v City Preview

Bath City travel to Oxfordshire on Saturday to take on Banbury United in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup with everyone connected with the Club hoping for the win which will put them in the competition proper.

Following wins in earlier rounds over Shaftesbury and Frome the draw was again kind in pairing City with lower level opponents. However the Puritans have made a fine start in the Southern League Premier Central Division and are unbeaten after nine matches with seven wins and 23 points accumulated. Banbury currently sit in third position, following Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Bromsgrove Sporting, trailing leaders Peterborough Sports who of course ended our hopes in last season’s FA Trophy.

Banbury have recorded narrow wins in each of their three matches to reach this stage. They knocked out neighbours Ardley of the Spartan League at their Spencer Stadium home before victories on the road at Nantwich and Basford who both play in the Northern Premier League.

City have made just seven visits to Banbury and following defeat in their first back in 1968 have recorded four wins and two draws. Our paths only crossed for a few seasons at the end of the sixties and then at the start of this century. The most dramatic was undoubtedly the clash (in more than one sense of the word) in March 2006 when a Scott Partridge hat trick overturned a 2-0 half time deficit.

Our most recent visit was just over three seasons ago when the clubs were paired in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Cup. On a very wet afternoon two first half goals from Ross Stearn were enough to see City safely through.

A repeat of that performance and result would be very welcome for the large number of City supporters expected to make the trip as they haven’t seen their club play in the first round of the Cup for some ten seasons. Following the win at Dover in 2011 the club has fallen at this stage to Salisbury, East Thurrock, Chelmsford, Weston and Havant & Waterlooville so victory is long overdue.

The Spencer Stadium can be found at the end of a long narrow approach and boasts decent cover behind one goal, a small neat grandstand and a decent sized bar.

Tickets can be bought online in advance of the match from the Banbury website costing £11 for adults and £7 for concessions while there are further deductions for students and children.

The journey via the M4 and Oxford will take just over two hours but using the A429 is shorter in distance. The Supporters Coach is running a large coach and seats can be booked here.

Should you prefer to travel by train the journey will take just under two hours, with at least one change, and the ground is a little over five minutes walk from Banbury station. The town and its good collection of pubs is the same distance in the opposite direction.

This is a vital match for the Club and Jerry and his players will hope for a large following to roar them into the first round!