Stearn double seals comfortable FA Cup progress

City eased into the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round this afternoon with two first half strikes from Ross Stearn enough to see off the challenge of Banbury United. The in-form Southern League Premier Central side – who finished the game with ten men following Henderson’s late red card – were comfortably kept at bay by the Romans in a throughly professional performance. The tone of the game was set from the opening exchanges with City enjoying the majority of possession and rarely allowing the Puritans to threaten their goal. It took half-an-hour for City’s dominance to be reflected in the scorline when Adam Mann’s fierce shot was only parried by Harding and Stearn lashed the rebound into the roof of the net. And 12 minutes later Stearn was on target again with a dipping 20-yard volley after a corner was only half-cleared. The home side enjoyed their best spell of the game during the early stages of the second half by couldn’t fashion any clear-cut chances. Once City had weathered this storm they once again gained the upper hand. Harding denied Stearn his hat-trick with a fine block, then also kept out Tom Smith’s follow-up effort, and several other chances came and went for City to put a more accurate reflection on the final scoreline. That was of little concern in the end though as City safely ensured their name would be in Monday’s draw.