Diamonds came from behind with a superb second half performance to win this FA Trophy Replay 2-1 in Banbury on Tuesday night.
A competitive first half saw Diamonds into the action early with Nathan Hicks firing in a fierce effort just over and the ball finding the back of the net after a corner but an offside flag ruled it out. Banbury started brightly too having a rasping effort from Claudio Dias brilliantly tipped over by Ben Heath, and the ever dangerous Jannal Gordon denied in a one on one by the excellent Ben Heath…all this in the first 10 minutes. Alex Collard had Diamonds best chance as the half wore on when a point blank header was saved by the home keeper but Banbury went on to largely dominate and opened the scoring on 34 minutes. Jannal Gordon found space in the box to head Claudio Dias cross home – his second in this 3 game run against Diamonds.
Diamonds were out of the blocks quickly in the second half with a strong penalty appeal for handball turned down and another dangerous free-kick played into the box but just headed clear by the hardworking Banbury defence. Diamonds were building the pressure and got their rewards with an equaliser on the hour mark. Ben Acquaye who had come on for Jack Ashton crossed in low for Tom Lorraine to notch his 93rd Diamonds goal. Banbury had shooting chances on the break notably from Nesbitt and Rasulo before the equaliser and Jannal Gordon after when he delayed his effort when well place and eventually curled just wide.
Diamonds were putting on one of their best performances in a largely dominant second half and Jordon Macleod was a big part of that seeing 70th minute effort disallowed again for offside. Ben Acquaye was also instrumental in a great fightback putting an 72nd minute effort over the bar after good work from Nathan Hicks. Diamonds had reverted to 4-4-2 and Morgan Roberts was lively too firing over after cutting inside. Acquaye then hit the side netting as you sensed Diamonds were really going for the win. The goal duly came on 83 minutes as a deep ball was collected beyond the far post by Sam Brown who turned it back to the supporting Ben Acquaye. He curled a great low ball along the six yard line behind the Banbury defence to Jordan Macleod at the far post to fire home.
Diamonds held on comfortably despite 5 added minutes and head into the second qualifying round of the FA Trophy with a long trip to South Shields one of the best supported teams at this level in what will probably be the tie of the round. This was an excellent fightback from Diamonds who showed considerable mental strength to find the energy and commitment to put in such a tremendous second half display after trailing at half time on a cold night.
They will be looking to build further on this excellent run of performances in another tough task on Saturday as they travel to Biggleswade.
Man of the Match: Ben Heath
Match Summary: Paul Judd
***Full report and line-ups to follow***
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