Hartley progress in FA Cup thanks to goals from Everiss, Duff and Cook
The opening 15 minutes was more like a game of chess with both managements probing to find the others weaknesses and nullify their threats. There was little action in the opening exchanges although a couple of chances were carved out for both sides. Banbury enjoyed the majority of the possession as they played it across the back, Hartley sat off and remained patient.
Hartley were full of confidence going into the game, having won our previous six fixtures, but knew we were going to be the underdogs against Banbury, who play their football in the level above.
It was on 18 minutes when Banbury’s Duran Martin, who after some neat football got a shot away from the edge of the box which flew into the bottom corner.
Hartley were back into the game pretty quickly, as a foul was awarded outside the Banbury box. Ross Cook set it up and with one step lashed the ball up and over the wall and into the top right corner. Brilliant strike to bring us back level.
Banbury continued to dominate possession, but Hartley wouldn't allow them any clear cut chances. The one chance Banbury did have fell to Zac McEachran who shot wide from 12 yards.
Sam Argent went through on goal but was brought down as he was about to lash it home by Banbury’s captain, Andy Gunn. He was shown the red card, after a long wait to remove the captain, Argent’s shot was saved by Harding. Half Time 1-1.
Hartley started the brighter of the two sides with a number of chances created. Argents fantastic movement created an opportunity but headed wide. Despite the bright start, it was Banbury who regained their lead against the run of play when Mark Bell latched onto the end of a cross from Brian Bowles. A very well taken goal.
Hartley responded on the 69th minute as Cook turned the central defender with a neat touch over his shoulder and Duff took it off his foot to bury the ball into the far corner. Hartley were now back to their confident best and on 80 minutes Cook found himself just outside of the box, with some neat and fast footwork jinked past two defenders and smashed the ball past the helpless Harding.
With just five minutes left on the clock, Cook completed his hat-trick and Adam Everiss added a goal to make the final score 5-2. It was a fantastic game of football and there was a real buzz around the ground after that victory. Thanks, as always, for your support. [DB]