BRENDAN Kelly says Banbury United will be favourites for Saturday’s (3pm) clash at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium on the back of Bromsgrove Sporting’s 3-0 reverse at home to Coalville Town last weekend.
Luke Shaw’s tenth-minute opener, a goal from Tom McGlinchey on the stroke of the hour-mark and a late effort from Kairo Mitchell compounded a dismal Saturday afternoon for the Rouslers in front of a crowd of 1,075 at the Victoria Ground.
The Bromsgrove manager believes his side were made to pay for failing to trouble their opponents at any stage in the defeat – their seventh in the Southern League Premier Central – and said: “It’s not an excuse, but the injuries that we had did affect us on Saturday.
“We were missing the players that were out – the big players that we’re reliant on – and that played a part in us not getting a foothold in the game.
“Credit to them though, they were better and did a job on us. Their game management was better and they’ve got more experience than us.
“But for us not to threaten at all, we assisted them in their win. We’ve played them twice already this season and they’ve been a lot closer before, so it’s concerning that we couldn’t cause them problems – it was a really disappointing day.
“Players can’t have any excuses now about keeping their place in the team.”
Saturday’s loss was the second that the club have suffered in their last three league outings, with an early goal from Shaw – who followed in Timothy Berridge’s initial shot that was parried by Platt – putting Bromsgrove on the backfoot straight away.
Greg Mills forced Saul Deeney into making a stop with the first real sight of goal for the hosts, while Shaw remained a threat down the other end when playing in Adam McGurk for an effort that was diverted wide.
The next goal arrived in the second half, again in Coalville’s favour, when McGlinchey buried a low strike into the bottom corner.
A carbon copy of the visitors’ second followed with eight minutes remaining when Mitchell stole possession inside Sporting’s penalty area, before planting the ball in the far corner of Platt’s net.
Kelly stated his desire to put an end to Sporting’s Achilles heel of conceding early on in games after the latest occurrence, adding: “It’s the part of our game that concerns me most.
“We did it on New Year’s Day against Stourbridge, and more recently against Kings Langley, then we go and do it again. Maybe our concentration levels are not where they need to be.
“Against the good sides in this league we need to be solid and not switch off for ten or 15 minutes in games.”
This weekend’s opponents, managed by former Oxford United player Mike Ford, were 2-0 winners in the last meeting between the two clubs thanks to Jaanai Gordon’s first-half double.
While the fortunes of both sides have differed since that Victoria Ground showdown back in August, with Bromsgrove top of the pile and the Puritans residing in ninth place, Kelly is adamant that their rivals will provide another huge test of his squad’s promotion credentials.
“They popped us off the park with their passing,” said Sporting’s boss.
“They were very clever on the ball, we didn’t perform well that day. It might mean everything going into Saturday, or it might mean nothing at all.
“We’re both better teams with the players available to us compared to back then. It’s always a tough place for teams to go, especially for us coming off the back of a defeat.
“They’re certainly favourites after last time, so we need to provide a response to last weekend.
Kelly confirmed that the pressure on his injury-hit squad has been eased somewhat and will welcome back the likes of Leon Broadhurst and Jack Wilson, two players who made the bench last weekend, but refused to give up any further names in the risk of aiding Banbury’s preparations.