MIKE Ford feels Banbury United have been harshly treated – but is calling on his players to reclaim the points they have lost.

The Puritans head into tomorrow’s home clash against Redditch United on the back of a difficult week.

Evo-Stik South League side Banbury were deducted four points by the Football Association (FA) on Tuesday for fielding an ineligible player.

It concerned Ravi Shamsi’s loan move in August, with the attacking midfielder playing in games against Rushall Olympic and Halesowen Town

when a copy of the registration form had not been received by the FA.

The Southern League ruled Banbury, who said it was down to an “administrative error”, should be deducted the points won in those games.

Following an appeal to the FA, the decision was upheld, despite accepting the Puritans had not had a fair hearing.

The decision has severely dented Banbury’s Premier Division Central play-off hopes, leaving the side ten points adrift of the top five, having played more games than the majority of the teams ahead of them.

Ford is keen to draw a line under the saga and build on last week’s draw with AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

He said: “This has been hanging over us for most of the season.

“This was the first two games, and not knowing the outcome of the appeals hearing until this week has been very frustrating.

“Ultimately, the original copies of the loan forms should have arrived with the FA five days after they were signed, and for whatever reason, they didn’t.

“It certainly wasn’t an intentional mistake, and I think we’ve been harshly treated.

“We can’t do anything about it though, we must just get these points back as quickly as possible.

“Our focus remains on winning football matches and sending our supporters home happy.”

Meanwhile, Julian McCalmon is in a buoyant mood ahead of Kidlington’s crucial bottom-of-the table clash at North Leigh.

Just a point separates the sides at the wrong end of the Division 1 Central table.

A win for either team would see them climb out of the relegation zone if Aylesbury fail to beat Cambridge.

Boss McCalmon, who names an unchanged squad, is backing basement boys Kidlington to deliver.

And is feeling upbeat after watching his side score three goals in the last seven minutes to beat Aylesbury 3-2 last week and record a first victory since December 15.

He said: “We had a really bad period over Christmas and New Year, but the boys showed great spirit last week to battle back.

“It sends us into the game in good spirits, but we know the task ahead of us.

“Let’s not sugar-coat anything, we are bottom so every team is better than us.

“We are the underdogs in every game we play.

“But mentality is everything, and hopefully our second half (last week) will see us turn the corner.

“I think the penny dropped – you have to believe you will get something out of the game, and if you don’t have belief, you won’t get anything.”

North Leigh conceded a late equaliser to lose 3-2 at AFC Dunstable.

Boss Craig Dore, who also names an unchanged squad, is hoping his side can learn from that defeat.

He said: “We conceded in stoppage time again.

“It’s been the story of our season – we need to learn how to hold on.

“Tomorrow’s game is a must-win for both teams.

"They are now only a point behind us, so we really do need to get something out of it.”

Didcot Town bid to bounce back when they travel to Bedford Town.

The play-off hopefuls lost 1-0 at home to Barton Rovers and boss Andy Ballard wants a reaction.

He said: “We’re determined to get back to winning ways.

“Every player needs to give everything they have in 90 minutes.

"If everyone can do that, then we will have no regrets.

“We had a number of below-par performances last week, which made things very difficult for us.

“Bedford will provide us a stern challenge. I have no doubt they will be right up there.”

Michael Alexis is unavailable, but Brandon Taverner’s loan from Oxford United has been extended for another month.

Thame United entertain Peterborough Sports on the back of a 5-0 drubbing at Bromsgrove Sporting.

Boss Mark West is looking for a better start against the leaders after his fifth-placed side conceded two early goals last week.

He said: “We didn’t even get into the game at Bromsgrove.

"Being 2-0 down so soon gave us a mountain to climb.

"We were poor, just weren’t good enough.

“Peterborough are probably the best team in the league.

"They are on a great run, so it doesn’t get any easier.

“We need to defend a lot better. You just never know, but we will have to perform a lot better tomorrow.”

Harry Mepham (groin) is major doubt.


Banbury Utd (v Redditch Utd, home): from Harding, Awadh, Taylor, Nash, Wise, Shamsi, Hawtin, Henderson, Johnson, Kaziboni, Rasulo, Hottor, Diggin, Odhiambo, Whitehead, Heapy.

Kidlington (v North Leigh, away): Warrell, Castle, Quainton, Carbon, Bernasconi, Franklin, Martin, Gabbidon, Willoughby, Osborne-Ricketts, Benjamin, Coyle, Tooke, Browne, Odhiambo, Williams, Stanbridge, Cowlishaw, Thorne.

North Leigh (v Kidlington, home): from Cavanagh, Ngathe, Gunn, A Grant, Peart, R James, H Grant, Linford-Pill, Alabi, Landers, Seacole, D James, Martei, Pin, Saunders, Singh.

Didcot Tn (v Bedford Tn, away): from Bedwell, Barder, Carnell, Learoyd, Thomas, McNish, Humphries, M Williams, Taverner, Gardner, Dennis, Hackett, Hayden, L Williams.

Thame Utd (v Peterborough Sports, home): from Hill, Lynn, Essex, Tutton, Tack, L Goss, Sturgess, West, Peake-Pijnen, Ashworth, Jewell, Martin, Evans, Murray, Gledhill.