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McDonagh looking to ignite Banbury’s dreams in replay

By Charlie Russell

With a number of financial problems sending Farnborough to the depths of the Non-League ladder in recent years, the Yellows are hoping to restore former glory with the aid of the FA Trophy and its prize fund.

Ten years after Boro went into administration and were deducted ten points, the Hampshire based side won the Southern Football League Division One Central play-off final beating Barton Rovers 2–0 to earn promotion back to level seven last season.

Boro haven’t had an issue with their attacking force scoring plenty this season. However, as shown in Saturday’s 3-3 draw, the Yellows struggle at the back, conceding far too many goals.

On Tuesday, Farnborough travel to Banbury United in a FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round replay.

United also play at level seven in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier and started their season with a magnificent run of going five games unbeaten.

However, since September the Puritans have had a mixed run of form with just three league wins from a possible 11.

Conor McDonagh will be a Banbury player to watch out for this evening, having come through Oxford United’s youth ranks before moving onto Oxford City and Ossett Albion amongst others.

McDonagh scored twice in the first FA Trophy fixture on Saturday and will be keen to add more to his tally of nine goals this season.

The inform striker spoke exclusively to Non-League reporter Charlie Russell, saying: “It’s big for us and the club both financially and good to get away from the league. We want to do well in it and get all the way.

“It would be nice to play at one of the top Non-Leagues sides if we are successful.

“The cup has helped because sometimes it’s good to get away from the league but we haven’t had the most ideal run of form recently but it’s a long season and we’re confident we can put it right.”

Discussing tonight’s game and how McDonagh plans to go about things, he said: “I’m not going to treat it any differently and just play my normal game.

“They’re going to be wary from crosses which is where we’re strong, so hopefully they’ll concentrate more at defending those from Tommy [Winters] who assisted all three goals.”

The former Oxford United man finished by discussing the senior members in the squad: “The older lads are good talkers on the pitch especially the likes of Pondy [Darren Pond], Winters [Tom Winters] and Jeff [Jefferson Louis] who have played Non-League for years and their discipline has helped the young lads.

“It helps with decision making more than anything, knowing not to take chances but be confident in your own ability.”

Whoever wins the replay will face Hartley Wintney in the FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round on 25 November as well as receiving £4000 from the FA’s prize fund.

  • Farnborough’s best FA Trophy performances have come in 1991/92 and 2002/03 Quarter-finals.
  • Banbury United have never got past the third round of the FA Trophy.
  • Former Chelsea star, Kevin Wilson started his career with Banbury before being sold to Derby County for a club record (received) fee of £20,000.
  • Viral Non-League star, Bradley Bubb had a prolific spell with Farnborough between 2009 and 2011 which eventually earned him a move to Belgian side, Royal Antwerp following a brief spell with Aldershot Town.
  • Banbury’s record attendance was set in 1948 when 7,160 turned up to see Banbury lose to Oxford City in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.

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