Buckingham 2 Beeston 1
By Zak Jones
Buckingham's Unbeaten Run Comes To An End
Buckingham welcomed Beeston to Stowe on Sunday, in what they knew would be a tough fixture, especially given the Premier League newcomers results so far this season. Buckingham started really well playing with great intent, tempo and purpose. They created a couple of early chances in the opening ten minutes but could not convert and for the second successive week, were very unfortunate not to be awarded an early penalty stoke. This time when Katrina Nicholson was upended in the D. However, having had the better of the opening quarter of the match, Buckingham found themselves 1-0 down mid-way through the half when the visitors scored from their first meaningful opportunity, following some soft defending. The home side refused to be put off by this set back and continued to enjoy the better of the next ten minutes. A period in which another couple of half chances came and went. It was some fantastic play by Buckingham’s 15 year old, England Junior International, Millie Holme that led to the equaliser. In a Player of the Match performance, it was her fantastic run and cross that resulted in Wales International Phoebe Richards superbly deflecting the ball high into the net, to leave the scores level at 1-1 with twenty-six minutes played. The remainder of the half was a little frenetic and it was the visitors who took full advantage of a defensive error with two minutes to go to the break, scrambling the ball home from close range for a 2-1 lead.
Buckingham regrouped at half time and came out firing on all cylinders. Almost immediately after the restart, Tash James went through one-on-one but her shot was superbly saved by the visitors Great Britain and Scotland international goalkeeper, Nicki Cochrane. Buckingham were continuing to create chances. First, Zoe Shipperley fired a penalty corners strike just wide of the target and moments later it was Cochrane again who somehow denied Maddy Newlyn, getting a toe to the ball to send it crashing against the crossbar to safety. Wales international Eloise Laity had another good opportunity a few minutes later as Buckingham continued to dominate both territory and possession. Despite this and a number of other chances, the home side lacked that bit of control in the D and when James came close once again , sending her deflection flashing over the bar with two minutes remaining, Buckingham knew it wasn't to be their day as they tasted defeat for the first time this season. The result sees Buckingham drop from third to fifth in the standings but they remain firmly in the hunt for a top four finish, only two points behind second placed Holcombe.
Sunday's result was pretty frustrating but despite the scoreline, strangely I felt it was actually probably our best performance of the season so far. From the off, we played with a real intensity on defence and some very good tempo and movement on attack. We had over three times as many D penetrations as our opposition and created more opportunities but we didn't take them. All credit to Beeston, they defended superbly, their goalkeeper made a couple of fantastic saves and they were far more clinical than us with their chances when they came. Whilst it was disappointing, there is some really good learning for us, as a group. We need to play with more control in the final third. If we can do that, it will allow us to execute better in those crucial areas of the pitch. We will be putting the lessons learned into practice in week, whilst hoping for the right response in our next fixture, which is a tough away trip to Canterbury.