East Grinstead 2 Buckingham 0
By Zak Jones
Buckingham Slip Up In Race For Top 4
On Saturday Buckingham travelled to East Grinstead for a late 4pm push back. Buckingham started well and created a couple of half chances in the opening seven minutes but unfortunately could not capitalise on them. As was to be expected in a third verses fourth clash, it was a very evenly contested first half with very few clear-cut chances for either side. However, it was the home side who broke the deadlock after twenty minutes. They enjoyed a slice of good fortune, as the ball appeared to have been dangerously lifted into the D, but a whistle was not forthcoming and Olympic Gold Medallist medallist Sophie Bray pounced on the half opportunity to defelect the ball home.
Buckingham began the second half poorly and were probably a bit fortunate not to concede straight from the push back but they soon recovered and enjoyed much the better of both territory and possession for the remainder of the match. In the forty second minute of the game Buckingham won the first penalty corner of the match and although the routine initially broke down, Buckingham were awarded a penalty stroke for a foul on Zoe Shipperley. However, Lauren Thomas' spot fick was well saved and the home side maintained their slender lead. Maddy Newlyn had a good shot well saved from open play shortly afterwards and Buckingham spurned a golden opportunity to draw level after forty-five minutes when Phoebe Richard was clean through but could not execute on the final pass. Shortly afterwards a cheap turnover and sloppy defending gifted the home side their only other opportunity of the half. Once again the home side made no mistake and extended their lead to 2-0. Buckingham's response was immediate but Newlyn was denied twice in quick succession, the second time after some fine play by Liz George. Buckingham wasted another penalty corner opportunity after fifty-five minutes when the ball was miss injected. With ten minutes to go Buckingham earned their third penalty corner. This time the routine was slick but Shipperley's fierce strike that seem to be destined for the bottom corner was blocked by the runners foot. From the re-award Buckingham were somehow denied, once again on the goal line by the diving keeper. With the home side under constant pressure, Buckingham earned another penalty corner with five minutes to go but yet again, the routine faltered as the ball was deflected high over the bar. Buckingham continued to fight to get something from the game. With three minutes remaining, they created another fantastic chance with a slick passing move. However, the outstanding home goal keeper was out smartly to smother Eloise Laity's effort. The save resulted in Buckingham sixth penalty corner but once again, the execution was poor. That proved to be the last real opportunity as the game ended in a disappointing 2-0 loss.
"I was very frustrated with the performance and obviously the result. Whilst I could not fault the effort and commitment of the girls and also felt we created enough chances to have won the game. We missed a stroke, earned six penalty corners and were particularly unlucky for their first goal. We really only have ourselves to blame. Our ball handling was not consistent enough and once again, our detail in the attacking D and our execution on corners just wasn't good enough, especially in the crucial moments when it really mattered. However, we remain firmly in the hunt for a top four finish but will need to take the lessons on board from this game and act upon them in order to achieve that aim."