Beeston 1 Buckingham 2
By Zak Jones
Buckingham Come Through Tough Encounter
On a blustery day in Nottingham, fifth placed Buckingham took on sixth placed Beeston in a crucial encounter. Buckingham started really poorly and were unable to find any of their usual tempo or flow in attack, with their constant turnovers continually putting them under pressure. Despite creating a couple of good opportunities on counter, it was the home side who dominated the opening exchanges and indeed the majority of the first half. Unsurprisingly, it was Beeston who deservedly took the lead in the twenty-fifth minute form a well woked penalty corner routine, their second of the match. Tash James was very unfortunate to be temporarily suspended shortly afterwards and Buckingham did well to weather another five minutes of pressure whilst down to ten players. Once restored to eleven, Buckingham finally began to find their feet and played a little better in the closing stages of the half but still considered themselves fortunate not to have been more goals down at the break.
Buckingham used the break well to re-focus and they at came out with much more purpose and intensity. However, it was the home side who had the first opportunity of the half but the shot was but saved by Wales International Ella Jackson in goal. With forty-three minutes gone Zoe Shipperley earned Buckingham's first penalty corner of the game and although the routine broke down, some good improvisation and quick passing resulted in Lottie Porter bringing the scores level. Buckingham were now in the ascendancy and created two very good chances but both times Liz George was denied by the home sides Great Britain and Scotland shot stopper. Beeston responded again but were once again denied by Jackson. Buckingham came very close to taking the lead on fifty-one minutes following a superb passing move but unfortunately James couldn't quite get the finishing touch on a cross that had beaten the goalkeeper. With the game flowing from end to end, it looked like Beeston had regained the lead after fifty-three minutes but the effort was ruled out for a back stick. As both sides went in search of the all important win, James was denied once again by a fantastic diving save. However, with twelve minutes remaining, James finally struck the winner, diving full length to steer the ball into and empty net following an outstanding length of the field team move, involving eleven passes and nine different players. It was a goal worthy of winning any match. Beeston threw everything at the visitors in the last ten minutes but Buckingham defended well and calmly controlled the closing stages of the game to take all three very hard earned points. With nearest rivals Clifton losing to Slough, fourth placed Buckingham have now opened up a three point lead in fourth place as the race for a top four finish hots up.
I was both happy and relieved with the result. We were very poor in the first half, we just couldn't get our passing game going and continually turned the ball over cheaply. Credit to Beeston as they put us under pressure and on another day the game could easily have been over as a contest at half time. However, once again the girls showed fantastic maturity, character and resilience to put our poor first half to bed and come out more like ourselves in the second half. The winning goal was also very pleasing. It was a superb example of teamwork, decision making and execution in the key moment and is something we've been working really hard on in training over the last few weeks. I was also delighted that we showed some real calmness and composure in the final minutes to manage, control and close out the game. This Saturday we welcome table toppers Holcombe to Stowe for what will be another massive game. Holcombe are a really strong side and the squad are very much looking forward to the challenge of playing the top side in the country.