The lads travelled away to Moulton for the final match of the season in bright sunshine with a strong 12 players including 3 from Buckden. Moulton were our first opponents of the season and we started the campaign with an impressive 5-2 victory. We knew or opponents would be out for revenge so we were prepared for a stern test and so it proved. After an undefeated 2019 to date we did not want to lose and throw this away in the last fixture of the season.
We started brightly and although the grass was long we were moving the ball well. We were getting into our opponents area regularly but try as we might, we just couldn't find the finishing touch. When out of the blue a long ball caught us napping and we were 1-0 down!
We did not panic though and before long a great bit of tenacious play from Scotty on the left, dispossessed two defenders out wide. With the ball at his feet, he punished the Keeper who had strayed out of position 1-1.
Again we began to get on top but could not make our dominance count. Then once again they caught us on the break and managed to get ahead 2-1 to them!
Fortunately, we were undeterred and before long Ray found some space in the box and slotted home a cool second to make it 2-2. We thought this was destined to be the catalyst to see us push on and get ahead. However, an unfortunate mix-up in our defence saw their nippy forward dart between us, to push the ball past Roy (who was stranded) and we were trailing again 3-2.
As the half neared its conclusion, so good play down the left slipped Ray goal-wards but he still had a lot to do with defenders trying to dispossess him. However, Ray out-muscled the full back, barged past a defender before unselfishly squaring to Howard to slot home 3-3 just before the stroke of half time. Game on!
We believed we could dominate the second half if we went about it properly but we knew it would not just happen for us and we also knew our opponents would be just as keen to finish the season with a victory.
There was no doubt we were on top and a crisp ball from Nigel was dummied by Two Touch on its way to Ray. This wrong-footed the defence completely. Ray took a perfect touch into his path and slotted past the keeper for his second and a 4-3 lead.
Surely we would close out the victory now. Unfortunately with Gav having to leave for a work commitment, we brought Kev Hurst back on (who had had a cooling off period after a row with the ref) but in doing so we lost our linesman! A speculative knock forward saw one of their forwards judged onside and he slotted past Roy who had been left stranded and isolated again. 4-4 and it was game on again and getting tense! The baldies in the team were all getting fraught – Roy, Ray, Simon and Kev had all had run-ins with the hairless ref – it must have been the heat on a warm day!
There was no doubt that the temperature was heating up as well as the atmosphere and a few tempers were getting frayed - not least the referee but fortunately everyone just about kept their emotions in check. However, with only minutes left, some more industrious and slick play (that overcame any animosity) managed to free Ray, who again out-muscled the defence with raw strength to slot home for his 3rd and our 5th! Moulton had battled really hard to push us all the way but this was clearly a massive disappointment for them and before long the ref blew for full-time. Thus, we recorded a well-deserved 5-4 victory that we had all really worked hard for.
The whole team had performed well : - Roy showed great handling deputising in Goal catching a number of lofted crosses. Nigel was enthusiastic as ever releasing himself to make some intelligent angles to receive the ball throughout. Kevin H and Gavin were solid and competitive and both Andy Jolly and Kevin from Buckden used the ball really well at the back. Sedge, Two Touch and Simon had worked hard to dominate the midfield and Scotty from Buckden was relentless in his efforts on the left, taking a number of heavy knocks for the cause. Howard was as nippy and skillful up front as ever and Ray's hat-trick had carried us forward to victory. All in all it was a really committed display from everyone involved that had protected our proud unbeaten record in 2019 and delivered another victory.
In retrospect we had created a few more good chances which we had failed to take but in truth this had made for and even more fiercely contested and determined performance.
It was a fitting crescendo to an excellent and enjoyable season. Kingy had done an amazing job organising everything faultlessly for another season and the lads had all been fine ambassadors for football, the Hemingfords and surrounding areas. Well done to everyone that pulled on a shirt or supported this year. But special thanks to Kingy from all of us and roll on next season...