After a heavy nights rain the lads turned up for the match against Buckden with a degree of concern about whether the game would be on. However the pitch played brilliantly and the rain just gave an extra zip to the surface.
The Hemingford's had a strong 13 and we started confidently passing fluently all over the park.
However, after the sustained pressure in the early exchanges we seemed to relax a little and our pressing left a little to be desired. That said, with around 15 minutes on the clock a good break saw Chris Parker clip an exquisite ball into the box from the left. Sedge darted in front of the defender and leapt to guide a glancing header off the inside of the post. 1-0.
Some of our play was good but too frequently our final ball was lacking and our opponents were coming increasingly into the game. They were a stronger and fitter Buckden unit than we have seen for some time and they were causing us problems. Despite some excellent, committed and strong defending from Kevin Hurst we had to rely on some good saves from Kieran in goal to keep the opponents at bay. However, we were undone before half time as a quick break forward saw their powerful left winger swerve a cross in a wayward direction but unfortunately wrong footed everyone it flew into the net.
Again we had spells of quality. Chris Keeble challenged athletically for a header (despite suffering from a bad back) making a great connection that surprised the Buckden defence. The pace on the header was such that it left Howard in space, he chested it into his path and guided a cool finish low into the side netting for a quality goal and a 2-1 lead. The keeper had no chance with either of our goals.
It was a tight game and we kept the same 11 until half time. We were leading but we had never really hit top gear which was also a credit to the work-rate and endeavour of our opponents.
The second half was a good physical encounter that ebbed and flowed throughout. Gav, Howard, Kev Anderson and Sedge all had efforts on goal but the keeper was equal to everything on target. At the other end, we were caught flat footed on a number of occasions with their forwards 1 on 1 with Kieran. It looked like they were destined to score on at least 3 separate occasions but every time Kieren stayed strong and upright and he managed to keep them at bay with a string of strong and agile saves.
There were periods when the game threatened to boil over with their stocky winger putting his weight about. He was their most dangerous player in many senses and Simon, Nigel and eventually Howard may all have a few knocks to show for it. That said, our lads were undaunted and the referee had a good game and kept the match flowing. Simon was his usual effervescent self, working hard and passing with tempo, Roy and Fraser both reacted quickly and used the ball sensibly and Daz competed wholeheartedly for the second half. Nigel swept up well as usual, so everyone played their part albeit we did not really hit the heights of the previous weeks.
The game finished 2-1 and we extended our winning streak to 5 Games out of 5 this season. It was by no means our best win of the season but sometimes you have to win ugly!
Special mention to Gavin and his family who provided us all with a splendid post-match lunch.