Buckingham Town 1 Bugbrooke St Michaels 3

Monday 26th December 2011
Buckingham Town 1 Bugbrooke St Michaels 3
ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Division 1
At: Winslow Centre, Park Road, Winslow
Kick-off: 2-00 pm
Admission: £3; Programme: £1 (32 pages)
Weather: cloudy, dry
Attendance: 60 (headcount)
Duration: first-half: 46:34; second-half: 48:26

Many of the great and the good of the groundhopping world were out in force for what could well be Buckingham Town’s penultimate game at temporary Winslow Centre home. Mick Burt and Bill Berry were amongst those who saw title-chasing visitors Bugbrooke end Buckingham’s unbeaten home league record with a deserved 3-1 victory.

Following this coming Saturday’s game against Wootton Blue Cross, it is uncertain were Buckingham will be playing home games in 2012. I don't personally know what will happen so, for me like the hoards, it was worthwhile watching a game at the Winslow Centre while we could, especially as it could be combined with a shopping trip to Milton Keynes for the rest of the family!

At the end of last season, which Buckingham finished second-from-bottom in the Division 1 table, the Robins were evicted from the long-standing Ford Meadow ground and found a new home in nearby Winslow. The ground at the Winslow Centre is somewhat basic – sloping, roped off on three sides with no cover or hand standing – but sufficient to keep them in the United Counties League.

Programmes were on sale from a table adjacent to the car park and must say it was packed with articles, views and statistics.

Visitors Bugbrooke St Michaels (31 points from 12 games) have had a great season so far and went into this Bank Holiday fixture in second place, five points behind leaders Harborough Town with three games in hand. They lost their last game nine days ago to end their unbeaten start to the league season. With only 10 league games played so far, Buckingham Town (11th position in the 17-team division with 16 points) may well be in a false position, especially with an unbeaten home record and just two defeats away from home.

Bugbrooke (in blue and yellow halved shirts, blue shorts and socks) got this Bank Holiday derby underway attacking the car park end.

Through Buckingham (in all red) has the first attempt on target – a free-kick by Cory Lee punched clear by keeper Antonio Aguilar-Rohan – it was a lively Bugbrooke side that dominated the first half. Around the 10 minute mark, Ashley Bradshaw forced a decent block out of Robins’ keeper Mike Bell and Aden Redmond sent a right-foot shot flashing past the left-hand post. Damon Herbert then found Nick Worley who hit a rising angled diagonal shot not too far wide of the far top-left corner.

As I walked around the pitch, I was good to catch up with Martin Wray of ‘Football Grounds in Focus’ fame.

It was no surprise that Bugbrooke took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute. Herbert again found Worley with a diagonal ball to the right but this the striker fired home a low shot with just Bell to beat for his 14th league goal of the season (a bit blurred right). The visitors continued to create chances and Redmond volleyed over the bar.

Buckingham almost equalised in the 40th minute. Kyle Stimson got passed Nathan Lacey as he cut in from the left and found Rob Bannister who saw a shot blocked on the line. Appeals for a penalty were waived away by the referee.

The second half began with rain clouds continuing to gather above and Buckingham, now attacking the car park end, were urged to get going “straight from the off”.

However, Bugbrooke continued to impress and doubled their lead four minutes after the restart. Michael Parkes delivered a free-kick into the area which was partially cleared and Ashley Bradshaw smashed a shot home into the roof of the net.

Now two goals down, Buckingham looked to get a goal back as they tried to preserve their unbeaten league record at the Winslow Centre. Paul Hull dribbled from half-way to the edge of the Bugbrooke area but a defender got in a clearance at the expense of a corner. Another saving tackle by Herbert prevented Stimpson from getting a clear shot on the hour mark and captain Chris Robson volleyed over the visitors bar.

Eventually, after Riley gave his teammates some vocal encouragement, Bannister reduced the deficit in the 66th minute. Stimpson crossed low from the left and Riley let the ball continue for recent signing Bannister to slot home his third goal in two games.

From the restart, Bugbrooke quickly got forward and, from Chris Davies’ pass, Worley forced a save out of Bell who pounced on the resulting loose ball.

“Do we want this or what? Get it going,” shouted a concerned Bradshaw to his teammates, now with just a single goal advantage.

Bugbrooke should have settled the game in their favour in the 84th minute. Davies hit a measured throughball into the path of Redmond on the left who poked the ball past the advancing Bell only to see it narrowly miss the far corner of the net.

However, the miss didn’t matter as Bugbrooke made sure of the points a minute later with a vital third goal. Substitute Lance Allen, on the right, sent a rising right-foot shot into the roof of the net.

Buckingham weren’t done and Aguilar-Rohan needed to be alert to tip over a long-range shot from Stimpson.

With leaders Harborough not playing, Bugbrooke closed the gap to just two points with two games in hand and a superior goal difference. Buckingham slipped one place to 12th though the two teams immediately above them in the table have played five games more.

The whole afternoon was a pleasure especially as it remained dry despite the dark clouds overhead. It was good to meet up with old friends and the game wasn’t bad either.

My previous visit to see Buckingham Town play at Ford Meadow was on Tuesday 6th September 1994, a 1-0 win for visitors King’s Lynn in the Beazer Homes [Southern] League Midland Division, attendance 135.

Buckingham Town (red/red/red): 1. Mike Bell, 2. Daley Cross, 3. Daryl Phillips, 4. Pat Diamond, 5. Mark Gale, 6. Chris Robson (capt), 7. Nick Bines, 8. Cory Lee, 9. Rob Bannister, 10. Kyle Stimpson, 11. Paul Hull. Subs: 12. Ieuan Riley (for Phillips, ht), 14. Chris Bamber (not used), 15. Graham Sands (for Lee, 80).

Bugbrooke St Michaels (blue and yellow halves / blue / blue): 1. Antonio Aguilar-Rohan, 2. Daniel Barnes, 3. Damon Herbert, 4. Michael Parkes, 5. Nick Ling, 6. Nathan Lacey, 7. Ben Foster (capt), 16. Chris Davies, 9. Aden Redmond, 10. Nick Worley, 11. Ashley Bradshaw. Subs: 12. Lance Allen (for Bradshaw, 70), 14. Ryan Dufty (for Worley, 80), 15. Damon Black (for Foster, 70).

Referee: G. Gurney.
Assistants: M. York and J. Fowler.

0-1 Nick Worley (23)
0-2 Ashley Bradshaw (49)
1-2 Rob Bannister (66)
1-3 Lance Allen (85)

Buckingham: none
Bugbrooke: none