Buckingham Athletic – 1
Risborough Rangers – 1
Buckingham Athletic were made to pay the penalty twice on Tuesday evening at a wet & misty Stratford Fields; first when Chris Stapleton saw an early spot kick saved by Rangers keeper Jack Brooker, and then late on conceding the third penalty of the game to allow their guests to draw level in this South Midlands Division One contest. Credit to both sides for trying to play football on the boggy surface, but they majority of shots at goal were long range efforts that never really troubled Brooker or his Athletic counterpart Nick Bennion. Risborough piled on some late pressure after drawing level, however the home side stood strong to earn their fourth point in as many days.
Rangers’ Martin Griggs had the first sight of goal on seven minutes, trying his luck from twenty yards with a curling shot that was never angling back in enough, and ninety seconds later the home side were awarded the first penalty of the game when a high ball into the Risborough box saw Matt Cruse fighting for the ball and to the surprise of most on the pitch the whistle sounded, and the hosts had a chance to take the lead.
However, Brooker was having none of it saving well from Stapleton, and recovered well to be in position to block the strikers follow up shot. Griggs then tried again from outside the box but Bennion was more than happy to watch the ball sail wide of his right-hand post, before Ben Acquaye attacked the Risborough defence cutting in from the right, his shot taking a huge deflection off a defender which allowed Brooker to get down and smoother at his near post.
Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu then tried to force his way through the sea of red defenders along the eighteen yard line, the loose ball sat up for Cruse but his snap shot was high over the bar, and at the other end Ollie Lynch tried a looping shot that again easily cleared the Athletic crossbar. Cruse had a run down the left channel, cutting into the box his shot was straight at Brooker, before a cross into the Rangers area saw Marcus Wylie go to clear but instead just stun the ball dead, Cruse was on it in a flash but drove high over the top. H/T: 0-0
Wylie had the first real chance of the second half forcing Bennion to meet the ball two-fisted at his near post to punch away, before a free kick to Athletic was blazed high into the dark skies by Ryan Marsden. Rangers then did find the back of the net on sixty-six minutes but a raised flag from the assistant referee saw the deadlock remain unbroken.
Risborough won a free kick right on the corner of the Buckingham area, but skipper Joel Read pulled his shot wide of the near post; then with fourteen minutes left a ball knocked up for Cruse to chase down saw him shoulder to shoulder with a red defender and as they tussled into the area Cruse went over and the referee blew his whistle, much to the derision of the visiting team & support.
Cruse picked himself up and had a minute or so to wait whilst the referee spoke to several players to confirm his decision, none of which put off the striker in his second game back after re-joining from local rivals Winslow United, as he coolly slotted into the corner to give his team the lead.
The lead lasted just three minutes as a high ball inside the Athletic box saw a nudge in the back and the whistle sound for the third penalty of the game. Griggs made no mistake from the spot, and this was the platform for some serious Risborough pressure for the remainder.
A ball across midfield saw Ash Yearwood strike first time but he could only screw away from goal, before a Bennion goal kick was headed straight back towards Rangers substitute Jake Bradshaw who tried to curl across goal and into the top corner but with no bend at all the ball sailed wide. Despite the pressure, Buckingham stood strong until the final whistle. F/T: 1-1
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After the match Sports Shots spoke to Buckingham coach Kit Bamber:
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