Saturday saw arguably the season defining match against fellow promotion candidates Fordham. With just 4 points separating the teams at the start of the day, Buckden knew they had to come away with all 3 points if they wanted any serious breathing space between them and the rest of the chasing pack. Preparation for the match was questionable, 5 players turning up to training on Thursday drew some harsh words in the changing room before the match, which seemed to hit home, with the majority agreeing they needed to get their heads down for the remaining fixtures.
With captain Josh Smith and, contender for player of the season, Sam Underwood both out injured the team knew they had to be on top of their game. Unfortunately, off field antics prevented senior player Scutty and very senior player Lovey from taking part in the game. The team lined up with the familiar back 5, Shano Mac and Sledgy reintroduced to their central positions after their weekend on the sauce. Dom and Woo took up their usual wing positions and Alex, wearing the much coveted number 10 shirt, dropped in behind G Man.
Buckden started brightly, not letting Fordham have a second to think. The quick, fluid football Buckden are becoming known for was on show and it was almost embarrassing as Buckden were firmly camped in their patched up oppositions half. They were playing with freedom. Getting the ball down, into front men G Man and Alex and then out again to Woo Dog and Dom. Both flanks running rampant against 2 below par wing backs. Despite the dominance the score remained 0-0, mainly due to some commendable defending from the Fordham centre backs, but they could only hold out for so long. Dom Smith was let loose down the left wing by Noodles, who then unexpectedly hit a shot from the angle, forcing the keeper to tip it over the bar. From the resulting Shano Mac corner, Chris Dennis rose like a salmon and nodded to ball back across the keeper. Despite claims from the sideline that Westbury poked it home on the line, Chris was adamant it was his goal... The jury's still out. Chances came and went with Buckden knowing they needed to start taking them. Another corner was whipped in brilliantly by Shane, who's delivery was spot on throughout, and with the ball bouncing around inside the box Alex pounced and poked the ball home. 2-0 up and it's fair to say everyone was expecting this to be a rout. The 1st half petered out with a few mistimed tackles from Fordham as they failed to get a grip on Buckden's style of play.
The halftime team talk consisted of much of the same and Geordie decided to take the lead this time, meaning he had something unusually useful to say other than 'yeah what Jack said'. Absolutely bamboozled, the team trundled out for the second half wondering what just happened.
The game played out in the same way as the first half, with Buckden on top and pressing straight from the off. It wasn't long before Alex found himself in some space just inside the box and shot, the keeper made a save but was unable to get the ball under control and with that man of the match James Woo Tang Clan arrived and lifted it over the keeper. 3-0 and Buckden were in cruise control, but with 30 minutes left to play the lack of players turning up to training was evident. Fordham managed to find themselves pushing forward and putting Buckden under serious pressure. This was evident when Browny laid a ball into Dom and then tried to overlap the winger high up the field, only for the ball to be stolen. With the left back position vacated, Fordham took advantage and broke, pulling the ball back for one of the top scorers in the league to tuck away, although that was arguably the lads first touch all game, being marshalled superbly by the back 4 and holding 2. A commendable few saves by wanker of the team Oli Day kept Buckden's lead intact, although the over the top pantomime saves were slightly unnecessary, but you can forgive him for wanting something to do.
Despite some serious pressure for the last 20 minutes, Buckden managed to hold out and secure a vital win which now puts them 7 points clear of their nearest rivals. Huge performance and hopefully this is carried on through the coming weeks.