Buckden travelled to March looking to continue their end of season run in with promotion still a possibility, with a bare 11 plus the manger on the bench it was a stretch squad for the visiting team with March having 5 (mouthy) subs.
The warm up gave Buckden their first taste of the March pitch and it proved an awful surface for the free flowing football that has been played in recent weeks, with bobbles, bad touches and puking it's fair to say it wasn't a vintage warm up by the visiting side.
The pre match team talk was full of instruction regarding the task that lay ahead and it was agreed that we had an opportunity to play football against a side that have been struggling in the league but would need to be better than we had been already and be prepared for a physical battle.
March came out of the blocks at 180mph and looked to hurry, bully and force Buckden into mistakes to gain a foothold in the game, the Buckden team managed the situation fantastically by standing toe to toe with the home side to show them that we would not be intimidated, once March realised that their game plan would not work Buckden could begin playing football and there were several passages of play where the ball was played around the March midfield leading to a few half chances. However, it took to around 20 minutes for the breakthrough with Dom Smith picking the ball up on the left and attacking the 3 man March defence, the right sided defender was beaten all ends up and his only option was to foul, conceeding a penalty. One which the home sides bench strongly disagreed with, Jack Bramly fresh from a brace the week before dispatched the spot kick just past the keepers legs and the momentum was with Buckden.
The away team management slung several verbal assaults into their own team, the ref and the lino regarding their situation in being 1 down and Buckden used this to continue to play football around them drawing them out of position to look for the 2nd goal. This came 10 minutes later from a passage of play that looked to have fallen apart in the March box, Chris Weitzel was the first to react to the break down and smashed the ball through a crowded box into the top corner. Buckden were now in full control of the tie and were constantly looking to add to their tally until the half.
The half time message from management was to keep working to the level that was set in the first half but to be aware of the March response, in honesty we knew that the game was about to get scrappier and dirtier to suit the March style of "football".
March started the 2nd half in exactly the same way as the first but unfortunately Buckden were not so keen to repeat ther performance and conceeded within the first 10 minutes to a scrappy shanked finish which may have come off a defender on its way in, the management was understandably upset at this and vocalised that the attitude and effort was not good enough.
March then drew Buckden in to play football on their terms, bypassing the midfield with scrappy long ball rubbish. With Buckden doing their best (although not that great) to stay in the game and were continually looking for Jack Bramley's pace as a get of jail free card and were unlucky perhaps to not get another goal or 2 from fouls commited by the opposition centere halves. The squad were aware of the threat of the home side from set pieces but seemed determined to conceed a number of free kicks on Marchs right flank, allowing too many crosses to come into the box, Oli Day was doing his best to punch and marshall the defence in clearances.
It was with 10 minutes to go that Buckden were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal, the gaffer was adament that this should be taken short as per the previous 4-5 free kicks to encourage play to build, especially as the defence was not comfortable with filling the box due to March's pressure. Jack (MotM) Bramley struck the ball against the wind from the left hand side of the goal with the ball arcing majesticaly to settle in the far top stantion. Easily topping the James Woo and Jack Goodger strike against Milton to top the goal of the season. An absolute boomer.
The game was dead and buried and March looked dejected but somehow managed to grab a consolation with 2 minutes remaining from a misplaced Oli Day punch that neither Dom Smith nor James Woo were that keen in heading off the line.
Buckden hung on to see the match out and it was unfortunate to see the March bench show a (continual) lack in class by refusing to shake hands with the Buckden bench.
A week off now before the last push of the season begins, well done chaps, well done.