Tuesday night saw Buckden travel across the water to wannabe rivals Offord Utd in a closely contested spiky game which saw our valiant heroes emerge victorious. As with most evening kick offs the team had little time to change and warm up, added into the mix was Offords lack of running water or electricity in the changing facilities which certainly dampened spirits and elongated the usual process.
The team talk was brief but the now unbetaen solo manager, Jack Goodger, was keen to emphasise the fact that although there were 2 leagues separating the teams this would be no walk over (see Cambourne) and the team would have to stick to their passing principles to come away with any kind of result.
Almost 5 minutes into the game and with both teams settling in the defence was caught cold and the Offord striker was able to take posession and play a decent pull back for his strike partner to lift over Liam Dawson in the Buckden goal. A rude awakening for the team and another reminder that a slow start can lose a game before it's even begun. Buckden took the goal on the chin and started to play a good passing game in their own half looking to build play, however once in the final 3rd it seemed they were determined to look too long too quickly and were playng into the Offord defences hands. Around 10 minutes after Offord's opener, Buckden had a corner which was cleared and then recycled well back out to Luke Fennell who whipped a glorious cross into the 6 yard box begging to be attacked, fortunately for the team Adam Westbury was still lurking and dove at the cross to give Buckden a much deserved equaliser.
The next 15-20 mins was a scrappy affair with the Offord team looking to nulify the Buckden passing game by booting them with every opportunity, however good link up play between Darren Scutt and Josh Smith found the skipper on the edge of the 18 yd box where he took advantage of the space given to him, closed his eyes and swung his left at the ball. Luckily for the team the ball found it's way into the top left hand corner rocketing off the post.
Advantage Buckden, but within minutes of taking the lead, naivety crept into the back line and trying to play out under pressure resulted in a throw to Offord which found it's way to the centre midfielder that struck a double deflected equaliser. There was a few more niggling challenges with the Offord centre half adamant to prove to the crowd that he was the hardest man that side of the level crossing, Jack Bramley was on hand though to show him he wasnt by......not doing a lot really.
Half time and our well respected coach/manager/target man calmed the group down and warned them that playing scrappy, route one, bully football would not win the game and that the only option we had was to keep playing football in and around their 18 yard box.
With the introduction of Jon Love and Grant Draper, the second half was a tale of Buckden chances created with Offord looking to punt the ball up the pitch any chance they got. The defence that was now working in harmony dealt with these forays into their terrritory well and several chances fell in the box to Graeme Marks, Jack Bramley, Darren Scutt along with a left foot rocket from Jon Love. As the last 15 minutes approached Josh Smith went in on the Offord keeper for a 50-50 challenge which saw the keeper come off worse and have to be replaced, Buckden continued to push and probe and seemed to be lacking the cutting edge that they had shown Saturday.
Cometh the man, cometh the hour though and with minutes left and the light quickly fading Graeme Marks picked the ball up on the edge of the 18 yd box shifted the ball onto his left foot and found the bottom corner securing the game, much to the disappoint of Offords hardest man.
A battle won and finally an opportunity to grind out a result during a pretty tame preseason.