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Saturday 5th November 2011 ko 1.30pm

United Counties League Cup 1st Round


PETERBOROUGH NORTHERN STAR 3 (Staffieri 31 61 Medwynter 57)

Att 51 (h/c)

Entry & Programme £4

Tea 60p

In 1997 Buckingham Town were playing Southern League football at their home, Ford Meadow, in the heart of the pretty Buckinghamshire Town. I saw them a few years later, playing in the UCL Premier, and loved their old stand with railway sleepers as a terrace to bolt the seats to. When a subsituted player used the showers the spectators kept warm through the steam creeping through the gaps in the sleepers!

All of that has gone, Town were evicted during the summer by landlords hell-bent on building houses on land that routinely floods, and the club are now in UCL Division 1,  based at the Winslow Centre, around 7 miles from Buckingham. The Winslow Centre is an adult learning facility, and is only a few hundred yards across the A413 from Spartan South Midlands League side Winslow United. Fittingly the two sides met in this season’s FA Vase Town winning 5-2. The club are making the best of a bad situation, as there’s no cover, no rail, and the only sense of the ground being enclosed is the perimeter of the entire facilty. The coffee room of the Teaching Block is used as a cafe, very efficiently, and you get the impression its Mung Bean stew on the menu on Monday to Friday, and Burgers and Hot Dogs on a Saturday.

There’s plenty of talk about a return to Buckingham, the local plan dictates that if more houses are to be built in the area then more leisure facilities would have to be built, and a ground on the edge of town a preferred option. Less likely is a return to Ford Meadow, now sadly overgrown. Nothing seems concrete, apart from the fact that Town have a year’s agreement to play at the Centre, with an option for a further season. Longer term, a groundshare seems more likely than anything else. There’s no lack of helpers, or enthusiasm, but in this part of the world the lack of ground is a massive barrier to their survival, let alone progress.

This game looked for all the world to be a massive mis-match, a good Premier Division side visited a struggling Divsion One team. Its just didn’t work out like that, at least not for an hour. PNS are a team that keeps things tight, and never looked like running away with the tie, and Town worked hard to stay with them, but didn’t look like troubling the visitors’ defence. Once the second goal went in, then it was obvious the tie was over as a spectacle. However one feels there are bigger things for Buckingham Town to worry about, I wish them well.