Buckingham Athletic kicked off the new campaign with an entertaining 3-3 at home to newly-promoted Broadfields United at the weekend.
On a hot summer’s day, Athletic came flying out of the traps and, on only four minutes, a ball down the left flank was flicked on by Tom Marshall, instantly cushioned by Matt Cruse, back into Marshall’s path for him to pick out Paul Dearlove, who swivelled while unleashing a flashing volley across and over the visiting goalkeeper’s head, into the opposite top corner.
It was a spectacular start to the season, however the visitors remained unfazed and came fighting back through a slick passing move that saw them get back on level terms.
Athletic responded instantly, though, when a driving run from Marshall took him into the penalty area, where he cut the ball back for Cruse to apply a cool finish and put the hosts back ahead.
Six minutes later, a flowing move by Broadfields resulted in the ball being pulled back to an onrushing forward, but before he could shoot, Dearlove appeared from his left to deny a shot on goal.
Athletic’s lead looked vulnerable and Broadfields then had the perfect opportunity to make it 2-2 when Nick Bennion’s clumsy challenge in the box gave away a penalty, however the spot-kick was saved by home keeper Jake Butler.
That maintained the home side’s lead through to half-time and they then increased their advantage on 75 minutes when good interplay between Cruse and Dearlove culminated with Simon King firing home their third of the day.
That should have been enough to secure three points, but Broadfields hauled themselves back into the game when Athletic failed to deal with an innocuous long ball and the away striker finished off to set up a nervy finish.
It seemed the home side would hang on to the points, but in the 94th minute, another clumsy challenge in the box resulted in a second penalty for the visitors and this time they made no mistake to snatch a share of the spoils.
Buckingham also played on Wednesday when Neil King’s late goal wasn’t enough to prevent them from going down to a 2-1 defeat at Crawley Green.
Athletic host Woodford Town this weekend.