Athletic strike late to sink Robins in cup semi-final

Max Risby's penalty had given the Robins a lead over Athletic during the first leg
Max Risby's penalty had given the Robins a lead over Athletic during the first leg

Dave O’Dell’s 87th minute penalty sent Buckingham Athletic through to the final of the Buckingham Charity Cup with a 4-3 aggregate win over Buckingham Town.

Leading 3-2 from the first leg, Athletic went behind to a Dom Lawless strike two minutes into the second half, but O’Dell kept his composure to slot home a late penalty and send Athletic through to face Southern League Premier outfit Banbury United in the final on Bank Holiday Monday at Stratford Fields at 3pm.

The game was far from a classic as a swirling wind and bumpy pitch made for tricky conditions and although the Robins dominated possession, neither side were able to create any clear-cut chances in a goalless first half.

That all changed within minutes of the restart, however, as a Buckingham Town corner was headed down and fell to Lawless, who fired in from close-range to put the hosts ahead.

With the aggregate scores now level, Athletic manager Damian Wiffin made a couple of changes with the introduction of the Hooper twins and their pace changed the game as the visitors increased the pressure on the Town goal before Josh Hooper was brought down in the area and O’Dell calmly slotted in the penalty.

In SSML Division One, meanwhile, Buckingham Athletic were beaten 2-0 by Crawley Green on Tuesday evening to remain 13th ahead of their final game of the season at home to Kentish Town tomorrow, Saturday, while the Robins have finished 11th in UCL Division One.

Buckingham Town Football Club have also confirmed they have signed a lease to play at Manor Fields in Bletchley for the next 10 years.

The club’s secretary, Darren Seaton, said: “Securing the club’s future has been the deciding factor in this decision.

“Both the ChromaSport & Trophies League and the FA have monitored our situation closely and been supportive.

“With no other options for us we could not afford to not secure a ground for the foreseeable future and Manor Fields has worked very well for us. We have a very good relationship here.”