Wiffin encouraged by Athletic’s start to season

Josh Hooper
Josh Hooper

Buckingham Athletic manager Damien Wiffin feels his side have made a promising start to the season having taken five points from their opening four fixtures in SSML Division One.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Athletic travelled to Codicote and despite being forced into several changes, they came away with a creditable 2-2 draw.

The home side opened the scoring thanks to a well-worked goal, but Athletic quickly got back on level terms when Chris Davies guided his header from a free-kick inside the far post.

Just before the break, Codicote regained the lead in controversial fashion as the home striker rounded the visiting goalkeeper but remarkably managed to lift the ball on to the underside of the crossbar with the goal gaping and the Athletic defenders got back to clear, only for the linesman to signal that the ball had crossed the line.

Buckingham responded well in the second half and a well-worked move put through Luke Tavener but the young striker failed to convert before Athletic deservedly equalised when Josh Hooper popped up in the box and fired home.

The visitors went onto dominate the remainder of the game and it was Hooper who came closest to winning the game but his well-struck volley was tipped over. The result means Athletic are 11th in South Midlands League Division One.

Wiffin said: “We have been defeated only once so far and things are looking bright for the season. The holiday season always hits teams at this level and each game we have had to start with a different team and Saturday was no different with 10 squad players missing.

“Despite that, we put in a great performance and that really shows the strength in depth that we have this year.

“I personally feel that we could have won every game so far and even the one loss that we have had was tight right to the end, eventually losing 5-4.”

Assistant manager Ryan Wiffin is equally buoyed by the start Athletic have made, adding: “On paper it looked a very tough start but we have certainly shown that we can compete – we are creating chances and we are extremely happy having scored 12 goals this season.

“However, we know we have to tighten up at the back and that is where we need to work.”

With no game this Saturday, Athletic prepare themselves for a home game next Tuesday when they take on local rivals Stony Stratford at 7.45pm.

Buckingham Athletic Reserves kicked off the season with a 2-2 draw against 61 FC in a game that they dominated throughout but wasteful finishing proved costly. Danny Booden bagged both goals for Buckingham.