Buckingham Ladies first team made the perfect start to their play-off campaign as their push for promotion to the Premier Division began with a 2-1 win against Harleston Magpies.
Up against the Conference East champions, Buckingham started the game brightly and in confident mood – creating an early chance in the first minute that was wasted.
Harleston responded with their own period of possession but Buckingham held firm before going on to dominate the first half.
They created a number of chances and had three penalty corners in quick succession but were unable to convert as Harleston defended resolutely, deep inside their own half in a goalless first half.
The second period began in the same manner – with Buckingham dominating both possession and territory before finally taking a deserved lead seven minutes into the half when Kitty Higgins neatly deflected Sam Sandham’s cross into the net.
Buckingham were now in the ascendency and Jo Ellis extended the lead seven minutes late from another penalty corner.
Buckingham had several further opportunities to increase the lead further but they failed to capitalise and then a slack three-minute spell from the hosts gifted the Magpies two penalty corners, which – though Anna Searle saved the first attempt – resulted in a goal that halved the deficit.
Higgins came close to restoring the lead as Buckingham responded while the Harleston goalkeeper was forced into several good saves to keep the Conference West champions at bay.
Chances continued to be wasted but, despite being reduced to 10 players, Buckingham comfortably saw out the remainder of the of the game to secure a vital three points in the push for promotion.
Buckingham now turn their attention to their rearranged National Cup semi-final this weekend against Bowden Hightown at Akeley Wood Senior school.
They then resume their play-off campaign next week against Conference North champions Beeston at Reading HC.