Buckingham score six but Jones still wants improvement

Kirsty Freshwater. Picture: Jake McNulty
Kirsty Freshwater. Picture: Jake McNulty

Zak Jones was delighted by the manner in which his side bounced back to form as they hammered Exe 6-1 to keep in touch with the early pace-setters in the Conference West.

Buckingham started well but the visitors, full of confidence following last week’s win over Swansea, gave as good as they got in the opening exchanges.

However, the hosts gradually got into the ascendency and it was a fantastic individual goal from vice captain Alex Naughalty that opened the scoring on 19 minutes; some fine skill took her past two defenders before she unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the D, high into the net.

Just a minute later it was 2-0 when new recruit Storm Sunderland, playing only her third game for the club, tapped home on the far post following a fine move down the left side.

She claimed her second just five minutes later when first to pounce on a rebound following Buckingham’s second penalty corner before Abbie Brant produced a fine diving finish to make it 4-0.

Buckingham created more opportunities to extend their lead further but it was the visitors who scored next from a penalty corner right on the stroke of half-time following some sloppy defending.

The hosts then started the second half poorly and conceded a corner in opening 30 seconds but the defence stood firm as Exe battled hard to try and get back into the match.

The game became a rather scrappy affair for a period and it was not until the final quarter that Buckingham finally broke their resistance.

Having worked hard to regain their dominance, it was player of the match Naughalty who scored her second with a rasping drive from Buckingham’s sixth penalty corner with 11 minutes remaining before captain Kitty Higgins put the icing on the cake by deflecting the ball into the net.

Jones said: “It was really pleasing to get back to winning ways and to do so, so emphatically against a strong side.

“We played really well in patches but there is still room for improvement as it was a little inconsistent at times. We gave away too many penalty corners and were not as clinical as we could have been.

“However, given where we have been with injuries and unavailability in the first few weeks, I’m really pleased with the progress and our league position – just three points behind the leaders.

“This week will be another huge test for this young squad as were are away at Gloucester on Saturday, which is always a tough place to go and then away at Sevenoaks, who are flying high in the East Conference, in the cup on Sunday.”