Langford's Forde Park ground is situated on the edge of Henlow village, just over a mile from Langford itself. There is a fairly large car park, certainly ample parking for a Step 6 side, accessed through gates with large red LFC lettering. All of the facilities, clubhouse, snack bar, toilets and players & officials areas are in a block adjacent to the car park, on the Langford Road side of the ground. There is a short walkway leading from the clubhouse to the playing surface. Alongside this walkway is a small hut that acts as the turnstile for entrance to the ground.There are two stands, both opposite the Langford Road side, one is a seated area, one a standing area. Between these stands are the dugouts.
I have to say that the pitch, especially given the recent weather, was looking in remarkably good condition. Great work from the groundskeeper(s).
Coming into the game, Buckingham were the happier of the two sides, sitting in ninth spot on 40 points. Langford were seven places and sixteen points lower. Of the two, it was the home side that were in greater need of the points. Athletic have no way of affecting the top spots but Langford, although 13 points clear of the bottom, needed a few more ins to be certain of safety.
That was until the 18th minute when Langford came within a couple of inches of opening the scoring with a shot from the edge of the box the pinged off the keeper's right hand post and went to safety.
A few minutes later Langford came quite close again. Once more it was an effort from distance but this time it flew narrowly wide.
Buckingham did manage to string a few passes together as the half progressed but were still not flowing and, as the referee blew for half-time, it was the home side who probably felt that they should have been on top, even though neither keeper had really had call to get their knees dirty.
HT Langford 0 Buckingham Athletic 0. The home side has been on top for most of the half. Athletic seeming to struggle to find any fluency in their passing.
On 53 minutes a quickly taken throw-in set Matt Cruse free on the left with a clear run into the box. His effort was parried by Ben Watson but substitute Michael Davison was first to react, rolling the ball into an empty net. 0-1
After the goal Athletic didn't quite resort to their first half performance but their levels certainly dropped from the initial ten minutes of the second period. Langford came back into the game and started to mount a couple of attacks themselves.Players from both sides seemed to be getting increasingly frustrated with the referees decisions which, I have to say, were odd at times.
On 79 minutes the Buckingham goalscorer, Davison, almost grabbed his second goal, climbing high to plant a header against the home side's bar. Home stopper, Watson may well have got a fingertip to it. If he did, then it was a very good save. So close to a second goal.
With just four minutes of normal time remaining we had a controversial red card for the Langford keeper, Watson. Coming to collect a ball at the edge of his area he juggled it and ended up handling outside the box. A clear free-kick flagged by the assistant. However, the referee pulled out a red card and dismissed the keeper. To me, it didn't look like it was a clear goal-scoring opportunity. There were other defenders close by and, even if the keeper hadn't handled it, the ball didn't look like it was going to fall to an Athletic striker. My understanding is that it has to be denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity to be deemed a red card.
Once the substitutions had been made and the unfortunate Watson had trudged off, the resulting free-kick was cleared and, soon afterwards, the referee blew for full-time.
FT Langford 0 Buckingham Athletic 1. An improved Swans performance in the second-half although, on the overall balance of play, a draw would have been a fairer result.
Langford (from): Watson, Brown, Edwards, Green, Lampley, Mboto, Pagett, Payne, Rome, Thomas, Wheeler. Subs: Craknell, Croucher, Fordham, Liversedge
Buckingham Athletic (from): Carter, Cruse, Dench, Hassell, Kelsey, King, Marsden, McAndrew, Olawale, Staley, Stapleton. Sunbs: Davison, Oye, Skelton
Ground Number: 151
Programme: Included in the entrance fee