Silverstone is, of course, much better known for motor racing than football. The world-famous Silverstone Circuit is only a kilometre South of the village centre. Personally, I've never really got the bug for motor sports and, although it's close to home, I've never watched a race at the circuit (although I did run the half-marathon there a few years ago). The circuit has a capacity of 160,000, a little larger than Silverstone FC's Church Street home. I guess the thousands who flock to watch Formula 1 would think that my hobby of watching 22 blokes kick a ball around a damp field, is the stranger of the two.
Silverstone's ground is part of the Silverstone Recreational Association complex just to the North of the village. It's the home of the village cricket team, has a couple of tennis courts, a kid's play area and, of course, Silverstone FC. There's a good-sized car park adjacent to the main building which incorporates the changing rooms and the village hall. The village hall building is currently undergoing considerable renovation, although the main club room and toilets were still open.
The football pitch is located at the far end of the field, beyond the cricket square and wedged in between Silverstone Brook and open farmland. It may have been a chilly day, but the bright blue skies and sunshine made for a beautiful location for a football match.
There's not too much in the way of features around the ground. There are dugouts on the brook side of the ground but no spectator cover or seating areas, unless you include the bench, also on the brook side. The pitch is pretty well flat but, after recent weather, was wet in places and proved to be a difficult surface for the players.
Neither of these teams were in the Premier League last season. This is Padbury's first season back in the North Bucks League since the 2018-19 season when they finished 11th in Division Two. Silverstone came back up to the Premier League after winning the Intermediate League last season. That came after they had spent four seasons outside the top flight, since dropping out in 2019. Neither team have won the North Bucks Premier League in the past (although the historical records are incomplete, so maybe someone will tell me otherwise). A team from Silverstone has won the title. Back in 1961 Silverstone British Legion were champions. Padbury United (related to the current team?) have won the title twice in consecutive years, 1998 and 1999.
At the start of play Padbury were sitting just outside the top two, in fourth spot and only one point behind Great Linford in the promotion places. Silverstone were in the drop zone, having collected six points, three points adrift of safety. However, they had only played six games, one fewer than the team directly above them, Newport Pagnell Athletic, and four fewer than MK Wanderers in ninth, who were only there points ahead.
Many thanks to referee Gavin Smith for sharing the team sheets with me.
The teams had very contrasting preparations for the game. When I arrived Padbury were already out running through all sorts of drills and warm-ups. Silverstone appeared ten minutes before kick-off for their warm-up and team talk. However, once the game kicked off Padbury, giving a debut to a very nifty blue change it, were the ones who seemed under-prepared. Silverstone went at them straight from kick-off with the visitors struggling to get a grip on the game.
There minutes in, Silverstone were rewarded for their quick start. Some great work down the right led to a cross into the six-yard box where Drew Mitten was on hand to expertly apply a volleyed finish. 1-0
The goal was no more than the home side deserved but it was tempered somewhat by their goalkeeper, Tom Kennard, going down and delaying the restart. The keeper had gone down initially after seeming to slip when making a clearance. There was a long delay before he finally got to his feet and the game could restart, with Kennard obviously still not comfortable.
A few minutes later Padbury broke down their left. Kennard was quickly off his line to thwart the attack but clearly aggravated his injury in the process. It was not looking good but, with no substitute yet available (at least one player was en-route apparently), he had no choice but to try to continue. Clearly not mobile and certainly not in a position to get across his goal at all, Silverstone had no choice than to close ranks in an attempt to protect their stricken stopper.
Padbury, of course, smell blood and push forward looking for a quick equaliser. That really should have come their way in the 12th minute when, from a corner, Dan McAndrew, unmarked, headed over when he really should have hit the target.
Despite being at a disadvantage and needing to defend quite deep, Silverstone also showed that they could still pose a threat. Halfway through the first period the captain, Joe Carter was sent free on the right but, when a shot looked to be one, chose to square the ball and the opportunity was lost.
The change of goalkeeper was finally made when substitute Kierut Sidhu arrived. However, this did mean an outfield player taking over between the sticks. As I found out later, Tom Kennard had snapped a hip flexor. Best wishes to Tom for his recovery.
Silverstone were having to defend with everything they had, marshalled expertly by John Vint. There were a number of excellent interceptions and last ditch blocks that helped to keep Padbury at bay for well over half an hour. However, it couldn't last forever and, on 34 minutes, the visitors got back on level terms. A free-kick inside their own half was played short to Scott Brigginshaw. His ball towards the far post was contested by a group of players and, when the ball dropped, Tom Marshall was on hand to lash it home. 1-1.
Padbury went looking for the goal to take them in front and, three minutes from half-time, it arrived when a deep corner from the left was volleyed goalward by Dan Chittenden. In the ensuing scramble Jordan Tavener prodded the ball home to make it 1-2. There were numerous vocal calls for a handball from the home side but there referee was having none of it. Impossible to say from my vantage point with so many bodies in the box.
HT Silverstone 1 Padbury Village 2. I must admit that I found myself feeling for Silverstone at half-time. Starting the game with no substitutes available, taking the lead and then losing their goalkeeper, they had fought tooth and nail to stay to the game. The two late goals from Padbury were deserved on the balance of play but it did feel hard on Silverstone.
However, no manner of heroic defending could have staved off Padbury's third goal, after 51 minutes. Dale Butler collected the ball some 35 yards out, saw the keeper off his line, and fired an inch-perfect effort sailing into the net. A goal that required both excellent vision and plenty of ability. 1-3
Padbury were now piling on the pressure. A corner from the right wasn't cleared properly and only a brave defensive block prevented Marshall's volley from finding the net. Maybe that provided a little inspiration because, two minutes later a rare Silverstone attack saw Liam De'ath do well to round Jude Murphy in the Village goal only to see his effort, from a tight angle, headed away for a corner.
That came on 55 minutes and, two minutes later, as if to quash any thoughts of a comeback, Padbury increased their lead. A Luke McAndrew shot was again well blocked but this time the loose ball fell invitingly to Butler who made no mistake to make it 1-4.
Once again, just after the hour, Silverstone tried to rally. A free-kick played into the area was met by a looping header from Mitten which evaded both goalkeeper and defenders before nestling in the back of the net. 2-4. For a brief moment, Silverstone had their tails up and were looking for another goal when, once more, Padbury put them to the sword, killing off their hopes ruthlessly. Once again, no level of defending was stopping this one. If Butler thought he had already scored the goal of the game, he was wrong. Step forward Luke McAndrew who stepped onto a ball out on the right and hammered an absolute screamer across the goalkeeper into the top corner. 2-5.
That was the final nail in the coffin as far as Silverstone's resistance was concerned. It was now a case of trying to keep the score down as much as possible as Padbury continued to go for goals. Tavener flashed a ball across the box that no-one could get a touch to but, with seven minutes remaining, Dale Butler completed his hat-trick, turning sharply on the edge of the box and firing in off the inside of the post. 2-6. Thee minutes later Matt Exton almost got in on the act when his effort crashed against the underside of the bar and away to safety. However, there was to be a seventh. Right on the 90 minute mark another substitute, Danny Fasolo, was on the end of a flicked on corner to tap home and make it 2-7
FT Silverstone 2 Padbury Village 7. A comprehensive victory for Padbury after Silverstone shocked them early on. The home side, to be fair, never gave up despite the considerable odds stacking up against them. In the end, they were beaten by an utterly ruthless Padbury team that, once they got going, never let up.
The result sees Padbury jump up to third, still a point behind Great Linford who also won. Silverstone remain in the bottom two but are stil only there points shy of MK Wanderers who have played four more games, so no need to press the panic button just yet.
Next weekend Silverstone face a tricky looking test away at fifth placed Great Horwood. Padbury can do them a favour as they welcome MK Wanderers to the village. They have already won 1-0 at Kents Hill earlier in the seaosn, thanks to a goal from Dale Butler.
Silverstone: Kennard, Davis, Giles, Vint, Carter(c), White, De'ath, Leese, Shepherd, Mitten, Smith. Subs: Sidhu, O'Neil
Padbury Village: Murphy, Brigginshaw, L.McAndrew, Hickey, D.McAndrew, Heritage(c), Tavener, marshall, Chittenden, Barry, Butler. Subs: Saltzer, Bones, Vacher, Fasolo, Exton
Ground Number: 389