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Long Buckby AFC preview

Wingate will look to carry their blistering start to the league season across the competitions as they face a 150 mile round-trip to lower league opposition Long Buckby for their 1st Qualifying round of the FA Cup. Coming off the back of a composed, 6-0 victory midweek against struggling Needham Market, Wingate will once again look towards Rob Laney and Billy Healey for goals, a strike partnership made in Hanwell that has netted 10 in all competitions together since the start of the season. Laneys hat-trick and Healeys goal and assist in that game against Needham will give them a massive confidence boost after they drew a blank in Wingates solitary loss this season, a 1-0 home defeat against Tonbridge Angels at the weekend. Wingate have already had some cup success this season, a 1-0 home win against Harlow seeing them through to the second round of the Ryman cup. Club captain and central defender Marc Weatherstone - who scored the only goal of the game - also found the net midweek against Needham Market, but it is his commanding performances at the other end when partnered with either Brad Hewitt or Ahmet Rifat that have ensured Wingate have only conceded 6 goals in all competitions. Wingates opponents Long Buckby are currently three leagues below Wingate and Finchley, sitting 12th in the First Division of The ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League. Not a true reflection on their ability, they have only played three league games this season with a further three in hand. Having started the season in excellent fashion with a 6-2 victory against St Neots Saints in their opening fixture, their only loss of the season came against Wellingborough Whitworths sandwiched between FA cup victories against Harefield United and Daventry Town. It took two Buckby two attempts to progress through the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, their 2-2 away draw against Harefield forcing a home replay which they duly won 1-0. Having progressed past Harefield United - tough opposition from a higher league, Buckby were drawn against Daventry Town, a team two leagues above them. With seemingly little difficulty Buckby rode out a 2-1 home victory to set up this tie with Wingate and Finchley. Though he was not on the scoresheet, current top scorer Edward Kostuik was named man of the match and he will certainly be the one to watch when the Blues travel north on Saturday. Buckbys band of brothers in midfield Simon and Ricky Barby will make sure Wingate stay on their toes having scored 4 goals between them since the start of the season. Long Buckby are no pushovers, all three cup victories this season coming against teams from a higher league. Their latest, a 3-1 victory against Spelthorne Sports, came at the weekend in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase. Wingate will need to show Buckby a lot of respect when they step out on to the Station Road pitch on Saturday but if they can continue the form they have shown over the course of the season, they should be able to ensure a long but happy journey home. Match Preview by Andy Gerlis

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