AN INSPIRED double from Jared Lewington helped Buckland Athletic to a 5-1 win over Torpoint Athletic in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round on Saturday.
The Bucks showed a glimpse of the football their star-studded side is capable of as Storm Antoni blew through Homers Heath and created tough playing conditions. The result comes as a welcome turn in fortunes after a poor start to the season, including a defeat to the same opposition in the Western League just four days earlier.
Goals from Lewington (2), Sam Morcom, Ryan Bush and Sammy Stayt booked Buckland a spot in the Preliminary Round, where they will host the winner of the replay between Okehampton Argyle and Brixham.
'I am really pleased,’ said relieved Bucks boss Dan Hart.
'I love this club, I love the people and I just want to do good. I want to be at the best of my ability and all the boys to show their levels that they can reach, and today was a clear indicator that it wasn’t all an illusion; we have real ability here and we just need to put that together now on a consistent basis.’
Hart has set his side up with a back three throughout pre-season and the beginning of the competitive campaign but opted for a four-man defence this time around. The effect was instantaneous as Buckland raced into the lead after three minutes through Lewington, who latched on to a long ball forward and fought off the final defender to score.
'We can put certain things into the conversation about why we played better but for me it was about hunger and desire and actually just that higher technical level of looking after the football and making things happen,’ Hart said.
'Jared’s a classic example of that; when he’s at it, I don’t see anybody at this level matching him in terms of his ability to play people in and his ability to finish goals when he gets there, and his second goal is a really good example of that.
'We will continue to be pragmatic [regarding formations]. I’ve never been someone who is set in stone with a formation – we don’t get enough time at this level to work with players day-in, day-out and really firm-up a solid structure.
'We had a few players away and we wanted to play a back four to see how it looked, and the four that started did really well and so did the lads that came on.’
Buckland’s second came on 25 minutes when Sam Morcom, who was out of favour until his goal midweek, received a pass from Cieran Bridger and beat his man before tucking home a clever effort across goal.
'Hats off to [Cieran] Bridger,’ Hart said.
'He’s been away so far this season, comes back from holiday and gets home this morning from a cruise and puts in a really good display.
'He is a fantastic creator of goals – he got 20-plus assists last year. As a striker, you look to those players behind you to put you into those dangerous areas; Cieran is certainly one of them, and Teigan [Rosenquest] as a midfielder looked really dangerous at times today.’
Never one to keep quiet in front of goal, Bush got his just two minutes after the half-time interval. Torpoint defender James Forrest appeared to have the ball under control until a gust of wind prised it from his grasp, allowing Bush to pickpocket him of possession and slot home.
Lewington netted his second and Buckland’s fourth on the hour mark with the pick of the afternoon’s goals. Morcom and Callum Martindale worked the ball along the left flank, with the former sending a cross into the middle, just behind Lewington. The striker launched himself into an acrobatic bicycle kick, managing to dig out the cross and convert.
Torpoint reduced the arrears four minutes later through Louis Rooney’s maiden competitive goal for the club but, just five minutes later, Stayt restored the four-goal cushion.
'It’s difficult to say [if we’ve turned a corner],’ admitted Hart.
'I try not to get too low when we lose and too high when we win, and we need to put a solid run of performances together. If we do that at this level, that can take us right up into the mix and where we want to be.
'Our feet are firmly on the ground and we look forward to next Saturday.’