Veteran Meikle hopes for more FA Cup magic as Buxton prepare to face Ipswich Town

Lindon Meikle scores against Wycombe Wanderers in 2008.Lindon Meikle scores against Wycombe Wanderers in 2008.
Lindon Meikle scores against Wycombe Wanderers in 2008.
Lindon Meikle has form when it comes to the FA Cup – and he’s keen to add another chapter to his own personal story in the competition this weekend.

The 34-year-old is one of the most experienced players in Buxton’s squad, with his career having taken him from the Northern Premier League with Eastwood Town, to the Football League with Mansfield, then around the upper echelons of non-league with the likes of Kettering and eventually the Bucks.

And that journey has included FA Cup experiences that will live long in his memory, and those of others.

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"People still come up to me and say ‘I remember that goal you scored against Wycombe, what a strike that was!’” says Meikle, referring to perhaps one of the standout moments of his career.

As a 20-year-old, Meikle took centre stage as Eastwood Town, then of the NPL Premier Division, stunned the then League Two leaders Wycombe Wanderers 14 years ago.

Midway through the first-half, the ball came to him 25 yards out and he curled a stunning effort into the far corner of the net – it was almost as if he was well aware there was a TV camera right behind him to perfectly capture the ball’s trajectory as it flew through the Nottinghamshire mist and nestled beyond the goalkeeper.

His display won him the Player of the Round award as the now-defunct Badgers went on to win 2-0 and secure a third round berth before going out to one of Meikle’s future clubs, Kettering.

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He said: "The whole day felt like it could create an upset from the start – it was misty and atmospheric and I don’t think Wycombe fancied it at all, even though they were unbeaten in the league at that stage.

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"It goes to show what can happen, and also that even if you don’t win the FA Cup in your career, it can produce moments that get talked about for years – whether it’s a result or a goal or in my case, both!”

Meikle was also part of the Mansfield Town side – then playing in what is now known as the National League – that hosted Liverpool in the third round in 2013, a game infamous for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez handling the ball as he scored his side’s crucial second goal in the 2-1 win.

“That still bothers me now! We felt cheated as we could have earned a draw and got a replay at Anfield which would have been incredible, but that’s football,” said Meikle.

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His next FA Cup chapter comes this weekend as Buxton prepare for their trip to Ipswich Town, the tie being at a similar stage of the competition to when Meikle and Eastwood weaved their magic in 2008.

Meikle was, of course, part of the Bucks side that reached the same stage of the competition last year before being beaten by Morecambe, but he feels that this season there is a different vibe about the cup run and the challenge Buxton now face.

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He said: “Obviously we’re away from home and I think having a go at them on our 3G pitch would have been a tougher challenge for them as a lot of the professional clubs aren’t used to them, but it’ll be brilliant to go to a big stadium with a big crowd to face one of the highest-ranked teams left in the competition at this stage.

"In this round, you either prefer a lower level side where you’ve got a better chance of progressing and getting maybe a Premier League side in round three, the chance of playing one of the bigger teams still in the competition at home for the big crowd and better potential for an upset, or the same but away when you can play at their stadiums.

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"It’s also a bit different to last year because of the form we’re in. Last season we’d been on an incredible winning run and felt unstoppable, whereas this year we’ve been a bit more inconsistent – albeit we’re at a higher level.

"The run we’ve had this year has also felt a bit ‘easier’, but that’s not being disrespectful to the teams we’ve faced, more that the games haven’t been as tough on paper. We also came in at a later stage this time.

"Our form has perhaps affected the enjoyment of the FA Cup run this time but the Ipswich tie will still be a special occasion and one we’ll certainly be up for when it comes round.”

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Being one of the players from last season’s title-winning squad to have remained with the Bucks, Meikle is well placed to assess just how things have progressed this season under new boss Jamie Vermiglio.

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Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Trophy game with Blyth Spartans, Meikle said he feels there is still room for improvement.

He said: “We want to be higher than we are in the league, although it’s a very tight division. Consistency is the issue – we had brilliant wins against Darlington, Southport and Gloucester and then lost 4-0 at home to Banbury and 1-0 to Scarborough.

"We’ve had a new manager and lots of new players, which obviously has an effect, but hopefully we can find that consistency and get higher up the league.”

Turning his thoughts back to the Ipswich game, Meikle is one of many slightly perplexed by the strange kick-off time of 5pm on Sunday, but hopes it won’t affect the amount of Bucks fans who will make the long trip to Suffolk.

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He said: “I feel for the fans because it will be a magical day for them and the timing is very strange given the travelling etc, and it’s similar for the players too as it’s not a normal afternoon game, nor an evening kick-off.

"But the fans have been brilliant and follow us everywhere in great numbers so hopefully loads will go to Ipswich too.”