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buxton fc match reports

2020/21 season

Tuesday 9th November BUXTON (0) 1 CITY OF LIVERPOOL (1) 2 F.A. TROPHY, ROUND 1 ATT. NIL

Rust! Along with several other Premier Division high-fliers, including Matlock, Mickleover, South Shields and Warrington, Buxton came unstuck after the 5-week enforced lay-off to exit the 'Trophy'. This disadvantage applied equally to the visitors but at least they had managed one practice run-out whereas, crucially, Buxton had been snowed off last Saturday. By half-time we had seen an understandably rather rusty performance which should have been delivered versus Leek a few days earlier! It then took another 35 minutes to equalise after which 'the Bucks' went close to a potential winner on several occasions only to be undone by a superb 'Purps' strike close to full-time.

The tie was the first Buxton match to be live-streamed for the benefit of the absent supporters, who had the opportunity to appreciate the potential of the visiting club which has already achieved 2 promotions in the only 3 seasons of its existence. The hard-working, well-organised side, from the same division as the now nationally famous Marine and on its first visit, benefitted from the always sound performance of 'keeper Theo Roberts, delighted to be returning for the first time since his highly-successful, year-long loan spell in 2018/19. Incidentally, his new club has now achieved successive 'Trophy' victories versus 2 of Theo's former loan teams after the previous round's 3-0 win away to Atherton Collieries.

'The Bucks' were back to full strength apart from the injured James Walshaw, whose presence was missed just as it was for the biggest part of the Stafford cup-tie when, as on Tuesday, his colleagues enjoyed a majority of possession without being able to translate that into sufficient goal-scoring. How frustrating that the fluency and inspired attacking of the pre-lockdown league displays versus Warrington and Stafford should be seen only briefly following the late equaliser.

With the incessant, driving rain at their backs, 'the Bucks' attacked the Ashwood end, the first chance falling to Reece Styche, but Theo saved comfortably and cleanly at the near post. 'The Purps' meanwhile had started well, counter-attacking with pacy, passing moves and took a 20th-minute lead through the lively Hazelhurst who had succeeded in side-stepping Tommy Taylor's dash from the line to set up the opening. Shortly afterwards it could have been 2-0 as the home 'keeper just managed to clear with Rigby exerting serious pressure on skipper Josh Granite. At the other end and still striving for fluency, Tom Elliott's cross, and his later corner-kick, evaded all while Styche mishit a shot, but Chris Dawson's 20-yard power drive was promisingly goal-bound until blocked.

The visitors' good start to the second half prompted an early change of personnel and formation, with Billy Whitehouse and Stephen Brogan introduced as 4-4-2 was abandoned in favour of 4-2-3-1.Some Buxton pressure resulted but from a quickly-taken free-kick, Diego's driven effort passed high and wide, yet 'the Bucks' escaped a potentially decisive second goal on the counter with an attacker's detected hand-ball offence. Back on the attack, Connor O'Grady's superbly accurate cross-field ball set Brogan away on the left to win a corner, from which Connor's powerful header topped the bar. Whitehouse began to exert his authority on the right flank and from one cross, Theo produced a memorable save from a close-range header. Nonetheless Diego escaped from a midfield fracas with a yellow card to equalise in the 80th minute, dinking home from a rapid, incisive move. For a few minutes 'the Bucks' looked well capable of securing victory as chances fell to Diego and Reece King, but it was 'the Purps' who netted the decider with Hazelhurst, unmarked centrally, giving Taylor no chance from 20 yards with a splendid drive.

So Buxton lost not only the tie but also the opportunity for more match action in the 'Trophy' as there is no immediate prospect of a resumption of the league programme. For supporters with long memories, the situation is something like it used to be in those fierce, snow-bound Peakland winters of times gone by when there might be no soccer for weeks on end!

Team: Taylor, O’Grady, Clarke, Hurst, Granite, Kilgallon, Styche (Brogan), King, De Girolamo, Dawson (Whitehouse), Elliott. Unused Subs: Killock, Wedgbury & Curley.

Tuesday 3rd November BUXTON (1) 3 STAFFORD RANGERS (0) 1 ATT 288

In the last match before the second national lockdown Buxton showed the Silverlands 'faithful' what they will be missing in the coming weeks as another committed, fluent home display earned a victory to lift the club to third place (with a game in hand on the clubs standing just two points ahead).

Nor was this a comfortable ramble versus the division's bottom team with just one point to its credit as Stafford proved stubborn opponents as in the recent F.A. Cup tie. It took 'the Bucks' all but 6 minutes of the first half to find the net and it was something of a relief when the second goal went in just past the hour. Even then Rangers' late consolation inspired a bright finish by the visitors in which a late save with his feet by Tom Taylor prevented a nervous wait for the end; such is the strength of the Premier Division.

Attacking the Ashwood End, 'the Bucks' set off at a high tempo and a series of forays took them close to a goal time after time. Only five minutes in, a James Walshaw interception set up Diego for a shot that passed high and wide, but the latter soon did much better with a 22-yard power-drive that was beaten out by overworked ex-Mickleover 'keeper King. A long-range Connor O'Grady shot troubled King but passed just over, then efforts by Hurst and Elliott forced unproductive corners, so Stafford survived and all but took the lead in the 19th minute as a rapid break on the right resulted in Coyle's thunderbolt rebounding to safety off the underside of the bar. However, that was very much an isolated raid as first Walshaw, from a fortuitous run of the ball, then Warren Clarke, from a superb O'Grady cross, couldn't make their shots count. At this stage 'the Bucks' at times were tending to make too many passes in the last third of the pitch, allowing Rangers to pack their defence. Yet curiously, in the 39th minute, there was an exception as the visitors found themselves in a 4 v.2 situation in Buxton's half, but the excellent James Hurst began a counter-attacking passing move that was rounded off by Tom Elliott's delightful, close-range 'dink' past King at the far post.

For ten minutes Buxton's start to the second half was unconvincing but then it was 'business as usual' as Chris Dawson fed Elliott for an 8-yard shot into the side netting and just past the hour,18 yards out, Diego made space for himself to fire home low just inside a post for his 50th goal for the club. Unfortunately, 11 minutes later the striker lurched from hero to villain as he failed from the penalty spot with a cheeky attempt that was diverted by King's foot. The award had been correctly made for a trip on recently-introduced substitute, Reece Styche, who had instantly repeated the positive impact he had made last Saturday. Undaunted by Diego's penalty miss, Styche within 2 minutes made it 3-0 with a stunning,28-yard strike into the far top corner of the net : a definite candidate for 'Goal-of-the-Season', even at this early stage.

Stafford, though clearly beaten, 'didn't throw in the towel' and in the 86th minute profited from a deflection as Candlin's 18-yard drive wrong-footed Taylor, who soon afterwards had to save a Coyle shot with his feet.

Team: Taylor, O’Grady, Clarke, Hurst, Granite, Kilgallon (Whitehouse), Walshaw (Styche), King, De Girolamo, Elliott, Dawson (Wakefield).  Unused Subs: Wedgbury & Hopkins

Saturday 31st October BRIGHOUSE TOWN (0) 0 BUXTON (0) 2 (F.A.Trophy, 3rd qualifying round) ATT 276

Two second-half goals propelled Buxton into the Trophy's first round proper but the Division One side made it difficult until the closing minutes when only the visitors looked likely scorers, with substitute Reece Styche opening his goals account in an impressive 13-minute cameo.
Town, struggling in Division One (North-West) did their utmost to put pressure on 'the Bucks' when in possession and their hard work partly explains the lack of fluency in the visitors' play for much of the tie. A pitch sodden by a week's rain was hardly conducive to Buxton's passing game but more so to Town's more direct approach that was mostly well contained by the visiting defence, which featured the returning Josh Granite in place of the injured Shane Killock.
Brighouse made a bright start, enjoying more than an even share of possession in the opening quarter, while 'the Bucks' made occasional forays forward and in the 20th minute a swift passing move set up Diego for an 18-yard shot that passed harmlessly high and wide. Almost immediately another incisive move should have brought a goal but an unnecessary extra pass induced a correct offside decision close in. Then in this promising spell, Chris Dawson's good work allowed Diego a low shot that passed wide and the striker followed that by latching onto Tom Elliott's pass to deliver a fierce shot beaten out by 'keeper Smith.
After the interval Tom Taylor, who had established himself with Brighouse, made the tie's best save from a Haigh low,25-yard shot and soon afterwards winger Keita glanced a header wide as he met a left-flank cross. In the 55th minute 'the Bucks' took a vital lead with a method best suited to the day. A penetrative through ball by Granite fed James Walshaw who had created space for himself and as 'keeper Smith advanced the striker didn't hesitate to lob him accurately. The home side battled to recover but in the last quarter-hour Buxton took charge with Styche prominent 3 times in an attacking role on the right. He first beat 2 defenders to force a corner, then fired a searching ball across the face of goal for the lunging Elliott, beyond the far post, to prod into the side netting. Finally, in the 3rd minute of added time, after Elliott had netted an offside 'goal', Styche legally found the net with an 18-yard drive to open his Buxton account.
'The Bucks' had therefore done enough to ensure passage to the next stage but when that can be played is as yet not known but on Tuesday Stafford Rangers are the visitors (at 7-45p.m.) for the last home match before lockdown just as they were in February. 

Team: Taylor, O’Grady, Clarke, Hurst, Granite, Kilgallon, Walshaw, King, De Girolamo (Styche), Elliott, Dawson.  Unused Subs: Wakefield, Whitehouse, Wedgbury & Shenton

Tuesday 27th October WARRINGTON TOWN 0-1 BUXTON (Match abandoned after 37 minutes). 

It is unusual to produce reports on abandoned matches but, in this instance it was worthy of comment.

The match was abandoned at 8-55pm following play being stopped at 8-25 as a result of an accidental serious injury to home midfielder, Scott Brown, who was later diagnosed to have suffered a fractured tibia and fibula, requiring an operation. The first abandonment of a Buxton match in such circumstances, certainly post-war, resulted from advice being received by Town officials that the player should not be moved until medical staff were present, with the ambulance not arriving until just before 10p.m., probably as a result of Covid-19 pressures as the town had its first day of Tier 3 restrictions. Coincidentally, last February's Warrington's visit to Buxton was abandoned in a first-half snowstorm with Town leading, also by 1-0!

The match was eagerly anticipated as the league leaders took on the 4th-placed 'Bucks', who had the carrot of leapfrogging 'the Wire' in the table if they could win. Despite Town's defeat last Saturday, the home side on paper looked strong, with a substitutes' bench including experienced forwards in Amis, Holroyd and Mackreth, while Buxton, still lacking defenders Brogan, Curley and Granite and with Wedgbury fit only to be the 5th substitute, were unchanged apart from Tom Taylor's return in goal instead of Grant Shenton, who had suffered a calf injury on Saturday.

The evening's unfortunate events will doubtless live long in the memory but so too will the Buxton performance for those able to be present. Without exaggeration, the initial quarter-hour was more impressive than any other opening your correspondent's long memory can recall! As many as FIVE clear openings were created, yet truly amazingly no goal resulted! One supporter offered the view that Town had been 'battered' but that perhaps suggests brute force, whereas it was a series of rapid, rapier-like thrusts which opened the full-strength home defence time after time.

Almost immediately, attacking the pavilion end and pouring forward in numbers, a quick break saw Diego scuff a shot wide but in the 3rd minute from his dangerous low ball, James Walshaw altogether missed contact in front of goal. Before that minute was up, Connor O'Grady's powerful header was cleared from under the bar but there was to be no respite for Town! In the 7th minute, James Hurst, again so authoritative in centre midfield, thundered a 25-yard piledriver against a post with Chris Dawson clumping the rebound high and wide. Two minutes on and Warren Clarke sped to the left by-line, but Walshaw again could not make contact with his low pull-back. A lob threatened and ex-Blackburn and Southport 'keeper Albinson was at full stretch to keep it out, then after the ensuing corner-kick, Walshaw's ill-luck continued as he thrashed a 15-yard drive against the underside of the bar!

Perhaps unsurprisingly 'the Wire' then had a spell of possession with ex-'Macc' veteran, Michael Rose, prompting attacks from left-back but several long balls into the penalty area offered little threat and Tom Taylor didn't have a save to make.

'The Bucks' returned to the attack and Diego had a shot blocked with Walshaw driving the ball wide. They then forced as many as four corners and from the last of them in the 36th minute, Diego's perfect delivery was cleanly headed home by Hurst at the far post for a well-deserved if overdue lead. The action had only just resumed when Brown's injury occurred.

And so ended a most unusual evening made quite surreal part-way through by a large ship gliding silently by on the adjacent waterway!

Buxton, after 4 1/2 attempts, have yet to defeat Town on their own pitch, but the main consideration must be the welfare of Scott Brown, to whom we extend our best wishes for a full recovery.

TEAM: Taylor, O’Grady, Clarke, Hurst, Killock, Kilgallon, Walshaw, King, DeGirolamo, Dawson, Elliott. Unused Subs, Styche, Scott, Wakefield, Whitehouse, Wedgbury.

Saturday 24th October BAMBER BRIDGE (0) 1 BUXTON (2) 2 ATT 325

A well-worked 86th minute goal by 'Brig' gave the struggling home team hope of a point but Buxton, hard hit by injuries, held on to win a game they had largely controlled after scoring a brace in 9 minutes midway through the first half. 'The Bucks' lacked defenders Matt Curley, Stephen Brogan and Josh Granite, plus midfielder Sam Wedgbury, but this season's added strength in depth allowed replacements to be introduced without altering the formation or style of play.

Despite a 5-goal midweek mauling, 'Brig', strengthened by 2 capable loanees from Preston North End, opened brightly, passing the ball well and better than their higher-placed visitors, but it was 'the Bucks' who proved the more threatening side as their quick-footed attackers evaded markers. On 16 minutes Diego's turn and 19-yard low shot was, remarkably ,parried flush against the bar by loan 'keeper Hudson and he also got a hand to each of the 2 shots which beat him soon afterwards. Five minutes later Diego was in the action again, this time finding the net (for the 49th time in his Buxton career).He latched onto a long ball played along the touchline by Reece King, beat his marker and cut inside to shoot low from the edge of the penalty area. Then, just before the half-hour, from a Tommy Elliott corner, Chris Dawson fired home from a similar position.

From then on, either side of half-time, Buxton controlled most of the action as they created a number of openings for striker James Walshaw who was thwarted close to goal on several occasions. Eleven minutes into the second half Warren Clarke, who deputised well for Brogan at left-back, fed Walshaw but he was robbed by Hudson. His next opening was created by astute Diego and Dawson passes but a superb tackle by home skipper Lawlor prevented his shot, before Marlow's vital interception once more denied Walshaw: Buxton just couldn't fashion the third goal which would have guaranteed a serene conclusion.

At the other end 'Brig's few attacks made little impression and it came as a surprise when Grant Shenton, in the continuing pouring rain, dropped a high, right-flank cross at the far post but the defence got the ball away. Then, after newcomers Charlie Wakefield and Billy Whitehouse were given debuts as substitutes, the home side did create a goal. A misplaced Matt Kilgallon pass deep in the opponents' half allowed a rapid, accurate, passing counter-attack that found midfielder O'Reilly well-placed for a firm finish. In added time the debutant loanee all but set up an equaliser as his determination at the right by-line carried him past 2 tackles but his low pull-back was intercepted and thereafter 'the Bucks' ushered proceedings to a quiet finish.

Covid tier 3 restrictions limited Buxton's following to just a few officials, plus locally-based Buxton supporter, Peter Holme ,as 'the faithful' obeyed advice to stay away.

Team: Shenton, O’Grady, Clarke, Hurst, Killock, Kilgallon, Walshaw (Styche), King, De Girolamo (Whitehouse), Dawson (Wakefield), Elliott. Unused Subs: Scott & Taylor.

Tuesday 20th October BUXTON (2) 2 MICKLEOVER F.C. (2) 2 ATT 368

A superbly pulsating Derbyshire 'derby' between sides showing every sign of having exciting seasons ended with a sharing of the points, though either could have gone ahead in a second half that lacked only goals.

'The Bucks' will feel that they should have won as several clear chances in both halves went begging, while in the first half the visitors had just 2 efforts on target and both were goals, twice giving them the lead ! At the other end, loanee 'keeper Callum Hawkins from Burton Albion excelled on several occasions in the first 45 minutes to keep level the best Mickleover team seen in the 17 years of meetings between the clubs.

His first, game-changing save came in the 14th minute as, in a spell of Buxton possession, Warren Clarke was in the clear 20 yards out in a central position but his shot allowed the advancing Hawkins to use his legs effectively. There followed a curling Stephen Brogan wide of goal and a Reece King header directly at Hawkins but midway through the half the visitors opened the scoring in a simple fashion that was disappointing for the hosts as ex-Belper centre-back, Phil Watt, headed home unmarked from a left-flank free-kick. Buxton's response included another 20-yard effort, not far off target, by attacking left-back Brogan, but the 32nd minute equaliser came from the penalty spot, courtesy of Diego's confident conversion, after the willing James Walshaw had undeniably been the meat in the sandwich for 2 converging visiting defenders !

'The Bucks' then pressed hard for a lead with Tom Elliott setting up Sam Wedgbury for a powerful,20-yard drive that narrowly cleared the bar and James Hurst from right-back initiated another passing move, but Diego's 25-yard,superbly-struck free-kick came closest to achieving their aim, being denied at the foot of a post by Hawkins's magnificent dive. Immediately afterwards, in the 43rd minute ,the visitors, seizing on an Elliott error deep in the Mickleover half, broke forward rapidly on the right towards the Railway End through Webb's good work and his accurate pass set up Bacon for an equally accurate low drive again beyond Grant Shenton's reach. However, deep in added time, Buxton equalised again, once more with a penalty, after Brogan's sharp turn at a corner of the box induced a clear foul. Again Diego did the job despite the pressure of a slightly-delayed kick opposed by an in-form 'keeper who had already observed his spot-kick method at close range.

Though goal-less the second half was intriguing. After Elliott had featured prominently in a Buxton counter only to see his cut-back intercepted by a defender, Mickleover enjoyed a spell of possession in the game's 3rd quarter. A surprise Webb hook shot from the left bounced off the far angle, then just past the hour he wasted a golden opportunity with a poor touch following a Hurst heading error before a clearance from the line denied Mickleover the lead for a 3rd time.

'The Bucks' fought back and went close several times to a possibly decisive 3rd goal between the 70th and 80th minutes. Brogan's perfectly-struck, left-flank free-kick deserved better than Walshaw's glancing header wide of goal, then the striker's 15-yard hook shot inspired a Hawkins flying catch under the angle. Walshaw was then involved again with an effort in a scramble cleared from very close to goal  after good work by Elliott had set up Brogan for an accurate cut-back from the by-line. Mickleover introduced the veteran Pablo Mills in a defensive midfield role and he was soon cautioned for a beefy challenge but Buxton had one last hope when Diego went down in the penalty area but referee Kelly's decision was not to award a 3rd penalty but instead a free-kick to the visitors!

Team: Shenton, Hurst, Brogan, Wedgbury (Dawson), Granite, Kilgallon, Walshaw, King, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke (Styche). Unused Subs: O’Grady, Whitehouse & Taylor

Tuesday 13th October BUXTON (2) 4 SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (0) 1 ATT 427

When 3 players left Scarborough in the summer to sign for Buxton, their former manager was reported to have held the view that the players had taken a backward step-it hardly seemed like that on Tuesday evening as 'the Bucks' achieved their second 4-goal haul in 4 days to climb 2 places to stand 2nd in the fledgeling league table !

Not that this victory was as comfortable as Saturday's at Stalybridge. The 'Seadogs' 52nd-minute,out-of-the-blue goal to make the score 2-1 made a visitors' revival distinctly possible, that is until man-of-the-match, James Walshaw, scored his second on the night in the 75th minute. Reece King netting the 4th 9 minutes later put the icing on the cake.

There was an even, frenetic start, with a couple of through balls for Diego coming to nothing as Athletics’ passing game even shaded a share of possession early on but Watson's 25-yard free-kick passed high and wide. However, the newly-established home centre-back pairing of Josh Granite and Matt Kilgallon in particular nullified the visitors' attacking so that from quarter-time 'the Bucks' took control. 'Keeper Whitley was caught out of goal but Diego's shot was cleared from the line before the dynamic Walshaw created the opening goal in the 27th minute. He advanced along the right by-line and in the ensuing scramble Tommy Elliott got the decisive touch.. Much the same can be said of Walshaw's 1st in the 39th minute as he first headed against the bar, then drilled home the rebound. The rampaging striker was obviously thoroughly enjoying his success versus his former club and he all but completed a first-half ‘brace’ as Whitley's error in the dying seconds allowed him another shot at goal but Coates, his former team-mate, on the goal-line thwarted him.

The opening to the second half was uneventful and Scarborough's halving of their deficit in the 52nd minute came as a surprise. Tom Taylor mishandled a snapshot from the edge of the area and the predatory Cartman pounced. Buxton responded well and from the 'keeper's long punt, Walshaw headed on and Clarke's accurate chip almost cleared Whitley. However, the visitors applied pressure on the home goal and it was a relief when the irrepressible Walshaw scored again in the 75th minute. His 2nd strike was expertly converted by lobbing over Whitley as he found himself clear of the defence.

Stephen Brogan was a considerable factor in Buxton's attacking late in the game as he proved incisive on the left. Only 2 minutes before the 3rd goal his run to the by-line and pull-back found Walshaw whose touch sent the ball across the face of goal. Then his 84th-minute advance, again to the by-line, and accurate pull-back set up King for a neat,8-yard finish. Even then there could have been a 5th as a long, diagonal ball set up Diego on the right but he made a hash of his attempted finish. The only remaining action saw crowd favourite Walshaw receive his well-earned rapturous applause as he was substituted.

So Scarborough's 'goals against' column mushroomed to 5 as 'the Bucks' added to their reputation of being the division's top scorers. A tiny crumb of comfort, perhaps, for the visitors, on their 3rd visit, was to score their first Silverlands goal, but they have now conceded 9 goals in their last 2 games here.

Team: Taylor, Hurst, Brogan, Wedgbury, Granite, Kilgallon, Walshaw (Styche), King, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Dawson, O’Grady, Whitehouse & Shenton

Saturday 10th October STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (0) 0 BUXTON (2) 4 ATT 409

'The Bucks' convincingly returned to winning ways at Bower Fold on Saturday versus a Celtic side looking for its first league victory and, on this showing, without suitably experienced, capable reinforcements, may not find it soon. The visitors dominated from start to finish and made a host of openings so, without being over-critical,4 was the minimum acceptable in the 'goals for' column as Buxton's biggest post-war win at Stalybridge was recorded.

Celtic included 2 ex-Silverlanders but neither had a happy day. Captain Scott Sephton left at quarter-time with a cut head, suffered as he earned a yellow card for a challenge, and his experience in midfield was certainly missed. Former loanee 'keeper, Tom Stewart, did make a fine 2nd-half save to deny a superbly-struck,20-yard low drive by Sam Wedgbury, who enjoyed his best game yet for the club. However, Tom was at fault in the 12th minute as 'the Bucks' took an already deserved lead. Minutes earlier Diego had hit a post and prodded the rebound across the face of goal, but then James Walshaw's pressure on the 'keeper for a lofted ball resulted in it running loose and was netted by Diego. Stephen Brogan worked a neat 1-2 only to shoot high over but a 2nd goal arrived from the free-kick at half-way conceded by Sephton's last involvement. Tom Elliott delivered the ball, Brogan knocked it on and Shane Killock netted close in. More delightful approach play followed and Diego fed Walshaw on the left for the lively striker to fire a low drive that was deflected across the face of goal.

Celtic's best spell of the afternoon came close to half-time. Altrincham loanee, Salmon, headed over from a right-flank cross,3 corners ensued, then an Evangelinos 24-yard,central free-kick brought a flying save out of Tom Taylor.

'The Bucks' emerged from the interval clearly intent on a 3rd,game-clinching goal and within 2 minutes should have achieved it as the home centre-backs were caught out by Taylor's long, central punt. Walshaw raced in behind them but fatally delayed his shot. However, a 3rd goal came at the hour as Warren Clarke added a close-range finish to a tightly-worked, penalty area passing move. The youthful Celtic now looked so vulnerable but Stewart's great save and Walshaw's header, just wide, from an Elliott corner-kick left the score at 3-0 and the plucky home side recovered some composure as Buxton began to make their substitutions. Nonetheless, the score advanced to 4-0 with Diego netting a 75th-minute penalty-kick after substitute Chris Dawson, on-field for just 2 minutes, was needlessly fouled at a corner of the box. A 5th goal was never far away and it was very close with Reece King's near-post header from an Elliott corner-kick passing narrowly wide.

Tuesday's home fixture versus Scarborough Athletic, who conceded a 1st league goal on Saturday, will surely pose a sterner test but 'the Bucks' equally surely regained their confidence at Bower Fold in a comprehensive victory.

Team: Taylor, O’Grady, Brogan, Wedgbury, Granite, Killock (Dawson), Walshaw (Abadaki), King, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke (Scott). Unused Subs: Hurst & Shenton


Visiting, much-travelled 'keeper, Lewis King, was Stafford's hero as he twice saved penalties in the shoot-out that sent his team, previously without a win in 3 league fixtures, through to the next round. He set the standard by superbly turning away Diego's well-struck, well-directed drive to keep a 1-0 lead. However, his substitute colleague, Cieron Keane, younger brother of ex-Silverlander, Kallum, frittered it by blazing the 3rd penalty high over the bar but King again thwarted 'the Bucks' by saving full debutant Sam Wedgbury's less well-struck effort. By contrast, Buxton's Tom Taylor, who had come this summer from Scarborough with a good reputation for saving penalties, was given no chance with 4 perfect executions. Substitute James Walshaw and Stephen Brogan did score for Buxton but the 5th penalty was not needed.

A penalty shoot-out can be viewed as a lottery but in truth the home side had not done enough to avoid it. Curiously devoid of incisive creativity only 11 days after the spectacular,7-goal demolition of the competent Belper, 'the Bucks' made very few scoring chances. The best came in the 39th minute when a James Hurst run and cross set up Diego for a low shot that was cleared from the goal-line. Earlier, Brogan had curled wide a shot from distance and then Tom Elliott's uncharacteristically poor first touch in a good penalty area position wasted an accurate Warren Clarke squared pass.

At the Railway End Stafford created the better first-half openings. The ex-Whitchurch lone striker, Joe Cuff, twice sent low, angled shots across the face of goal but the clearest opening came just prior to the interval as a 3 on 3 counter presented midfielder Coyle with a sight of goal but his disappointing effort wide of the target matched the 'under-whelming' nature of the half as a spectacle. Though the home defence generally looked sound, with summer signing Josh Granite making a belated debut after injury, there was arguably insufficient play through midfield as home attacking lacked inspiration.

'The Bucks' showed more urgency in the 2nd half but still couldn't score legally with an obviously offside 'goal' ruled out early on. From a Brogan left-flank cross, Diego's glancing header passed wide then, close to the end, Walshaw's firm,10-yard header found King well-positioned. However, normal time ended in understandable controversy as Wigan referee, Matthew McQuillan, denied Buxton a penalty-kick with an utterly inexplicable decision. With neither the ball nor other players in the immediate vicinity Tom Elliott was bowled over by a Stafford defender and the referee blew for full-time just 30 seconds later! His explanation that it was 'a fair challenge' was clearly refuted by film evidence. Denied justice at the end without doubt but 'the Bucks' had lacked the fluency and penetration to unlock a well-organised Rangers rearguard and paid the penalty-literally!

Team: Taylor, Hurst (O’Connor), Brogan, Wedgbury, Granite, Killock, Dawson (Worsfold), King, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Abadaki, Shenton, Nicholson, McMillan & Campbell.

Saturday 26th September 2020 BUXTON (1) 2 WHITBY TOWN (0) 2 ATT 346

Seemingly in total control and 2 goals up by the 79th minute, Buxton looked to be heading inexorably towards a regulation NPL victory versus a Whitby side whose attacking threat had been minimal in contrast to the incisive play which had produced 4 goals on their last visit a year ago. Home 'keeper, Tom Taylor, had not had a save to make from the few efforts on his goal. The first came in the 21st minute as Fewster headed tamely wide, then Hawkins worked a promising 1-2 but scuffed his 20-yard shot comfortably wide. Then more than 50 minutes elapsed before wing-back Mills blazed high over the bar from 25 yards as 'the Bucks' continued the dominance they had established from the outset.

Yet the home team's abundant possession resulted in a goals product that was limited by the dogged,well-organised,5-man visiting defence, backed up by sound, experienced 'keeper, Bland. Nonetheless 'the Bucks' took a deserved 14th minute lead with an accurately-constructed passing move that reached Diego in the penalty area and his squared pass found Reece King who side-footed home from 15 yards. Two minutes later Bland had to beat out Diego's powerful,12-yard drive, then James Walshaw met a Stephen Brogan free-kick from the left but his header cleared the bar. At the other end a fine Matthew Kilgallon tackle 20 yards out snuffed out a rare Town raid before Warren Clarke, fed by Diego, sent a curling shot narrowly past the angle, while Diego fired a 20-yard central free-kick over the bar.

There was no change to the pattern after half-time and 8 minutes in Diego had doubled his team's advantage from the penalty spot after he, set up by King's through ball, had fallen as he moved wider to shake off Sukar's challenge. Two minutes later the scorer had a shot charged down, then King's header, from a well-worked free-kick, passed wide before Walshaw, looking a likely scorer, was superbly robbed by ex-Frickley centre-back Ible at the expense of a corner.

Then, out of the blue, substitute Cook found himself in space 15 yards out, and his shot gave Taylor no chance. Two minutes later, ex-Silverlander, Jacob Hazel, in the inside-left channel, profited from a defensive error to net confidently. There was even the chance of a 90th-minute Whitby winner from a by-line free-kick but it was easily cleared upfield and from a lofted Brogan free-kick, James Hurst made contact but headed wide.

Team: Taylor, Hurst, Brogan, King, Killock, Kilgallon, Dawson, Walshaw, D De Girolamo (Styche), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: O’Grady, Wedgbury, Abadaki & Shenton

Saturday 19th September 2020 BUXTON (2) 4 RADCLIFFE F.C. (1) 2 ATT 395

Eight consecutive victories in pre-season made winning a habit which 'the Bucks' carried into the opening day versus a spirited, resilient 'Boro', whose physical size and strength made the visitors a force to the end. Yet the home attack was so inventive and incisive that Radcliffe's initial 5-man defence could well have conceded twice as many goals!

Neither side was de-railed by the early loss to injury of a defender (Matt Curley and ex-Silverlander Luis Morrison respectively) but it was 'the Bucks' who struck first in the 17th minute, with impressive veteran striker, James Walshaw, getting the final touch to a finishing shot by Tom Elliott, who had been played in by Warren Clarke. The goal simply bore out the earlier threat posed by Curley's stand-in at right-back, James Hurst, whose 30-yard piledriver rebounded from the shoulder of the startled 'keeper Belford. The strike was inches from being the most spectacular opening goal in many a year ! Well on top, 'the Bucks' continued to threaten with Diego twice going close with curling efforts but much against the run of play conceded an equaliser just short of the half-hour when Tom Taylor, otherwise so impressive in catching under serious pressure, brought down the lively, ex-Shrewsbury veteran, Akpa-Akpro,at the right-hand edge of the penalty area and Crothers netted confidently from 'the spot'. Nonetheless, Buxton responded immediately as Elliott's free-kick forced a flying save out of Belford but he had no answer to another incisive passing move in the 36th minute with substitute Chris Dawson applying a second close-range finish. The half ended at 2-1 but the lead could have been doubled as 3 likely scoring efforts in rapid succession were blocked 10 yards out.

That development did happen 8 minutes into the second half in Buxton's first serious attack of the half with Belford deemed to have brought down Walshaw. The 'keeper saw yellow for his continuing protest after Diego had comfortably netted the award.'Boro' had enjoyed more possession at the start of the half and after the latest goal fought back to halve the deficit in the 57th deficit through another ex-Silverlander, Luca Navarro. By then the visitors had withdrawn their wing-backs to change their approach and for a time seemed capable of drawing level but 'the Bucks' were always a threat going forward. Referee Bruce, curiously dressed in black to match the visitors' kit, continued to be a major factor as he twice denied concerted home penalty appeals for apparently clear fouls and another by Radcliffe for handball. In the 65th minute 'Bucks' manager, Gary Hayward, shrewdly introduced Sam Wedgbury, whose calming experience gave added authority to midfield and 11 minutes on, from an Elliott lofted free-kick, Connor O'Grady's firm header and 3rd goal for BFC restored his team's 2-goal advantage. That was just as well for home supporters' pulse-rate as near the end Navarro's wickedly curling,19-yard free-kick struck the inside of the far post and rebounded to safety. The Silverlands 'faithful' departed in good humour, buoyed not only by victory but also by the thoroughly entertaining, competitive fare produced for them.

Team: Taylor, Curley (Dawson), Brogan, King, O’Grady, Kilgallon, Hurst, Walshaw (Styche), D De Girolamo (Wedgbury), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Killock & Shenton

2019/20 Season


Saturday 7th March BASFORD UTD (0) 0 BUXTON (2) 2 ATT. 251

Hard-earned but deserved victory at 2nd-placed Basford, extended Buxton's unbeaten league sequence to 7 games. Coming a fortnight after the draw at table-topping South Shields and one week following the 5-1 thrashing of rock-bottom Stafford, Saturday's achievement must surely convince any doubters that Gary Hayward's team has turned a corner, big-style! The promise of a fruitful, entertaining end of season programme is there for all to see.

'The Bucks' were superior virtually throughout the first half and their 2-goal interval lead could even have been doubled with more ruthless finishing. In this period the Nottingham outfit rarely overcame the 11th-minute loss to injury of captain, playmaker and ex-Silverlander, Matt Thornhill, as the visitors scored early and never looked back. As early as the 9th minute, from an Alex Brown lofted cross, a Reece King header clipped the top of the bar and just 4 minutes later the excellent Warren Clarke opened the scoring with a fine individual goal. He worked his way goalwards past 2 defenders, then from a tight-enough angle, the power of his ground shot proved too much for soon-to-be-overworked 'keeper Preston. Diego fired a 25-yard effort wide of the target before Basford created their one threatening opening of the half. Grant Shenton produced a splendid low blocking save after a clever diagonal ball had set up a shooting chance for Richards. That proved only a temporary respite for Basford as Preston was forced to save a Tom Elliott drive with his feet but Buxton maintained the pressure and shots rained in until Diego made the space to fire high into the net from 7 yards. What was remarkable in the half's 12 remaining minutes was that the visitors didn't score again, An Elliott power volley narrowly passed the target then Preston was forced into similar saves at his right-hand top corner, first as Elliott fed Diego then as Clarke broke from half-way following good defensive work by Brown.

Unsurprisingly for such a highly placed team, Basford had a better 2nd half but compact defending and splendid goalkeeping thwarted Utd throughout. Just short of the hour Shenton saved well from Watson at the expense of a corner, several of which followed as pressure built towards 3/4 time with the Buxton 'keeper producing an excellent save at close range.

Yet 'the Bucks' twice came close to netting a vital 3rd goal in this period. From an inswinging corner-kick, Nico got a final touch barely a yard out but somehow the ball went over the bar, then following another penetrative, pacy Clarke counter, home defenders thrice diverted goal-bound shots. Still in contention, Utd substitute Goldson missed his side's best chance with a free header directly at Shenton, while in the closing minutes, the Buxton 'keeper's 1/2 save set up a goal-line clearance.

So on a breezy, dry day the crowd was well-entertained by 2 sides playing passing soccer on the 3G surface and in particular Buxton's midfield department caught the eye with recent signings, Tom Elliott and Reece King, blending well with the returning duo (after long-term injuries) of Callum Chippendale and Warren Clarke. Less happy, however, was Basford's ex-Buxton trio of Matt Thornhill (injured),striker Ash Worsfold (ineffective and substituted) and Brad Gascoigne (unused substitute).

On Tuesday Buxton make a first visit in nearly 50 years to Radcliffe, now 16th,who last won on Boxing Day,12 matches ago when placed 5th,but who drew spiritedly 2-2 at home to Nantwich last Saturday.

Team: Shenton, Curley, Brown, Clarke, N De Girolamo, O’Grady, Chippendale (Chalmers), King, D De Girolamo (Orlando-Young), Elliott, Hardy (Bramall). Unused Subs: Harrison & Lenighan.

Saturday 29th February BUXTON (2) 5 STAFFORD RANGERS (0) 1 ATT 463

Buxton achieved a convincing and comprehensive victory in a Premier Division '6-pointer’, extending the unbeaten league sequence to 6 matches and in so doing deepened Stafford's plight. Apart from a strangely sluggish showing in the game's 3rd quarter, 'the Bucks' dominated proceedings, with the big win set up by a sparkling first-half performance which might well have produced more than the 2 goals that were scored.

Despite facing the strong, corner-to-corner, Storm Jorge wind, 'the Bucks' drive and passing ability were soon creating clear openings at the Railway End. In the first 8 minutes Tom Elliott drove narrowly wide from 19 yards, Diego, played through, chipped advancing ex-Matlock 'keeper, Lewis King, but missed the target, then home midfielder Reece King from 15 yards also fired narrowly wide. The visitors' defence, lacking regular centre-backs Moran and suspended ex-Silverlander, Danny Burns, was struggling to cope and eventually conceded in the 24th minute as, for the first of 3 occasions, it failed to clear a corner-kick. Callum Chippendale, starting for the first time since September, drove home.5 minutes later it was 2-0.Diego showed fine control of a forward ball to round the 'keeper and slot home, then went close after taking a pass from Reece King, choosing to shoot early from 25 yards. At the other end, Rangers lost Cuff to injury as their one threatening attack was thwarted, while ex-Silverlander Brad Grayson looked the most likely visitor to create an opening.

In spite of enjoying the wind behind them, 'the Bucks' started the second half in disappointing fashion. After earning a corner-kick, Stafford's Charles, a descendant of the late, great John, shanked wide in the 51st minute, but barely 60 seconds later a defensive error following a Rangers throw-in allowed Matt Hill, the veteran ex-Q.P.R. defender, a goal-line finish. After earlier displaying such clear superiority, it now seemed possible that 'the Bucks' might now lose their way and so it remained for some 20 minutes until a 3rd home goal effectively settled the outcome. The increasingly influential Tom Elliott forced then took a corner-kick with Connor O'Grady, having replaced the injured Aaron Chalmers at the outset, netting at the far post. Now more fluent 'the Bucks' continued to attack and in the 77th minute Liam Hardy, returning as substitute from injury, scored his 18th goal of the season, forcing home yet another uncleared flag-kick. Diego completed the scoring emphatically 10 minutes on. He took a neat Alex Brown pass and the sheer power of his 12-yard shot defeated the well-placed 'keeper to enter goal under the angle. Hitting the post at the end proved no consolation for the eventually well-beaten Stafford, while the only negative for Buxton was another injury for the unfortunate Kristian Scott, just 5 minutes after his return as substitute.

Sadly Stafford not only lost the match but also the club's good reputation by deliberately disregarding the so-called 'Gentlemen's Agreement' between the clubs, negotiated as part of Brad Grayson's November transfer. The agreement clearly stated that Brad was not to appear for Stafford versus Buxton this season and accordingly was omitted for the earlier meeting between the clubs but was included on Saturday's teamsheet. Representations were made to a Stafford official but to no avail.

Team: Shenton, Curly, Brown, Chippendale (Scott (Lenighan)), N De Girolamo, O’Grady, Orlando-Young (Hardy), King, D De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Harrison & Padden

Saturday 22nd February SOUTH SHIELDS (1) 1 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT. 1508

Buxton achieved a thoroughly deserved draw away to the table-topping Tynesiders on a 4th consecutive wind-blown Saturday. There was no disputing the visitors' right to a point as manager Gary Hayward's recruits, added to the good players he inherited, have been blended into a team which competed effectively throughout, making a nonsense of the 16 placings separating the 2 clubs.

'The Bucks' got off to a flying start with a superb,6th-minute Warren Clarke goal. Grant Shenton had made a good catch under the angle from a Briggs shot and on the counter Clarke won the ball, then his pace in the inside-left channel took him to the edge of the penalty area from where he dispatched a firm, low cross-shot that went in off the far post.

Nor was this an isolated Buxton attack, despite facing a horrible near-gale, blowing from corner to corner, arguably at its worst in the first half. 'The Bucks' battled hard, defended well and, like Shields, sought to play passing soccer on a grassy surface rapidly dried by the unrelenting wind. They looked dangerous going forward. An intelligent Alex Byrne ball, delivered from wide right, forced a corner, then Tom Elliott's next flag-kick rebounded from the angle of near-post and bar.

At the other end a 'Mariners' passing move ended with an inventive back-heel that missed the target but the equaliser arrived at the half-hour. A 2-minute stoppage for injury to Byrne probably accounts for the visiting defenders, at the ensuing throw-in, being caught flat-footed, allowing midfielder Lowe to shoot home from 15 yards. The home side, just prior to the interval, then went close to scoring again in a bizarre incident. Remarkably regularly kicking to half-way, Shenton, the victim of a freak gust versus Gainsborough, this time saw his hefty clearance blown back to the edge of the penalty area and parity in the scores was retained only with difficulty and injury to the 'keeper.

The second half proved goal-less yet produced ample goal-mouth action at both ends. Five minutes in Elliott's pass fed Diego but 'keeper Whitley, who 5 months ago played for York at Buxton, saved at the expense of a corner, then recently signed midfielder, Reece King, enjoying a hard-working, successful debut, sent a through ball that narrowly eluded the main striker. In the last quarter of the match 'the Bucks' took a majority of possession and came close to scoring in a sustained attack which caused some desperate defending and culminated in a 20-yard drive, narrowly wide, by substitute Callum Chippendale, showing just what the team had missed during his 5-month injury absence. Shields had likewise persevered with their passing game, with 1 attack ending in striker Gonzales firing into the side netting, while at the death a Briggs glancing header went close.

 So Buxton again gave a good account of themselves at Mariners' Park, making it just 1 defeat in the 7 away league fixtures since Gary Hayward's arrival and there have now been 4 recent draws versus top-6 teams (with meetings versus the other 2 leading outfits, Warrington and Basford, coming in the next fortnight !).Great credit is also due to strong Durham referee, Craig Dean, who insisted on work being done to get the game on and to chairman, David Hopkins, for his personal investment in the Friday overnight stay for the Buxton party.

Team: Shenton, Curley, Brown, Lenighan (Chippendale), N De Girolamo, Chalmers, Byrne, King, D De Girolamo, Clarke, Elliott (Orlando-Young). Unused Subs: Harrison, O'Grady and Scott


Saturday 8th February BUXTON (1) 3 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (3) 3 ATT 537

Trinity,7 points clear at the top of a 2 months' form table, came looking to extend a 10-match unbeaten run and did so in a richly entertaining game. The very strong corner-to-corner wind blowing from the Railway End had a major impact, with only 1 of the 6 goals scored by a team facing it, but it added to rather than detracting from the spectacle as it created challenges for the players they mostly overcame.

Improving Buxton arguably narrowly shaded the proceedings and deserve much credit for erasing a 2-goal interval deficit. Furthermore, it was 'the Bucks' who suffered most from the wind's capricious nature as Trinity's 3rd goal can only be described as freakish. Home manager, Gary Hayward, could also be pleased with his 2 most recent acquisitions. Attacking midfielder Jordan Nicholson, on home debut and on loan from Hereford, laid on his team's early goal and played a major part in the third, while debutant right-back Matt Curley, newly-signed from Hednesford Town, produced a splendidly accurate,10-yard volley immediately after half-time to put Buxton back in contention at 2-3.

The home side took a 4th-minute lead with a simple but spectacular strike. Nicholson made a pacy,40-yard advance on the right, beating ex-Silverlander Jamie Green en route, before capping his work with an accurate low cross that the onrushing Warren Clarke blasted into goal from 5 yards. Only 2 minutes later the score was only a fraction from being made 2-0 as Diego's low, diagonal ball across the face of goal narrowly evaded the fully-stretching Alex Byrne. Yet oozing with a confidence developed by their successful sequence of results, Trinity hit back to lead by the quarter-hour mark. Firstly, Lincoln City loanee, Adebayo-Smith, netted with a significantly deflected drive, then another ex-Silverlander, Nicky Walker, was played in for a 1-on-1 situation but he was brought down by home 'keeper, Grant Shenton, who was unable to get near Gregg Smith's firmly-struck 'spot-kick' .In between the goals Trinity 'keeper Willis was fortunate, from a mis-hit clearance, to have the ball rebound to him off Diego, and the visitors certainly had luck on their side when their 3rd goal went in just before the half-hour. Smith's speculative high cross caught a gust that swept the ball away from the waiting Shenton and into the net ! Though Trinity were now having the better of the exchanges, Buxton held firm with Shenton making a good, low save from Adebayo-Smith's drive to his near post.

In the second half 'the Bucks' took immediate advantage of having the wind behind them as a left-wing attack gave Curley the opportunity to score.6 minutes on and the best team goal of the game provided the equaliser. Alex Brown did the excellent spade-work on the left and from his superbly accurate low cross, leading scorer Diego skilfully placed the ball wide of Willis.

Only 52 minutes gone and 6 goals scored gave hope of more but though half-chances came and went, the score was unchanged. An Aaron Chalmers slip allowed Adebayo-Smith to shoot but miss the target, while Willis was again lucky that Diego's instinctive stab at the ball in the 6-yard box simply hit him. So the points were shared and both teams had contributed to a splendid advert for NPL soccer despite the inclement weather.

Team: Shenton, Curley, Brown, Lenighan, N De Girolamo, Chalmers, Byrne, Clarke, N De Girolamo, Elliott, Nicholson. Unused Subs: Harrison, Padden, Orlando-Young, Barai & Allen.


Tuesday 4th February STAFFORD RANGERS 0-0 BUXTON ATT 403

Another point towards Premier Division safety, a 'clean sheet' and the unbeaten sequence at Marston Road extended to 8 visits, yet Tuesday evening eventually proved very disappointing for Buxton as this was a victory opportunity missed. Rangers had to operate for an hour with only 10 men but 'the Bucks' had played far better against 11 and spurned the opportunity to put points between themselves and the clubs in the relegation places.

On the one hand, at the outset Buxton were better situated than at Grantham. Of the previously absent quartet, Tom Elliott and Simon Lenighan had returned, the perfect weather was a vast improvement on Saturday and there was a decent pitch on which to perform. Yet bottom-of-the-table Stafford, as expected, were fitter, more resilient opponents than Grantham and ultimately deserved their hard-earned point.

Buxton's performance was indeed puzzling. Though Rangers had an obvious height advantage, 'the Bucks' soon looked to have the better footballers, building some excellent approach work, particularly on the left where Tom Elliott and Jordan Nicholson were well supported by Alex Brown. It seemed only a matter of time before a scoring opportunity was created and so it came in the 35th minute. Elliott's nicely-judged forward pass freed Nicholson for a clear, central run at goal but he was pulled back 25 yards out by right-back Bignot, who immediately saw the referee's red card flourished at him. From the resulting free-kick, Alex Byrne, who had earlier driven a ball low and untouched across the face of goal, now fired a curling effort narrowly over the angle. Soon afterwards only desperate defending and the width of a post deprived loanee Nicholson of his first goal for the club.

The travelling 'faithful' therefore looked forward with relish to the second half but the expected victory simply didn't materialise. Diego's pass soon set up Byrne for a goal attempt close in but instead he chose to part and the opening was gone. The visitors then worked a couple of neat corner-kick routines but to no avail and as time passed 'the Bucks' inexplicably lost the attacking plot. They could find no fluency in passing, conceding possession too easily and too often, allowing Rangers an even share of the play. Their attacking strategy was not subtle, aimed as it was at 6'6'' new 'target-man', Diau, and supplemented whenever viable by long throw-ins. However, Buxton's defenders, notably Nico and the spring-heeled Aaron Chalmers, proved as sound as Stafford's and by the end of the 5 minutes' added time the teams had cancelled each other out.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Scott (Lenighan), N De Girolamo, Chalmers, Nicholson, Clarke (Padden), D De Girolamo, Elliott, A Byrne (Barai). Unused Subs: Harrison & Orlando-Young

Saturday 1st February GRANTHAM TOWN (1) 1 BUXTON (0) 3 ATT 202

3 late goals inside 13 minutes earned Buxton a much-needed and thoroughly well-deserved victory in the first of 3 consecutive '6-pointers' to leapfrog both Saturday's defeated opponents and neighbours ,Matlock Town. This was also a 5th consecutive success for 'the Bucks' at Grantham, a 4th win in the last 5 away matches and a 2nd 'double' of the season. Yet for nearly 50 minutes it seemed that justice would not be done after 'the Gingerbreads' had taken a most surprising lead at the half-hour mark. Ex-Buxton loanee and Town debutant, Curtis Morrison, was the beneficiary of a loose ball and his firm finishing shot inside a post was his team's first serious attempt at goal.

Until then the visitors had been well on top in difficult circumstances.4 front-line players were absent (2 injured and 2 suspended) and for the 2nd consecutive visit to Grantham a howling near-gale blew all afternoon, but the greatest handicap for a Buxton team attempting to play passing soccer was the dry, bumpy pitch. Nonetheless 'the Bucks' dominated possession versus a home team which had taken a mere 4 points from the last 30 available but which had been reinforced by a considerable recent investment in experienced players. Yet the most impressive defender on view was Buxton's Nico, a dominant figure, particularly in the air, while Alex Brown in the first half, assisted by Rod Orlando-Young, advanced regularly on the left, though the crosses delivered lacked accuracy. For 'the Gingerbreads' ,ex-Silverlander Jack Broadhead played a penetrating ball that was intercepted by Aaron Chalmers, but striker Lee Hughes frequently strayed offside, including a 37th minute headed effort that was rightly ruled out. Indeed the veteran was fortunate not to be dismissed early in the second half for an elbow into Brown's face. More of a goal threat was posed by another home debutant, Joel Carta, who first planted a curling cross onto the net roof in the 54th minute and then in the 70th swivelled to drive a shot against the far post. That reprieve certainly constituted the game's first turning-point and it enabled the second 7 minutes later as a penalty award presented Buxton with an equaliser from 'the spot', netted confidently by Diego. How ironic that Grantham should be undone by the ball jagging up from a bump onto a defender's hand! That, however, was the least Buxton deserved as until then the visitors had persevered, mounting serious and regular pressure. The equaliser inspired real belief in the prospect of victory and 2 strikes, both in the 6-yard box and both close to full-time, seized the points. From the 3rd of a trio of corner-kicks, Nico headed the ball back and Diego smuggled the ball over the line for his 23rd goal of a most productive season. Barely had the celebrations subsided when substitute Rumenio Barai netted his first goal for the club to confirm the victory and renew hope of Premier Division soccer next season, by the same token adding to the outplayed Grantham's justifiable anxiety.

And what of 'new boy', Jordan Nicholson? A quality player but on the day handicapped by the uneven surface like so many others, he showed the promise of a future partnership with the likes of fellow attackers, Diego and Tom Elliott. In the 82nd minute he surged into space, forced 'keeper Worsnop to save then put the rebound over the bar as he too found control difficult.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Clarke, N De Girolamo, Chalmers, A Byrne (Barai), Scott, D De Girolamo, Nicholson, Orlando-Young (Padden). Unused Subs: Harrison, K. Byrne & Allen.


Saturday 25th January BUXTON (1) 2 F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER (1) 2 ATT 1206

Brave, battling Buxton, after playing with 10 men for virtually half the match, came within a minute of securing a famous victory, in front of a season's-best home 'gate', versus high-riding F.C. Utd, who had kicked off looking for an 8th consecutive league win. 'The Bucks' started well versus a strangely unsure and seemingly nervy visiting defence and had much the better of the first-half play. Yet 'the Red Rebels' soon created their best scoring chance of the half from open play when Owolabi pulled a low ball back from the by-line but, from a good position, Sinclair-Smith totally missed connection.

By quarter-time Utd manager Reynolds was urging his team to move the ball more quickly but it was Buxton who took a 26th-minute lead through the dangerous Diego, who seized on a bad back-pass to beat 'keeper Belford with an angled, low drive. Returning from injury, Rod Orlando-Young was close to doubling the advantage within a minute, as was Simon Lenighan 4 minutes later. Utd threatened in the 41st minute but Owolabi drove into the side-netting. Then came a major turning-point in the 4 minutes of added time caused by the serious leg injury suffered by the visitors' Alex Curran. Diego broke through again but,1 on 1,fired too high and when Utd returned to the attack a penalty was awarded for a foul and Linney converted for an undeserved equaliser.

The remarkably dramatic opening to the second half was barely under way when Buxton regained the lead, also from the penalty spot, after Diego was fouled. The striker himself netted confidently (in the absence of the injured Liam Hardy) to take his goals tally to 21 in his last 20 (1) appearances. Then, almost immediately, Connor O'Grady's foul on Owolabi at half-way saw him sent off and from that time 'the Bucks' had to withstand increasing pressure, which they did with great and impressive resilience as 'keeper Grant Shenton produced a man-of-the-match display, notably with his feet to thwart Doyle's downward header. The miss-of-the-match, however, fell to Utd's substitute striker, Morecambe loanee Hawley, who,with his first touch, planted a 'free' header from an Ennis lofted pass over the bar. Meanwhile, even without the injured Diego from the hour mark, 'the Bucks' continued to offer an occasional threat on the counter with Alex Byrne now the spearhead and in the 89th minute he, Kristian Scott and Lenighan combined for the latter to shoot over the angle.

And so into the 6 minutes of added time. With substitute Aaron Chalmers an admirable deputy for O'Grady at centre-half, 'the Bucks' continued to hold out and were indeed in sight of a famous victory but were undone by the increasingly influential ex-Silverlander, 'Charlie' Ennis. In the 86th minute he had driven low and untouched across the face of goal then, at the death, he powered a wonder strike from 20 yards under the angle that even Shenton couldn't reach.

That was cruel indeed but for a 4th time 'the Bucks' had surrendered a one-goal lead in the closing minutes (for a total of 8 points lost ! ) to leave the club in 21st place. Yet with more than a third of the season remaining to retain Premier Division status and with the spirit and quality shown in this most enthralling encounter, there is scope for hope!

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Lenighan, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, A Byrne, Scott, D De Girolamo (Harrison), Clarke (Chalmers), Orlando-Young. Unused Subs: Padden, K Byrne & Allen.

Saturday 18th January BAMBER BRIDGE (1) 2 BUXTON (1 ) 1 ATT 362

After 3 consecutive away victories, Buxton had an excellent opportunity to make it 4 on Saturday but paid the penalty for a poor start, followed by a host of missed chances (enough to win 2 or 3 matches !) and capped by a deciding goal shown on camera to be offside !

Misplaced passes and shoddy defensive work handed the initiative to 'Brig' before the home side scored in the 5th minute. Blackpool loanee, Roache, fired a penetrating, diagonal ball in from the right for a former adversary, Richie Allen (ex-Fylde and Salford),to tap into goal. The latter was twice close to causing further damage before 'the Bucks' began to offer a threat around the 20-minute mark, taking control and fashioning as many as 4 clear, goal-scoring chances with purposeful, incisive attacking play then equalising on half-time. Firstly the brittle home rearguard was easily penetrated by Karl Byrne's ball over the top for Diego to latch onto but,1 on 1,he didn't trouble 'keeper Roccia. Then came controversy ! Having gained the referee's earlier approval for the principle of the quick free-kick, 'the Bucks' now took one and 'scored', only then to have to re-take the award! Undaunted, the visitors then produced their most fluent passing move, from right to left, to set up the advancing Alex Brown, perfectly placed for a finishing shot, but a heavy first touch took away the opportunity. Only another minute passed before Kristian Scott, from Diego's pull-back, had a goal-bound shot blocked, then from another accurate through ball Diego, believing himself to be offside (but not flagged !),merely chipped to the 'keeper. Remarkably, in the 44th minute Buxton created yet another glorious opening with a fine move begun on the left. Diego set up the experienced Alex Byrne in space but from 10 yards he opted for power when placement was required and his shot cleared the bar. Ironically, after all these opportunities fashioned in open play, it was from a Tom Elliott corner-kick that Buxton equalised with a powerful Nico near-post header in a puzzling 3rd-minute of added time.

After the interval, 'the Bucks', though not as dominant as previously, continued to press forward but Karl Byrne, attacking on the right, didn't make the most of 3 chances to cross effectively. However, in the 70th minute Diego worked a neat one/two only to fire at the 'keeper from a 16-yards,central position. By then 'Brig', with ex-Silverlander Adam Sumner and the classy Richie Allen forming a dangerous left-flank partnership, had become more threatening than at any time since the opening quarter and in the 82nd minute netted a most fortuitous winner. In an offside position Green shot home and a later referee's apology for an absence of team-work with his assistant was of no consolation to Buxton.

Team: Shenton, K Byrne, Brown, Chalmers, D De Girolamo, O'Grady, A Byrne (Lenighan), Scott, D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy (Clarke). Unused Subs: Mendez-Jones, Harrison & Padden.


Saturday 11th January BUXTON (2) 2 MORPETH TOWN (1) 3 ATT 376

After a good week with 2 away wins versus mid-table opponents, Buxton slipped 2 places as Morpeth came from 2 goals down to secure both victory and a 'double' on a first visit to the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium. On a rainy, cold Saturday 'the Bucks' had looked good value for a lead established by the 20th minute, particularly as they were attacking the Railway End into the teeth of a strong wind and were without regulars Callam Mendez-Jones (ill) and Alex Byrne (1-match suspension).Yet debutant Karl Byrne from Boston Utd at full-back, marauding on the right, and midfielder Simon Lenighan, winning tackle after tackle throughout, proved well worthy of their places. Accordingly, after a quarter-hour, Buxton scored the first of a brace netted within 5 minutes. A right-flank cross picked out Diego and his neat footwork created the space for him to blast his shot high into the roof of the net from close range. Then Sayer's long, lofted back-pass, caught 6 yards out by 'keeper Lowson, gifted 'the Bucks' a 2nd goal as from the free-kick Diego did superbly to find a way through the mass of defenders on the line. It could soon even have been 3-0 as a low cross from the right enabled Liam Hardy to set up Alex Brown for an 8-yard,goal-bound shot that was blocked. The attacking left-back was unfortunate that 2 similar 2nd-half efforts met the same fate.

By the half-hour mark the visitors had recovered their early composure and began to attack with purpose, forcing Grant Shenton to make 2 good saves, but in the 41st minute Town halved their deficit as the opportunist Jack Foalle netted from a corner-kick and he levelled the scores 5 minutes into the 2nd half with a venomous,28-yard snap shot beyond the diving Shenton's reach. Nico's header had gone close at a corner-kick but it was Morpeth who re-started the better and continued in that manner, gaining control of midfield to frequently string passing moves together while 'the Bucks' mostly struggled for fluency. Yet they still managed occasionally to mount dangerous attacks, though frequently thwarted by the experienced Lowson (ex-Spennymoor). Added to Brown's blocked efforts was a Connor O'Grady,18-yard header that went close, but Foalle completed his hat-trick in the 81st minute to achieve his team's remarkable come-back.

Buxton pressed hard for an equaliser and just prior to added time, substitute Ryan Jennings at a corner had a header cleared from the line, while at the very end even Shenton advanced for successive set-pieces but to no avail.

Team: Shenton, K Byrne, Brown, Lenighan, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Scott (Clarke), Chalmers (Jennings), D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy (Barai). Unused Subs: Padden & Hinchley.



After being one down for over 40 minutes,3 goals in a 4-minute spell just past the hour transformed this tie and set Buxton on track for round 3,with a late home reply being too little, too late. A mere 4 of the starting 11 at Witton were involved at kick-off and by 3/4 time only Nico of the quartet remained, yet the youthful 'Bucks' competed well to hold their lead, despite being reduced to 10 men for the last quarter-hour plus with injury to Liam Hardy's replacement, James Handley, after all 3 substitutions had been made.

With such a changed line-up, a major interest for the travelling 'faithful' lay in assessing the value of no less than 6 'new' players figuring in or starting a competitive fixture for the first time. The 5 starters were 'keeper Mitchell Allen, left-back Kieron Hinchley (newly-signed on a month's loan from Alfreton Town),centre-back Alex McQuade (returning from loan),midfielder Ethan Padden and left-winger Rom Barai (both recently 'bench men') and they were joined in the 54th minute by Stoke City scholar and French national, Soiyir Sanali, whose introduction arguably sparked the visitors' recovery.

Until then the tie had been a relatively low-key affair with Sports enjoying a lead fortuitously gained in the 17th minute. Five yards outside the penalty area Padden, filling a centre midfield role, lost his footing on the surface slippery after rain, presenting ex-Matlock midfielder Wright with a sizeable gap to drive into and he comfortably beat Allen from 15 yards. Buxton's only real chance of a first-half equaliser, at the half-hour mark, was spurned by Kristian Scott who headed Hinchley's lofted cross at 'keeper Otoyo.

The second half immediately promised more purposeful action. Allen made a high catch of a free-kick to set off a rapid counter from which Alex Brown, in a rare but confident appearance at right-back, sent a 28-yard,low drive across the face of goal. Sports didn't heed the warning, and at the hour, after the 17 years old Sanali had done well, Brown cut inside, beating 2 defenders, to fire home low and impressively with his favoured left foot. Barely a minute later the quicksilver Sanali was flattened by home centre-back Robinson for an undeniable penalty award and from 'the spot' Ryan Jennings expertly found a bottom corner of the net. Two minutes on and 'Jenno' gave the crowd a glimpse of his undoubted talent. Barai robbed Sports' play-maker Warren  to feed Ryan who rapidly beat 2 defenders to fire fiercely and spectacularly beyond Otoyo's reach into the goal's top corner. Buxton now enjoyed a bonus with the seemingly successful return to action of substitute Warren Clarke, who had been on the injured list for 3 months. The shell-shocked Sports, profiting from their one-man advantage, produced a late flurry and, following Hinchley's foul, Warren scored with an 88th-minute penalty.

(For those who enjoy a sporting coincidence, Greg Young for Sports and Nico were central defenders wearing 6 and named as captains versus clubs they had previously played for !)

Team: Allen, Brown (Clarke), Hinchley, Lenighan, McQuade, N De Girolamo, Jennings, Padden, Hardy (Handley), Scott (Sanali), Barai. Unused Subs: Davies & Maguire

Saturday 4th of January WITTON ALBION (0) 0 BUXTON (0) 2 ATT 313

Buxton's recent revival got back on track on Saturday with a 2nd consecutive away win and a 1st 'double' of the season by inflicting a 3rd consecutive home defeat on mid-table Witton. Victory was undoubtedly well-deserved and was certainly the bravest of the season with 'the Bucks' playing with 10 men from just prior to the interval as recent returnee, Alex Byrne, received a 2nd yellow card (shown as he was stretchered from the pitch with an ankle injury ! ).What's more, it was in the 2nd half that both well-constructed goals were scored to take the points and secure a 1-place rise in the table.

Manager Gary Hayward tweaked his formation to give the returning Aaron Chalmers a holding role in midfield while Diego was deployed as a lone striker but that was only for the opening 22 minutes as 'the Bucks' suffered their 1st setback with his injury. Tom Elliott thereafter became the efficient focal point for attacks, at least until Byrne's departure whereupon Liam Hardy moved to the centre and toiled endlessly for the cause, earning his reward with  the late clinching goal, his 18th of the season (and 144th of his Buxton career).All 3 formations proved successful in the different phases of the game.

Buxton were on the front foot from the outset, establishing control of midfield and forcing early corner-kicks while it took Albion 10 minutes to fashion any sort of attack. The visitors created passing moves and even managed to net just after Diego's departure but Byrne's deliberate handball saw it correctly ruled out and the midfielder punished with his 1st yellow. His 20-yard shot then passed high and wide while Kristian Scott played in Alex Brown but he delayed his chance of a shot and Scott himself all but scored with a ground shot that curled inches wide of the far post. Witton threatened only occasionally and twice had attacks thwarted by the outstanding Connor O'Grady. Meanwhile Byrne was in the thick of the action, being pushed over from behind, off the ball, by home defender Anson, who escaped unpunished, and Alex was then perhaps unlucky to receive a 2nd yellow after a collision with Witton's Wardle. So half-time was reached goal-less and that was a disappointment after Buxton's superiority.

Encouraged by their 1-man advantage, Witton achieved more possession after half-time but struggled to make clear openings as O'Grady, Nico and Grant Shenton in particular were on top form, while 'the Bucks' showed promise on the break. Accordingly, as in the Hyde match, consecutive events at either end constituted a major turning-point except this time it was Buxton being the beneficiary. Shenton's fine block at the near post denied Mitchley's close-range shot and from the resulting corner-kick the visitors countered for substitute Simon Lenighan and Scott to set up Elliott for a neat,66th-minute finish. Witton continued to press forward but resolute defending prevailed and a 2nd Buxton goal looked a distinct possibility. In the 87th minute Scott missed the target after Lenighan's pass fed him but 3 minutes later Scott was the provider for Hardy to apply the finish from 10 yards via 'keeper Renshaw's body. The players' delight at the end was matched by that of the travelling 'faithful'.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Chalmers, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Byrne, Scott, D De Girolamo (Lenighan), Hardy (Barai). Unused Subs: Jennings, Padden & Allen.


Wednesday 1st of January BUXTON (0) 1 HYDE UTD (2) 2 ATT 600

Buxton's mini-revival of 2 hard-fought draws built upon by 2 impressively convincing victories versus Scarborough then Matlock was interrupted by a narrow defeat in the first fixture of 2020.In front of the biggest league crowd of the season to date, swelled by a vociferous visiting following, there was little to choose between the teams until mid-table Hyde netted the 37th minute opener. A 3rd consecutive corner-kick, aerially delivered to the crowded far post, was partially cleared but only to defender Fagbola at the penalty spot and he half-volleyed the ball firmly into the net roof.

Yet an even greater turning-point, and ultimately the result-decider, occurred in first-half added time. Alex Byrne's narrow-angled effort rebounded from the bar to fellow recent newcomer, Kristian Scott, who rather miscued his shot, also against the frame of the goal for Hyde to clear upfield. The visitors' forte is the rapid counter and up the right they went for winger Hughes to convert at close range for a 2-0 interval lead that in no way truly reflected the even first half's play.

United's defence, reinforced since the October 'Trophy' meeting by the addition of ex-Silverlanders, Tom Dean and Brad Roscoe, and with an obvious height advantage, had proved capable of resisting Buxton's progress on the ground, notably in a bright opening quarter-hour. It began with a concerted but vain Buxton appeal for a 'handball' penalty award. That was followed by a spell of consistent home pressure and a free-flowing,10th-minute passing move saw Tom Elliott set up Liam Hardy for a fine diagonal pass to release Byrne but he could force only a corner. Thereafter play became rather scrappy with little goalmouth action until just short of the half-hour when, with a forewarning of the 2nd goal, a Hughes ground shot brought a half-save out of Grant Shenton. Buxton soon responded with a Byrne free-kick from 23 yards out, caught by 'keeper Mewitt under the bar.

After the interval, Buxton again opened brightly and after Elliott was fouled centrally at the edge of the penalty area, his free-kick was touched onto a post and out for a corner. However, 'the Bucks' did halve the deficit 9 minutes in. A passing move from right to left set up Hardy for a penetrating low cross from which Alex Brown totally missed connection only for Diego to make no mistake with a 12-yard drive for his 6th goal in the last 4 games.

This early morale-booster promised more but without reward, despite successive corner-kicks after the hour and Diego's narrow-angled drive over the target 3 minutes later. Elliott floated a left-flank free-kick wide of the far post but drama was again reserved for added time. Hyde substitute Dyche, onfield for only 6 minutes, was punished with a red card for an alleged lunge and a home free-kick saw even Shenton advance but all was to no avail.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Lenighan, N De Girolamo, O’Grady, Byrne, Scott (Chalmers), D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy (Barai). Unused Subs: Jennings, Padden & Allen.


Thursday 26th December MATLOCK TOWN (2) 2 BUXTON (1) 4 ATT. 922

Buxton's revival under the leadership of recently-appointed manager, Gary Hayward, gathered pace in a pulsating 'derby' at Causeway Lane on Boxing Day. Despite conceding twice in the opening 5 minutes, 'the Bucks' ,unchanged from the 5-0 thrashing of Scarborough, battled back to score 4 times without reply,3 of the goals coming in the 2nd half.

In form Matlock, demolished 6-0 in the Easter Monday, last meeting of the clubs, made a dream start as visiting 'keeper, Grant Shenton, possibly fouled, lost his grip on a lofted ball close to goal and ex-Buxton striker, Luke Hinsley, touched in from only a yard. Two minutes later it was 2-0 as new signing, Sam Scrivens, produced an accurate pull-back from the left for Tomas Poole to net with a deflected 10-yard drive.

Liam Hardy went close to scoring for Buxton in a spirited response as he charged down Daniel Wallis's clearance but the ball trickled narrowly wide, then a typical example of Diego's brilliance set up Tom Elliott but 'keeper Wallis saved the shot with his legs. 'The Gladiators' also looked capable of scoring again as the twin spearhead  of Marshall and Hinsley continued to be a threat throughout the half. Yet the next goal came only after injured referee Tankard was replaced by senior assistant Carlile and it was Alex Byrne, with his first strike for 'the Bucks', who halved the deficit in the 39th minute. In a sustained attack shots were twice cleared from the goal-line before the returning midfielder netted low from 15 yards. Buxton's equaliser, coming as it did immediately after half-time, was perhaps the major turning point, particularly as its manner visibly deflated Town. A regulation Aaron Chalmers long throw was allowed to bounce for Hardy to tap in at the near post. It was the striker's 5th goal in the new manager's 4th game in charge. However, injury to Chalmers soon afterwards could have disturbed Buxton's momentum but the capable, experienced Simon Lenighan, making his 2nd substitute appearance, was exactly what was needed as a like-for-like replacement. consistently showing calmness and good judgement. With Buxton now firmly in control the score became 3-2 in the 54th minute as Diego latched onto Elliott's superbly penetrative pass.

The next period was keenly contested. Ex-Buxton trialist, Dwayne Wiley, headed high and wide from Sinnott's free-kick, while a Matlock corner on the hour flew untouched across goal, then a fine Buxton counter set up Byrne for an off-target, curling effort. Marshall did excellent work at the by-line for Matlock but it was the visitors who created the decisive 4th goal. Man-of-the-match, Tom Elliott, in the 87th minute made an interception at half-way and galloped into a gaping hole in the home central defence before unselfishly feeding Diego to complete an easily-taken personal brace. He too has scored 5 goals in the last 4 games with 'the Bucks' achieving a first NPL away victory in 2019/20 and have now netted 10 goals in the last 2 visits to Causeway Lane! What's more, in less than a week, 'the Bucks' have doubled their number of league wins!

Team: Shenton. Mendez-Jones, Brown, Scott, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Byrne (Barai), Chalmers (Lenighan), D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy. Unused Subs: Jennings, Padden & Allen.

Saturday 21st December BUXTON (1) 5 SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (0) 0 ATT 401

Goals certainly change games and 2 penalties, sweetly struck home by leading scorer (and birthday boy !),Liam Hardy, either side of half-time, gave 'the Bucks' an ascendancy they never looked like squandering. Both were awarded for fouls on the quicksilver Diego, the first by 'keeper Taylor as the striker was in the act of lobbing towards goal and the second by centre-back Barrett as Diego burst through centrally. Neither offender was punished further.

With his team now playing with zest and confidence, it was Diego himself who made it 3-0 just past the hour, skilfully extricating himself from a cluster of penalty area defenders to shoot home low and across Taylor into the far side-netting. Eleven minutes on the in-form striker completed his brace of goals with the afternoon's most spectacular strike. Aaron Chalmers found him unmarked 20 yards out with a superb, curling pass and Diego drove the ball into the roof of the net. Ten minutes later Buxton went nap with a well-constructed, rapid counter-attacking goal. From a 'Boro corner, newly-introduced substitute, Simon Lenighan, with perhaps his first touch for the club, set debutant Alex Byrne, returning for a second spell, away on the right and his pass enabled Tom Elliott, netting a classy first Silverlands goal, to make it 5-0.

So Buxton achieved a first victory for recently-appointed manager, Gary Hayward, who has built on previous encouraging displays versus 2 other top-half teams to field a side looking capable of improving the club's fortunes. He has brought in good attacking players such as Byrne, Elliott and the quietly efficient Kristian Scott and versus 'the Seadogs' these midfielders more than compensated for the absence of the injured Brian Wilson.

Not that this was an easy victory. 'Boro, fresh from their biggest league victory of the season so far, more than held their own for 40 minutes as their 5-man midfield largely smothered Buxton's attempts to build attacks. There were exceptions, such as in the 3rd minute when Diego had a shot blocked for a corner and in the 35th Hardy played him in but he chose to shoot to earn a corner when a pass to the well-placed Elliott would surely have proved more productive. For the visitors Assenso had a 6th-minute chance but headed wide from a lofted free-kick, while just prior to the first goal, Walshaw blasted a centrally-placed,19-yard free-kick high over the bar. Then, as goals came regularly at the Railway End in the second half, 'Boro forced several corners but home 'keeper Grant Shenton's immaculate display kept a 'clean sheet'.

And so to the Boxing Day visit to Matlock (3p.m.).It will be too much to expect a repetition there of Easter Monday's 6-0 mauling of the 'old enemy', but at least 'the faithful' will travel with increased hope of a favourable outcome.

Team: Shenton. Mendez-Jones, Brown, Scott (Padden), N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Byrne, Chalmers, D De Girolamo (Lenighan), Elliott, Hardy (Barai). Unused Subs: Jennings & Allen.


Saturday 14th December NANTWICH TOWN (0) 2 BUXTON (2) 2 ATT 331

For a second consecutive week Buxton earned a deserved point in an entertaining encounter versus a team favoured to take all three at the outset when ninth-placed Nantwich stood eleven places higher and had won 6 of 8 NPL home fixtures, whereas the visitors had yet to win away in the league. What's more, 'the Dabbers' had been impressive 2-1 winners in the August first meeting.

Manager Gary Hayward and assistant Mark Ward had every right to feel very pleased with their team's first-half performance which saw a deserved 2-goal lead established, lacking only a third to make a home revival less likely. Buxton's game plan worked a treat as midfield, supplemented by debutant Kristian Scott from Hednesford (in for the departed Jude Oyibo),competed effectively with Brian Wilson acting as 'escort' to Town's potential play-maker, Cooke, and Tom Elliott prompting skilfully.

'The Bucks' made a most positive start as Elliott and Diego were close to playing in Liam Hardy, who did, however, give his team an 8th-minute lead from a well-rehearsed, imaginative corner-kick routine that saw the striker head home from Diegp's short, lofted cross to the far post. Next, Hardy's 20-yard,angled drive was touched over the bar by 'keeper Hall, though no corner-kick was awarded by mediocre referee Ryder. 'The Bucks' were pressing well and 'the Dabbers', deploying a lone striker and 2 wide men, posed little threat until after going 0-2 down in the 33rd minute. Alex Brown and Tom Elliott developed a left-flank move for Diego again to impress with a superbly accurate, close-range finish from the by-line. The second goal awakened Nantwich and within 5 minutes, from a corner, the unmarked Langley planted a header against the bar and then a left-flank move and cross forced Nico to head over his own bar.

The visitors preserved their advantage to half-time when Town's manager made a major change of strategy with strikers Joe Malkin and the ex-Stoke veteran, Ricardo Fuller, rolling back the years, being introduced. This was a game-changing switch and paid off within 8 minutes as a corner-kick to the far post was headed home by Joe Davis, son of former 'Dabbers' and Crewe manager, Steve. On the hour Cooke's 25-yard free-kick cleared the angle, then Malkin's header from Mwasile's right cross also cleared the bar as Town pressed for an equaliser. Wilson, harshly cautioned for a foul when worse went unpunished, had to be substituted and Jennings's overhead kick, high and wide, was a rare Buxton attempt on goal before Nantwich equalised in the 67th minute by putting together a passing move for Malkin to drive home from 10 yards. The home side continued to apply pressure and 8 minutes on a Hughes 25-yard effort brought a fine save out of Grant Shenton. 'The Bucks' defended resolutely to survive the pressure and late on the visitors even looked the more likely winners. From a free-kick Connor O'Grady shot over then, at the death, Aaron Chalmers all but got a near-post, vital headed touch to a lofted Elliott corner-kick.

So the proverbial 'game of 2 halves' resulted in a deserved sharing of the spoils and Buxton's management team can take heart from an encouraging, spirited display that again promises better for the immediate future. And for those who favour 'the horses for courses' theory, Buxton have now lost just once in 11 visits to the Weaver Stadium.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones, Brown, Wilson (Jennings), N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Scott, Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy. Unused Subs: Padde, Kilner, Davies and Campbell.  


Saturday 7th December BUXTON (0) 1 LANCASTER CITY (1) 1 ATT 326

Gary Hayward's highly eventful debut as Buxton's manager proved equally promising for the club's quest to climb away from the foot of the table. Buxton more than matched their 2nd-placed rivals and arguably should have won as a couple of good chances, one in each half, were denied by fine defending. Despite the early loss to injury of Callam Mendes-Jones (the curse on Buxton debutants striking yet again),the home defence was sound indeed and 'the 'Bucks', after an even first half, had the better of the 2nd,playing into a strong wind as they attacked the Railway End.

Yet unfortunately this thoroughly entertaining encounter will likely be recalled more for the contentious refereeing incidents that both marred it and probably shaped the result. As early as the 2nd minute referee Hussain ruled out what seemed a cleanly headed goal by the centre-back, Nico. Then just prior to the interval he inexplicably awarded 'the Dolly Blues' a penalty for handball as a 20-yard free-kick was blasted into the defensive wall. Unerringly, midfielder Rob Wilson found a corner of the net from 'the spot'.

Feelings were still running high as the second half began and home assistant-manager Mark Ward was dismissed after an exchange of words with an assistant. Yet within a minute it was Buxton's turn for a penalty award for handball and Liam Hardy netted via diving 'keeper Ashton's outstretched arm. Diego's shot had seemed to strike a defender's shoulder as he turned.

After that early disallowed goal, play was even with 'the Bucks' showing plenty of promise through the pace of winger Jude Oyibo and the inventiveness of 2nd debutant, Tom Elliott, while the on-form defence coped well as the confident visitors, prompted by midfielder Cowperthwaite, attacked in numbers. Both Aaron Chalmers and Nico were prepared to head over their own crossbar to relieve the pressure of dangerous crosses. The first clear scoring chances, however, fell to 'the Bucks' as Elliott neatly played in Diego but 'keeper Ashton saved with his legs, then from the follow-up Liam Hardy headed wide at the far post. For City veteran midfielder Norris fired in a fierce shot directly at Grant Shenton.

Following the penalty incidents Buxton shaded both possession and scoring chances as they passed the ball well, enjoying a prolonged spell of pressure as the match entered its final quarter. A penetrating Chalmers cross close to goal evaded all in the 74th minute, then 4 minutes later visiting right-back Fensome made a brilliant, point-saving intervention. Diego had robbed Ashton close to a corner of the penalty area and set himself for a decisive finishing shot only for Fensome to clear athletically close to the goal-line.

So Buxton produced a spirited performance that pleased the club's new management and gave supporters hope for a brighter immediate future, with the prospect also of further early additions to the playing staff.

Team: Shenton, Mendez-Jones (Nicolaou), Brown, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Oyibo, Chalmers (Howarth), D De Girolamo, Elliott, Hardy (Kilner). Unused Subs: Jennings & Handley.


Saturday 30th November BUXTON (0) 0 MICKLEOVER SPORTS (1) 1 ATT 335

Visiting Mickleover shaded this Derbyshire 'derby' by virtue of a well-struck 8th-minute effort by ex-Burton and Coventry forward, Stuart Beavon. Try as they might, Buxton struggled to create clear openings and with the victors well-served in central defence by the physically imposing Pablo Mills plus captain and ex-Silverlander, Greg Young, but 'the Bucks' were equally sound at the back, with back-to-form Alex Brown named 'Man-of-the-Match'. Even so, Sports were able to complete their first-ever 'double' versus Buxton to leave the managerless home team worryingly close to the foot of the table.

Sports started well and a precise passing move on the right earned a corner from which a firm Mills header forced a tip-over save by 'keeper Grant Shenton at the expense of another flag-kick. From that the ball was only half-cleared to Beavon,18 yards out, and his fine finish found the top corner of the net. 'The Bucks' responded immediately and Jude Oyibo made progress through the midfield to set up advancing right-back Kyle Harrison for a neatly-worked one-two that took him into the penalty area. When he went down under challenge an 11th-minute penalty award seemed certain but referee Rogers didn't oblige.

 Lady Luck continued to frown on Buxton after the interval as home debutant winger, Rod Orlando-Young, was stretchered away after a thunderous collision with an opponent, while the referee denied Buxton another penalty award as Diego was felled only for the free-kick to be placed inches outside the penalty area at the by-line. Sports also had their moments in attack and home skipper Connor O'Grady had to make a vital, expert tackle on Warren in the first half, while late on veteran, much-travelled striker, Lee Hughes, had a close-range shot blocked and he sent the rebound wide of a post.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Oyibo (Howarth), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy. Orlando-Young (Jennings). Subs Not Used: Kilner, Handley & Nicolaou.

Saturday 23rd November STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (1) 2 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT 423

There had been 4 draws in the 5 meetings between the clubs in the previous 13 months but at no time on Saturday did 'the Bucks' look likely to win the latest encounter as Celtic was the better team throughout. It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance by Buxton in that there were excellent performances in defence by skipper Connor O'Grady and Nico, assisted by Alex Brown and Grant Shenton, but in possession 'the Bucks' showed neither confidence nor conviction and therefore rarely troubled 'Man Utd' loanee custodian, Fojticek.

The visitors had an early warning as Hobson was allowed time to turn and shoot but there was no escape in the 10th minute as Mantack fed Ustabasi on the left and from his accurate pull-back midfielder Dent shot firmly home from 18 yards. Midway through the half there was some temporary hope of a revival as a defender's slip let in Liam Hardy but only a corner resulted, before Fojticek dropped the ball for a dubious free-kick to be awarded. Then a Shenton long kick for an Aaron Chalmers header on all but played Hardy in, while Brown, ghosting in, couldn't direct his 15-yard header on target as he met a lofted cross by debutant, Rod Orlando-Young, whose presence was particularly welcome after Jude Oyibo declared himself injured. However, 'Bridge soon resumed control and 'the Bucks' were fortunate to see Bakkor's drive find the bar rather than the net just prior to half-time.

When Celtic did double their advantage in the 48th minute it was a Brad Roscoe passing error 25 yards from his own goal that set them up, with the other visiting defenders understandably caught out and powerful ex-Oldham striker Osei fired fiercely into the net roof. His team continued to dominate with Shenton frequently called into significant action, including a couple of hair-raising moments as he raced from goal, and the central defenders heroic in preventing further strikes. All 3 Buxton substitutes were deployed but Celtic's composure was undisturbed in adding to last Saturday's deserved victory at Matlock.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe (Harrison), Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Howarth (Jennings), Chalmers, N De Girolamo, Hardy (Kilner), Orlando-Young. Unused Subs: Nicolaou & Campbell

Saturday 16th November ATHERTON COLLIERIES (0) 1 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT. 332

25 years has elapsed since Buxton's only previous visit to Alder Street when an infamous F.A. Cup defeat, versus a side then 3 levels lower, provided arguably the club's worst result in the competition. The pain of Saturday's outcome nowhere near matched that feeling but nonetheless the draw felt something like a defeat as for the 3rd time this season 'the Bucks' conceded a very late equaliser (as had happened versus Scarborough and Bamber Bridge) and therefore 2 more important points. In the 6th of an exaggerated 8 minutes of added time, referee Corrigan awarded Colls a penalty for a foul on left-back Peet and Bentham comfortably beat Grant Shenton.

The gutsy if limited home side had battled to the last but the resilient,sound,5-man visiting defence looked to have secured the victory after being under pressure for much of the second half. That situation was self-inflicted as only 2 minutes after Buxton had taken the lead Jude Oyibo had a golden chance to make the score 2-0 but spurned it. From a Connor O'Grady headed pass near half-way, Aaron Chalmers played a superb through ball and Jude's pace took him 2 yards clear of the central defenders in the inside-right channel with only the 'keeper to beat, but his 18-yard shot missed the far post by a yard. The miss looked potentially decisive even then, during a spell of Buxton pressure while playing up the slope, but more so after the interval when the visitors almost totally lost their way as an attacking force, at least until the closing minutes when again the victory could have been sealed. As a result, Colls were allowed to gain a grip on play that their general lack of quality barely warranted.

Buxton retained the successful 5-3-2 set-up of Tuesday but there was a pre-match set-back when the referee wouldn't allow leading scorer Liam Hardy to play with the new guard for his damaged hand. Both sides looked capable of first-half goals but it was 'the Bucks' who went closest. Indeed in the 21st minute they probably did score but the blameless assistant's view was obstructed by a mass of bodies ! From a typically well-placed Diego free-kick, a Chalmers downward header caused chaos with several shots raining in, including one by Jude that nearby observers of both camps claimed to have passed over the line. Nonetheless, just 3 minutes later, a goal did come following a free-kick and several headers along the 6-yard line before Nico's went in.

Atherton also made chances. Early on striker Bentham stabbed at winger Hardcastle's low cross, with the ball hitting Shenton rather than being saved by him. Then after the goal the winger fired low across goal before he and Bentham set up Smith for a raking, angled drive that clipped the top of the bar, while Kyle Harrison (later injured and substituted by loanee Yianni Nicolaou) booted giant centre-back Thompson's header off the line.

After a first period in which Buxton had looked the superior side, the 2nd half was distinctly disappointing as the lack of a 2nd goal was all too apparent. When in possession 'the Bucks' were devoid of forward thrust, seeming to lack the self-belief to take the match by the scruff of the neck. Yet by contrast Buxton's defending was superb and further late opportunities to double the lead appeared. In one attack defender Thompson suffered a sudden injury at the by-line, allowing Diego to shoot but 'keeper Hartley saved, then in the 88th minute a 19-yard free-kick was blasted high over the bar, while 2 minutes before the equaliser a Diego shot from a narrow angle hit the outside of a post.

Team: Shenton, Harrison (Nicolaou), Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Roscoe, Howarth, Chambers, D De Girolamo, Oyibo (Jennings), Wilson. Unused Subs: Handley, Kilner & Campbell.

Tuesday 12th November BUXTON (2) 3 ILKESTON TOWN (0) 0 ATT 91 INTEGRO ( LEAGUE CUP) ROUND 1

After exiting 2 cup competitions in the past week, on Tuesday evening 'the Bucks' made sure it wasn't 3rd time unlucky with a positive performance that earned a comfortable passage into the next round of the league cup by 3 clear goals. What's more, the win could have been still more convincing as 'the Bucks' struck the goal frame 3 times without reward ! Both clubs fielded strong teams, with only Kyle Harrison and Jude Oyibo rested but named on the Buxton substitutes' bench as Salford loanee, Yianni Nicolaou, was given his debut at right wing-back and Alex Brown was restored to the left flank to produce an improved personal display in prompting attacks as the 3 centre-backs did most of what defending was necessary. Mark Howarth made a successful home debut in midfield

Buxton developed a good tempo from the outset, also clearly showed a resolve to make up for Saturday's disappointment and took a 4th-minute lead. Diego, who all evening proved too much of a handful for the visiting defence, forced a corner and then delivered the ball onto the head of Aaron Chalmers for a powerful effort that was parried by the 'keeper back to the midfielder with Aaron then blasting the ball home. Buxton continued to penetrate in attack and a fine Brad Roscoe pass and a fortunate bounce freed Nicolaou on the right but he fired wide from 7 yards. Versus Witton Diego had struck the Railway End crossbar 3 times in 3 minutes and just before the half-hour, in the same time span, he sent in 2 shots that rebounded first from the post, then from the bar's underside as time and again he made space for himself. However, it was Liam Hardy, in true predator style, who doubled his team's advantage in the 33rd minute. He robbed ex-Coalville centre-back Freeman 20 yards out, expertly rounded the 'keeper and slotted home for his 11th goal of the season.

Half-time marked the introduction of substitute Jude but provided no permanent respite for the visitors as 'the Bucks' thereafter maintained their positive approach and within 5 minutes had put the outcome beyond doubt. Jude escaped markers on the left but his somewhat inaccurate square pass forced Diego back to collect it, yet the in-form striker still managed to turn and find the net for his 10th goal in 9 games. Though no more goals followed, there were further notable home attacks, with Brown frequently involved and from one such Diego fired high and wide and from another Sam Kilner had a goal-bound shot blocked, while in the 73rd minute it was Jude's turn to see a penalty-area drive strike the underside of the bar.

Late on, Ilkeston, standing 2nd in Division One (South-East) and throughout enjoying ample possession, at last looked more like piercing a sound home rearguard as substitute Rod Orlando Young fired a speculative 25-yard effort over the bar and Grant Shenton rushed out to thwart Fyfe but the home side's 'clean sheet' was preserved.

Team: Shenton, Nicolaou, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Roscoe, Howarth, Chalmers (Kilner), D De Girolamo (Dwyer), Hardy (Oyibo), Wilson. Unused Subs: Harrison & Jennings.

Saturday 9th November COLNE FC (1) 3 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT 191 F.A.TROPHY, 2ND QUALIFYING ROUND

Two decisive goals within 5 minutes in the last quarter-hour eliminated Buxton from the 'Trophy' in east Lancs. on Saturday. There was little to choose between the teams until that late Colne surge as any of all 3 results seemed possible. Indeed it was 'the Bucks' who looked the more likely to snatch victory as twice within 3 minutes the home side had vital slices of luck to keep level. In the 78th minute Brad Roscoe's lofted free-kick was met with a punch by ex-Curzon 'keeper Burton but the ball rebounded from a defender's back towards goal to be cleared by the only but conveniently-placed defender. Two minutes later another penetrating visiting attack produced a shot deflected into the 'keeper's hands. However, from there Colne broke swiftly to take a 2-1 lead. Those closing minutes were laced with ample irony as firstly it was substitute Billy Hasler-Cregg, the ex-Buxton winger, who delivered a superb curling cross from the right for Hughes to net virtually at the near post. The shell-shocked 'Bucks' then conceded the 'coup de grace' 4 minutes later from another well-constructed Colne attack. Started with a fine pass by experienced left-back Pugh, who was fortunate still to be on the field following an earlier undetected stamp on Diego, striker Harris played in Callum Chippendale's elder brother, Aidan, for a firm,16-yard finishing shot off diving 'keeper Grant Shenton's glove after rounding Colne-based Brad Roscoe. To their credit the visitors pressed hard for an unlikely recovery but all they could muster versus a resolute home rearguard were 2 corners and a wayward Diego shot.

For their first visit to Colne in 30 years, Buxton made just one enforced change from the team that faced Ashton a week ago as new loan signing, Mark Howarth (20) from Salford City, replaced the departed Dale Whitham in midfield. Playing on Holt House's 2-way slope is nowadays a unique experience (with the long-since demise of Horwich R.M.I.'s infamous Grundy Hill) but there was little goalmouth action in the first half-hour as Buxton played up the pronounced slope, the only goal-bound attempts by Colne's Hughes and visiting midfielder, Brian Wilson, comfortably clearing the bar. However, showing the confidence of a team which had ousted South Shields from the F.A. Cup, Colne displayed promise with purposeful, rapid movements around target-man Harris and went ahead in the 33rd minute. From a cross by Southport loanee winger, Homson-Smith, Hazeldine's shot was blocked but the ball fell perfectly for the lurking Pugh to volley well beyond the rooted Shenton's reach. In response, Liam Hardy worked a neat 1-2 with the by-now settled newcomer, Howarth, but dragged his shot wide of the far post, yet Colne went close to doubling their lead as Azam's right cross skimmed the head of the well-placed, leaping Hughes. Nonetheless Buxton created a dramatic equaliser just prior to the interval. Jude Oyibo's scintillating, trademark run through midfield past 3 defenders set up Diego and, after rounding the 'keeper, he slotted home from the narrowest of angles for his 9th goal in 8 games.

In the second half the visiting 'faithful' had hopes that their favourites would dominate down the slope but exchanges continued to be even. Diego had a 21-yard effort deflected just wide and similarly Connor O'Grady's header from an Aaron Chalmers' lofted free-kick went close. Then Colne had a near-miss as a Harris shot was deflected and sent spinning into the air to land on the bar, while Hasler-Cregg's pace up the right produced a shot saved by Shenton with his legs. And so to that most deflating finale which brought Buxton's second exit from a cup competition in the week.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Harrison, N de Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Howarth (Brown), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy, Oyibo. Unused Subs: Jennings, Dwyer, Kilner, Nicolaou

Tuesday 5th November BUXTON (0) 0 BELPER TOWN (2) 2 DERBYSHIRE SENIOR CUP, ROUND 3 ATT 106

The simple truth of Buxton's Tuesday evening county cup exit is that the home side, starting without 6 of the players who began the previous game, didn't have enough quality overall to match Grant Black's successful Division One (S/E) outfit. As in the Ashton fixture last Saturday, the visitors were clearly superior in the first half, scoring twice in the opening 19 minutes and looking capable of more as ex-Silverlanders Steve Ridley, now 36 but directing play from centre midfield, and lively, mobile forward George Milner caught the eye.

With a view to next Saturday's tricky 'Trophy' tie at Colne, who saw off South Shields in the F.A. Cup, manager Paul Phillips rested key players but gave debuts to defender Zac Corbett (23),signed from Warrington Town, and winger Luca Navarro (19),a former Bolton Wanderers scholar, while forward Aaron Dwyer played a full match for the first time. Though second-best and struggling to cope defensively, 'the Bucks' nonetheless created several clear openings, particularly early on, yet their shooting was collectively off-target, but not by much !

A defensive error allowed ex-Matlock midfielder, Charlie Dawes, the chance to fire an accurate,19-yard,low drive beyond the reach of 'keeper Grant Shenton for a 7th-minute lead but 'the Bucks' responded effectively. An Aaron Chalmers,22-yard free-kick curled wide, then Ryan Jennings set up Sam Kilner for a 20-yard effort across the face of goal. Jennings himself was narrowly wide and so was Navarro from similar range with a free-kick, but in between, ex-Frickley man, Danny South, had made it 2-0,prodding home close in following a throw-in. The visitors continued to threaten with Milner's goal-bound shot deflected wide and a team-mate's shot hitting the bar, but Kilner and Jennings had good shots blocked as half-time approached.

Brian Wilson was introduced at the interval but the addition of his experience and accurate passing from deep in midfield was soon cancelled out by the loss to injury of Chalmers. The first half's pattern continued as both sides looked capable of scoring. Ridley's free-kick evaded all close to goal and Milner worked an opening but shot over the top, while both Jennings and Dwyer had free-kick opportunities just outside the penalty area but couldn't narrow the deficit.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Corbett, Kilner, Navarro (Handley), Chalmers (Campbell), Hopkins (Wilson, Jennings, Dwyer. Unused Subs: Bevan & Samba.

Saturday 2nd November BUXTON (1) 1 ASHTON UTD (2) 2 ATT 402

Victory on Saturday would have seen 'the Bucks' leapfrog neighbours Ashton but it was the visitors who took the points to further their recent revival by virtue of a superior first-half display and a brace of penalties fired home by striker Wilson inside 12 minutes. The home side had more of the game after half-time but the nearest to an equaliser was hitting the bar twice without reward.

Unchanged from the 11 which had completed the Hyde victory, the full-backs however swopped flanks for the first hour, while Dale Whitham in midfield made his last appearance before the expiry of his month's loan from Alfreton Town. 'The Bucks' got off to a flying start, scoring in the 4th minute from a Diego 19-yard free-kick at the corner of the penalty area. Perhaps distracted by the nearby presence of 2 home forwards, 'keeper Worsnop saw the curling effort find the far side netting. Ashton responded positively and within a quarter-hour were ahead after undeniable fouls by Jude Oyibo and Brad Roscoe were punished from 12 yards as each time Wilson comfortably beat 'keeper Grant Shenton. The visiting midfield trio of Rowney, Tomsett and Field was dictating play but it was the left flank duo of veteran left-back Nicky Clee and former £1 million striker, Jordan Slew, who created a string of openings. Clee's pull-back from the by-line set up Casian Anghel for a shot that was blocked while from the right Lufudu's curling cross evaded all in front of goal. For Buxton first Jude then Liam Hardy provided a threat from the flanks without being able to create clear openings but the half closed with unproductive power drives by the visiting attacking full-backs.

Despite the loss to injury of Liam Hardy at the interval, 'the Bucks' came more into the game after half-time but the absence of the leading scorer deprived them of sharpness in attack and the nearest they came to an equaliser was twice to hit the bar. Firstly just past the hour an Aaron Chalmers free-kick set up skipper Connor O'Grady for a flicked back-header but when the ball rebounded from the frame, Nico drove it high over the top. Then in the last minute of added time, following a spell of sustained home pressure, Brian Wilson drove Buxton's last chance of an equaliser against the top of the bar from 20 yards.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Harrison, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Whitham (Dwyer), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy (Jennings), Oyibo. Unused Subs: Kilner, Brown & Hopkins.

Saturday 26th October BUXTON (1) 3 HYDE UNITED (2) 2 ATT 360 Buildbase F.A. TROPHY,1ST QUALIFYING ROUND

A 96th-minute goal by leading scorer Liam Hardy shaded the 'Trophy' tie in Buxton's favour as the home team battled back from 1-2 with just 5 minutes of normal time left. It was cruel on Hyde, with only 5 of the team that had started the August meeting between the clubs but including ex-Silverlander Luis Morrison and summer trialist Cyril Owolabi, that the winning goal put 'the Bucks' ahead for the only time as the visitors had the better of the second half after an evenly-contested first period. United had scored early and late in the opening 45 minutes with the De Girolamo brothers in each half providing the equalisers to set up the dramatic conclusion.

Despite being unchanged, only rarely did 'the Bucks' find the drive and fluency in their attacking play that had marked last Saturday's impressive defeat of Witton, with several players below their best, though never lacking in effort. The teams traded early goals with Hyde's opener in the 11th minute simply fashioned. Ex-Port Vale striker Dan Turner made space on the right for a curling low cross and the centrally-placed Tom Pratt stabbed the ball home. Seven minutes later Nico equalised. A wayward defensive header saw 'keeper Mewitt just beating Jude Oyibo to it, but from the resulting Diego corner-kick an outrageously 'free' header by Aaron Chalmers was driven home at close range. With little to choose between the sides, 'the Bucks' went close to another goal as Mewitt again had to be alert to similarly deprive Diego after an Owolabi error, but in the quarter-hour prior to the interval the visitors enjoyed their best spell of the tie. Tongue unleashed a 22-yard power-drive that was saved low by Grant Shenton at the expense of a corner, then Benns fired in a ground shot caught and held by the 'keeper. Buxton responded and again went close to scoring following a corner. With the ball not cleared, Diego crossed for home skipper, Connor O'Grady, to power a header less than a yard wide of a post. Next Jude went down in the box under pressure from behind but was penalised for handball as he fell. However, a penalty was awarded at the other end for a similar offence committed by O'Grady and Paddy Lane comfortably netted for a 2-1 lead. At this point home fans could be excused for a feeling of déjà-vu as a similar scenario had unfolded in the club's August encounter.

After the interval, with Hyde enjoying a majority of possession, the visitors forced a series of unproductive corner-kicks, though Tongue's third landed on the bar and passed behind. Only an early Buxton attack threatened an equaliser as Liam Hardy cut in from the left to fire a delightful, curling shot narrowly beyond the far post, but in general forward progression was pedestrian though not helped by frequent stoppages and some visitors' time-wasting. Then, rather surprisingly, Diego netted his team's second equaliser. A free-kick 21 yards out was taken short and the striker's shot found the net inside the far post but the assistant's flag was raised. A brief consultation resulted in referee Ball over-ruling him on the grounds that the offside Hardy had not obscured the 'keeper's view. Buxton now pressed hard yet a replay seemed favourite until the last minute of added time when Diego played in debutant forward, Aaron Dwyer. He delayed his shot but from the resulting corner Liam somehow squeezed home his shot through a forest of legs.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown (Roscoe), N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Whitham (Dwyer), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy, Oyibo. Unused Subs: Jennings, Kilner & Phillips

Saturday 19th October BUXTON (0) 2 WITTON ALBION (0) 0 ATT 417

A brace of very well-taken,2nd-half goals inside 10 minutes by the excellent Diego De Girolamo earned Buxton a much-deserved victory versus 9th-placed Witton, who had won twice in the past week including an impressive defeat of runaway league-leaders, South Shields. What may be remembered most from this entertaining encounter ,however, was Diego striking the bar 3 times in as many minutes without scoring at the climax of a first half of increasing Buxton dominance.

Albion included a clutch of recent signings but, though enjoying a decent share of possession, in defence struggled to contain Buxton's potent attackers, particularly in that exciting opening period which offered so much hope for the club's future prospects. From start to finish in the 45 minutes, 'the Bucks' mounted one fluent passing move after another, lacking only a goal.

In the very first minute such an attack set up Diego for a narrow-angled drive that cleared the junction of post and bar. There followed a 19-yard free-kick and ensuing corner before Jude Oyibo, fed by Brian Wilson's pass, sent a low cross-shot inches wide of the far post. Diego had a 25-yard effort saved low by Renshaw, who, midway through the half, tipped over a goal-bound Dale Whitham flick. From the resulting corner, Aaron Chalmers planted a header onto the net roof. And so it went on; with home pressure mounting, Jude dragged a low shot wide before the half's breath-taking conclusion. Firstly Diego, in behind Renshaw, hit the bar with his shot as he tried to clear the 2 defenders on the goal-line, then did it again as the corner-kick wasn't dealt with and even a third time with a fierce strike from 20 yards !

Witton in the first half had passed the ball about accurately but the home defence, pleasingly sound to achieve a 3rd 'clean sheet' in 4 games and driving away the F.C. Utd demons, limited the visitors' threat mostly to the long throws of loanee left-back Baldwin. With Chippendale and Roscoe absent, skipper for the day and centre-back, Connor O'Grady was outstanding. The visitors had a better start to the second half but soon had a warning of Buxton's continuing intent as Chalmers went close from fully 35 yards. Then at the hour Albion survived again as a succession of shots rained in on goal and Baldwin had to clear from close to the line.However,4 minutes later Diego scored the first of his brace that his own and his team's play so richly deserved. Both were set up by the much-improved Dale Whitham. The first featured the striker beating Renshaw with a deft,angled,12-yard shot to find the far top corner, while the second, from similar range but more central, saw him wrong-foot the 'keeper before placing his shot inside a post. Thereafter 'the Bucks' ensured victory by calm, sensible play to see out time and prevent any semblance of a Witton recovery. A rise of 3 places from the foot of the table was their reward for another impressive home performance that truly belied their lowly league position.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Whithan (Kilner), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy, Oyibo. Unused Subs: Jennings, Bevan & Hopkins.


Tuesday 15th October GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0-0 BUXTON ATT. 347

After a roller-coaster of a week with a 7-0 defeat following a 7-0 victory, Tuesday saw a far more predictable result for teams which had failed to score last Saturday. Though failing to find the goal to earn the full points that would have seen 'the Bucks' overtake Trinity in the table, they at least had the confidence-booster of a 'clean sheet' and arguably were better pleased with a point than their rivals.

Six months ago these teams were battling for the final play-off place but, totally unexpectedly, they both now need points to escape from the division's basement. Trinity had ample possession without creating much and the renewed resilience of the visiting defence was enough to thwart the home team. 'The Bucks' made a few chances in each half but their best period was the game's last quarter immediately after Diego, injured on Saturday, had joined the action. His hold-up play allowed the visitors to develop more fluent attacks, such as the one in the 76th minute which could have brought a winner. Kyle Harrison, returning at left-back in place of Alex Brown, worked a neat one-two only to drag his 18-yard shot wide of the far post. In the first half he had tried his luck with a firm,28-yard effort that was not far wide, but there was little else for visiting fans to remember in the opening period as there was too much aerial long ball that was easily cut out by the trio of home centre-backs. Another exception to the otherwise disappointing half in attack was the 44th-minute chance created by Martin Pilkington's curling,22-yard shot, pawed away by 'keeper Willis but only to Aaron Chalmers, whose first-time effort from the edge of the penalty box flew high and wide.

Trinity, with 4 ex-Silverlanders in their ranks (Jamie Green, an unused substitute, Joe Maguire and Ash Worsfold) passed the ball about accurately enough but only the pacy Curtis Morrison, the 4th of the 4,threatened to carve out a clear opening. Early in the second half, after Nico's fine tackle robbed ex-Frickley striker, Gavin Allott, Morrison won the corner from which Grant Shenton had to save a close-range shot with his legs but otherwise the Buxton 'keeper wasn't seriously troubled. Indeed it was his team late in the evening that looked the more likely to score the vital goal as newcomer Jacob Bevan, a 6-feet tall, rangy forward and aged 25,made his debut as substitute in the closing minutes. However, the points were shared and now 'the Bucks' have lost just once in 14 visits to the Northolme since the mid-1980's but more to the point recovered the defensive stability that was developing prior to the F.C. Utd disaster.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Harrison, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Whitham (Kilner), Chalmers, Pilkington (D De Girolamo), Hardy, Oyibo (Bevan). Unused Subs: Brown & Jennings


Saturday 12th October F.C.UNITED (5) 7 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT 1888

The past 8 days' results must rate as one of the strangest weeks in the long history of BFC ! From excellent performances in the narrow F.A.Cup defeat to unbeaten York City and the 7-0 drubbing of 9th-placed Grantham Town last Tuesday, 'the Bucks' suffered a totally unexpected thrashing at 11th-placed F.C. Utd on Saturday. What's more, this was Buxton's first league defeat away to the 'Red Rebels' after 5 wins and 2 draws previously !

After a corner seemed to have been turned with recent displays, a rapid recovery will now be needed before Tuesday's visit to fellow strugglers, Trinity. A few players could be excused from blame for the club's worst defeat since a 2-7 reverse at NCEL Glasshoughton in the 2002/3 campaign, but this was a collective failure as Utd ran amok with 5 goals in 19 first-half minutes between the 13th and 31st.The home side had a day such as 'the Bucks' enjoyed on Tuesday, yet there were goals to make Buxton supporters wince as pacy attacks regularly caused havoc. None of this was apparent early on as the teams traded shots at goal. A misplaced pass allowed Potts a 25-yard shot at 'keeper Grant Shenton, while loanee Dale Whitham's effort from a low Alex Brown pull-back had a similar outcome. Then in the 13th minute Jones's defensive ball-winning challenge set up a rapid counter and Buckley was well-placed for an 8-yard,far-post finish. Three minutes later, after Brian Wilson had played in Liam Hardy to force a good save from Belford, below-par referee Raper gave Utd the opportunity to double their lead from the penalty spot and Owolabi duly obliged but even home fans agreed Nico's challenge on the striker should not have been penalised. Another 3 minutes on and the by now rampant 'Rebels' made it 3-0 as seemingly leaden-footed defending after a corner-kick allowed Owolabi to net a loose ball. The withdrawal of the injured Diego permitted a switch to a back 5 but Owolabi soon completed a 14-minute hat-trick with a well-struck,18-yard diagonal ground shot into the net's far corner. A mere 5 minutes on saw F.C. Utd's pace produce a 5th goal, netted by Stockport loanee, Curran. Liam won a corner then saw a shot blocked and cleared with such devastating effect that a lone defender faced 3 attackers at half-way! Before the interval referee Raper added to Buxton's shell-shocked misery. A home forward's seeming simulation earned an undeserved free-kick in a dangerous position, then a home penalty-area challenge on Hardy, more dubious than Nico's earlier, was ignored despite a concerted appeal.

In the 48th minute a Buxton error on the ball in defence allowed substitute and ex-Silverlander, Ennis, to fire home his team's 6th and 25 minutes later it was fitting that Owolabi completed the scoring with a tap-in after Shenton had made a good save following a right-flank cross. Jude Oyibo on several occasions, by beating opponents in midfield, had originated promising attacks but, after the loss of Diego, Liam generally lacked sufficient support in the final third as 'the Bucks' failed to score for only the 2nd time this season.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Whitham (Young), Chalmers, D De Girolamo (Harrison), Hardy (Pilkington), Oyibo. Unused Subs: Jennings & Kilner

Tuesday 8th October BUXTON (3) 7 GRANTHAM TOWN (0) 0 ATT 180

 What a way to win in the league for the first time-and at the 10th attempt ! Grantham arrived in 9th place but suffered the division's biggest defeat of the season to date that was also Buxton's best home result in the league since a Boxing Day,7-0 demolition of Stocksbridge in 2012.The visitors were depleted with a handful of front-line players unavailable so that regular striker, Greg Smith, figured in central defence but so too were 'the Bucks' as Clarke (knee),Harrison (back) and Wilson, all starters on Saturday, joined an injury list already featuring skipper, Callum Chippendale. As a result Ash Young returned to the hard-hit midfield department alongside new recruit, Dale Whitham (ex-Chorley),on a month's loan from Alfreton Town, and Jude Oyibo, back after injury.

This was a bizarre evening in several ways. Despite 'the Bucks' receiving many plaudits for their displays in recent narrow defeats to classy, full-time outfits, South Shields and York City, only 1/5th of Saturday's crowd turned out on a dry evening, the lowest home league 'gate' for 17 months. Then at half-time referee Watson had to retire with a calf injury so onto the line went the fully-qualified Pam Leaning, who had acted likewise last February in a Curzon v. Alfreton fixture. Also at the interval the visitors made one substitution but still re-started with only 10 men, though player-coach Zoko soon replaced withdrawn midfielder Smith. Another unusual feature of this memorable evening was that 'the Gingerbreads' throughout enjoyed some 50% possession yet were destroyed by ruthless Buxton finishing. Even so the score could have reached double figures but for misses in front of goal by Whitham, who was otherwise a success, following a gloriously incisive left-flank move at 2-0,then by Diego at 3-0 and by Liam Hardy late on.

None of this should be allowed to detract from 2 special goals, both netted by the in-form Diego and indicative of his undoubted ability. In the 40th minute at the Railway End he collected a Brad Roscoe long pass and unleashed a 25-yard 'screamer' that found the net off the underside of the bar to make the score 3-0,but in making it 6-0 in the 64th minute he was simply audacious ! On the left by-line,16 yards from goal, he thundered a drive over 'keeper Andrew and inside the far post-a seemingly impossible angle !

If the evening was memorable for the home contingent, it certainly wasn't for the 3 ex-Buxton 'B's' in Town's line-up ! James Baxendale, a teenaged loanee in the Scott Maxfield era, made little impact but last season's trialist, Karl Byrne ,on his debut, was fortunate to escape with a yellow card after a late, high challenge which injured another home midfielder, the influential Aaron Chalmers. Most damaging for Grantham, however, were 2 early errors by centre-back, Jack Broadhead. In just the 4th minute his under-powered header back towards Andrew at a corner of the penalty area allowed the opportunist Diego to intercept and lift the ball first-time into the unguarded net. It was 2-0 only 4 minutes on, courtesy of an assured Hardy 'spot-kick' after Jack had clearly fouled Diego. Then, on 20 minutes with Grantham responding effectively, he planted a header wide at a corner.

With a 3-goal lead Buxton profited from the visitors' temporary interval disarray to score again in the 47th minute as Jude ghosted unmarked into space to prod home, off the near post, an Alex Brown cross. Nonetheless Grantham still maintained a threat and, after Grant Shenton had made a superb double save at 3-0,substitute Zoko, Yeovil's top scorer 18 months ago, forced another good, low save from the home 'keeper. However, 'the Bucks' made it 5-0 just before the hour as Jude rounded off a trademark, mazy penalty-area run with a lofted shot that Andrew could only help on its way. After Diego had completed his hat-trick a 7th goal arrived in the 77th minute following a free-kick. Liam's shot was going in but Connor O'Grady touched the ball over the line to open his Silverlands account. Even then there was no 'show-boating' but a vain search for more goals.

So Buxton climbed off the bottom in fine style and lifted their goal difference from -8 to -1!

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Young, Whitham, Chalmers (Pilkington), D De Girolamo (Grayson), Hardy, Oyibo (Jennings). Unused Subs: Wilson & Kilner.


Saturday 5th October BUXTON (1) 1 YORK CITY (0) 2 EMIRATES F.A. CUP , 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND ATT. 901

An exciting afternoon of cup soccer saw 'the Bucks' give a splendid account of themselves only to miss out on a deserved and lucrative replay by less than the width of a goal-post! It was the 2nd minute of added time when Buxton had a last sight of goal but the excellent Aaron Chalmers curled a 20-yard free-kick onto the far post to be cleared by a doubtless much relieved defender.

'The Bucks' had faced a massive task in tackling the leaders of the league above, some 43 places above bottom-of-NPL Premier Buxton, with York remarkably the only team in the top 7 divisions of English soccer not to have lost a league or Cup match ! Nonetheless Paul Phillips's side ran 'the Minstermen' close, even taking an 11th-minute lead, holding it into the 2nd half and only succumbing to an 81st-minute winner.

Despite showing 4 changes from the previous week's winning team, York were soon offering a threat, with ex-'Macc' play-maker and newcomer, Elliott Durrell, prominent, but it was 'the Bucks' who scored early. The decisive feature of a fluent passing move was Brian Wilson's lofted chip forward and Diego forced the ball home off 'keeper Whitley's hand. Seven minutes later the striker was close to profiting from Liam Hardy's headed flick, while York threatened regularly and only fully committed defending, particularly by the sound trio of home centre-backs, maintained the slender lead, with Connor O'Grady, for example, executing perfectly a penalty area slide tackle on rampaging ex-Alfreton loanee, Tom Allan. Yet Buxton, attacking the Railway End, continued to probe for another goal and twice inside 4 minutes went close. Alex Brown and Hardy set up midfielder Warren Clarke but he shot into Whitley's midriff, then came what even at the time seemed a likely major turning-point. Liam timed his run perfectly behind the defence to latch onto a long, lofted forward ball. Unfortunately for 'the Bucks',the advancing Whitley deflected his effort and the chance was gone, along with the tantalising prospect of a 2-goal interval lead.

The importance of that event was shown 4 minutes into the second half when a cross from the left opened the home defence, with the ball finding the net off Brown who was under pressure from wing-back Dyer. Even so 'the Bucks' responded in determined fashion as Wilson's power drive was blocked and then Diego, after a fine run through the centre, fired too high but York threatened so much as to force 5 corners in quick-time. There followed spectacular action at either end with shots by Liam and Diego close to netting before the visitors countered rapidly for Grant Shenton to save point-blank a Burrow header. However, the fateful 81st minute brought a York winner as the home defence couldn't ward off a concerted attack that was ended by Dyer's shot into the net roof from close range. To their great credit, 'the Bucks' were far from finished, with a Nico header going close and Chalmers so near to scoring with his intelligent free-kick. No wonder York's manager, Steve Watson, commented, ''Buxton gave us as hard a game as we have had this season''!

So after the glamour and excitement of the F.A. Cup now come the 'hard yards' of the task of driving away from the division's basement, starting on Tuesday evening with the visit of mid-table Grantham Town.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Harrison, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson (Oyibo), Clarke (Pilkington), Chalmers, D De Girolamo (Jennings), Hardy, Brown. Unused Subs: Young, Kilner, Hopkins & Phillips.


Saturday 28th September BUXTON (1) 1 SOUTH SHIELDS (1) 2 ATT 515

Very late goals in each half secured full points for South Shields at lowly Buxton who had shocked the league leaders with a 38th-minute goal very much against the run of play. With forward Jude Oyibo fit enough only for the bench, Alex Brown returned to a 5-man defence in which recent recruit Connor O'Grady was outstanding, while new signing Brian Wilson, a veteran of 446 Football League games, made his debut as a defensive midfielder and soon caught the eye with accurate passing. Buxton's twin strikers, Liam Hardy and Diego, proved a real but only an occasional threat as 'the Mariners' ,with the wind at their backs, dominated first-half possession. Nonetheless Buxton's defence coped well, though home players contributed to their own difficulties by too often conceding possession to a side which passed the ball about impressively. The first example came as early as the 6th minute when Grant Shenton's intercepted pass gave Annear a sight of the open goal but he missed the target from 30 yards. However, the home 'keeper produced a good low save and hold from a Gillies free-kick from similar range and Wilson blocked a Thurston effort close to the goal-line. Then out of the blue came a well-taken Buxton goal .The outnumbered Diego's very good work and shot forced a rebound off Blackpool loanee 'keeper, Myles Boney, for Liam to tuck away neatly. Clearly encouraged, Alex Brown next fired a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal, but in the closing seconds of added time a 'Mariners'  5-man passing move allowed skipper Shaw to fire home an equaliser from 15 yards. It was a cruel and potentially decisive blow for 'the Bucks'. Nonetheless it was Buxton who created the first clear opening, in the 53rd minute, of an evenly-fought second half. Liam fed Diego for a shot that made Boney produce a flying leap and catch, then just short of the hour only the visiting 'keeper's heel denied a goal-bound Hardy drive. However, Shields continued to pose danger, especially after lively, experienced attacking substitutes Foley and Mason were introduced, with Shenton using his legs to thwart the latter's shot, but in the 88th minute Mason broke Buxton hearts by prodding home a far-post winner from a fierce, low diagonal ball from the left. Despite the late setback there was plenty here to indicate hope of an improved league situation in the near future.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Wilson, Young (Clarke), Chalmers, D De Girolamo (Oyibo), Hardy (Pilkington), Harrison. Unused Subs: Kilner & Jennings.

Saturday 21st September BUXTON (2) 5 CORBY TOWN (0) 0 EMIRATES F.A.CUP  2ND QUALIFYING ROUND ATT 264

Despite still lacking 4 front-line players, Buxton stepped convincingly over the potential 'banana-skin' of the visit of previously unbeaten Step 4 side, Corby Town of the Southern League Central, Division One. On frequent occasions, Buxton's attacking play was too potent for the visitors' defence as 4 different scorers displayed the skill of clinical finishing, while Corby made chances, notably in the second half, but striker Sandy was wasteful.

Attacking the Railway End with the breeze behind them, 'the Bucks' made a positive start with a fine Kyle Harrison long pass which set the returning Liam Hardy away up the left and following his pull-back, home debutant midfielder, Aaron Chalmers, headed narrowly over the angle. Corby's first serious attack came in the 12th minute but a double Hardy salvo inside 4 minutes at quarter-time put 'the Bucks' well on top. A penetrating diagonal ball and a defender's error gave Liam the opening he took in style from 15 yards. His second, merely a tap-in, made sure that Diego's shot went in after good work by a trio of home players. Firmly in control, a third goal was close in the 38th minute and again Liam was a key figure. A fine diagonal ball by Ash Young picked him out on the left and from his low pull-back, Diego's firm shot was superbly saved by 'keeper George. Two minutes later Corby's vehement appeals for a hand-ball penalty were turned down by well-placed referee Wyatt.

At the start of the 2nd half Corby seized the initiative without mounting a threat, but the tie was virtually settled in the 53rd minute when a fortunate touch freed Jude Oyibo to benefit with a composed finish wide of the 'keeper. To their credit, Corby continued to press forward and Grant Shenton was forced into a tip-over save from a fine rising shot on the turn by the visitors' best player, Jordon Crawford, the only survivor from Town's last game here 3 years ago. 'The Bucks' meanwhile and likewise looked for goals and the 4th arrived in the 70th minute as substitute Warren Clarke marked his home debut by netting close in following more good work by the excellent Diego.

Even then the excitement wasn't over in this consistently entertaining tie. Unusually careless home defending in the 77th minute gave Sandy an open goal with the ball at his feet but he hit a post from 15 yards, then almost immediately at the other end Clarke fed Hardy for yet another pull-back that narrowly evaded the onrushing Martin Pilkington, but the substitute did net his team's 5th goal in the 86th minute with a deft back-header from Ash's lofted, curling free-kick. The tie's last meaningful action, however, fell to Corby's Sandy who, following a corner, planted a free header off target.

So Buxton's 'faithful' could go home happy but the opportunity for the team to maintain its momentum on Tuesday at Stafford is off as Rangers will be replaying against Kidderminster.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Harrison, N De Girolamo, O'Grady, Young, Wallen (Clarke), Chalmers (Kilner), D De Girolamo, Hardy, Oyibo (Pilkington). Unused Subs: Jennings, Priestley, Hopkins & Phillips

Saturday 14th September MORPETH TOWN (0) 2 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 635

For their first visit to Craik Park Buxton could hardly have faced a more challenging situation. With just 3 points earned and no wins in the first 7 league fixtures, the visitors had to take on recently-promoted Town (twice as many points from just 4 games) with as many as 7 (!) front-line players absent. To the injured trio of Jude, Nico and 'Chippy' were added Liam Hardy (at a wedding), Ash Young (at work), Billy Priestley (suspended) and Jake Hibbs (recalled by Spennymoor).Therefore the entire 'engine room' that started last Tuesday's match was absent and the midfield gaps were filled by the week's 3 late signings, the trio contributing substantially to a pleasing first half in which 'the Bucks' were comfortably the better side and enjoyed perhaps 60% possession. The team's failing lay in not threatening the goal sufficiently when neat approach play took them within range. Diego was prominent in most of the passing moves and in only the 3rd minute he set up debutant Warren Clarke for a shot at goal. Another passing move 5 minutes later, built by Kyle Harrison and Josh Wallen, saw Diego shoot over, then from a Brad Grayson curling free-kick Connor O'Grady sent an angled, looping header onto the net's roof.

Morpeth's chief threat in the first half looked likely to be posed in the air by their tall twin strikers but Grant Shenton didn't have a save to make, though a 34th-minute Phillips thunderbolt of a 25-yard shot passed narrowly wide. However, the home side showed significant improvement in the 5 minutes prior to the interval as 2 corners were forced and from a right cross striker Reid thudded a header against the underside of the bar.

In the difficult prevailing circumstances the goal-less first period was therefore something of an achievement but your correspondent had the feeling that Buxton should have been in front and that the previously lacklustre Morpeth must improve and so it proved. Town seized the initiative immediately and dominated until the closing minutes with some of the visitors' recent recruits, lacking match time previously, somewhat 'running out of steam'. A short back-pass by O'Grady gave Morpeth an early opening but the combined efforts of the defender and 'keeper saved a goal before another giant, centre-back Thackray, headed wide at a corner. It took 'the Bucks' to the hour to mount an attack but nonetheless stoically held out until the 75th minute when substitute Walton's final touch pushed the ball over the line at a trickle. As previously, Town's threat had been mounted on the right and 7 minutes later in that area O'Grady was penalised for what, at distance, seemed to be a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. Walton doubled his tally by sending his penalty-kick down the middle to double the lead. The spirited 'Bucks' mounted a late rally and when lively substitute Ryan Jennings was fouled Brad Grayson netted stylishly from the spot' but sadly it was 'too little, too late'. However, it was a brave and gritty display and with 5 of the absent players likely to be available for the F.A. Cup tie next Saturday, there is certainly hope of improved results to come.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown (Kilner), O'Grady, Roscoe, Chalmers, Grayson, Clarke, Pilkington (Jennings), D De Girolamo, Wallen (Walters). Unused Subs: Davies & Hopkins

Tuesday 10th September BUXTON (1) 1 BAMBER BRIDGE (0) 1 ATT. 235

Who says lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place ? Well, many Buxton supporters may disagree with the old saying ! On the season's opening day 'the Bucks' conceded an 88th-minute equaliser and 2 points at Scarborough by lax defending and the resulting free header at a corner-kick. On Tuesday evening it was exactly the same again, only in the 89th minute when unmarked 'Brig' substitute Chris Marlow headed home a corner-kick ! Not that the visitors were undeserving as they had dominated possession in the second half but the re-shaped home defence had stood firm, with both loanee right-back Kyle Harrison and recently-recruited centre-back Connor O'Grady creating good impressions. The outcome was also tough on lively marksman Liam Hardy, whose 34th-minute strike will be a leading contender for 'Goal of the Season'. Out on the right at the Railway End he received a pass from substitute Diego and cut inside to drive high and fiercely under the far angle. That was enough to give Buxton an interval lead despite having lost captain and midfielder Callum Chippendale on a stretcher at the half-hour mark with a leg injury which unfortunately will sideline him for weeks to come.

The momentum provided by Liam's goal took 'the Bucks' through to half-time but the loss of 'Chippy' hit them hard, with the visitors gradually taking control then pressing hard for an equaliser towards the end. Such a situation had seemed unlikely as the home side had started the match well, with Liam prominent in attack. Jake Hibbs shot over from 20 yards, then 'the Bucks' went close in the 11th minute as, from an Ash Young free-kick, Callum's looping header landed on top of the bar. Only 3 minutes later 'Brig' showed their attacking capability with a right cross allowing Dudley's header which struck the outside of a post. There was much more of such intent after the interval as Grant Shenton was forced into a fine save from what was deemed an offside header. Winger Waddecar shot into the side netting then within a minute laid on a good chance for Booth after beating Alex Brown at the right byline but the midfielder fired his low pull-back over the bar from 20 yards. Left-winger Ryan White ran through the centre only for his effort from similar range also to miss the target. 'The Bucks' were reduced to mostly isolated, unconvincing attacks, even when a decisive O'Grady tackle set up a 4-on-4 counter that fizzled out early. However, the forwards did come close to a clinching 2nd goal as 'keeper Rigby made a double save from close-range shots, firstly by Diego then by Brad Grayson.

So Buxton have now gone 7 league games without a win whereas the visitors averted defeat for the first time in 5 away league and cup fixtures and nobody could deny their value for a point.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown, O'Grady, Roscoe, Young, Chippendale D De Girolamo), Hibbs, Grayson (Kilner), Hardy, Jennings (Pilkington). Unused Subs: Wallen & Walters


Tuesday 3rd September Mickleover Sports (1) 4 Buxton (1) 2 Att 222

Two second half penalties conceded in three minutes cost the Bucks dearly at Mickleover on Tuesday night as Buxton's poor start to the season continued. There was a debut for Altrincham loanee Lewis Walters in the starting line up with another new signing, Josh Wallen also on the bench as manager Paul Phillips freshened the squad up but once again defence frailties proved costly.

The Bucks started the match brightly with Ryan Jennings strong run and shot in just the second minute needing saving low down by Fairbrother in the Sports goal. On five minutes the hosts created a double opportunity to score with the impressive Mason Warren's shot being tipped over by Grant Shenton and from the resulting corner, experienced defender Pablo Mills saw his header clear the bar. It was a very open first ten minutes with Buxton creating the better opportunities. New signing Walters saw his shot go wide from the edge of the area and 3 minutes later Jude Oyibo set off on one of his trademark runs but having 'danced' through the Mickleover defence he couldn't get a clear shot away to trouble Fairbrother. Mickleover forced a number of corners and one from one of them Mills again saw his header off target and on 25 minutes it was Warren again going close with a free-kick. Oyibo had another run at the Sports defence and has the ball broke Walters saw his header go over the bar. The Bucks were beginning to dominate as the half wore on and captain Chippendale saw his strong shot from 20 yards  fumbled by Fairbrother but he managed to draw the ball in with Liam hardy ready to pounce. The Bucks took the lead on 35 minutes with good work from Walters who cut in from the right and his squared ball was shot low into goal by Ash Young for his second of the season. James Cadman shot wide for the hosts with a quick break down the left and on half time the Bucks were made to pay for giving away free-kicks around the area when Warren's set piece was saved by Shenton but Declan Bacon netted when the ball came back in to the area.

The Bucks lost winger Jude Oyibo to a suspected broken toe and was replaced at half time by Australian debutant Josh Wallen. The second period started quieter than the first with Brad Roscoe's effort from distance being the Bucks only notable chance but that flew well wide. But proceedings turned drastically away from the Bucks just after the hour mark, conceding two penalties in 3 minutes, both of which were converted with aplomb by Mason Warren. The Bucks applied pressure to try and get back in to the match but after a scramble in the Sports area the hosts broke away quickly and Bacon broke away from the Bucks defence to slot the ball passed Shenton to make it 4-1. There was a late consolation as Hardy netted a penalty to make it 4-2 after a quickly taken free-kick struck a hand in the Sports penalty area. So defensive indiscipline again proved costly for Buxton which needs addressing with the  trip to Romulus in the lucrative FA Cup  looming on Saturday.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley (D De Girolamo), Young, Oyibo (Wallen), Chippendale, Walters, Hardy, Jennings (O'Grady). Unused Subs: Hibbs and Grayson.

Saturday 31st August Buxton (0) 0 Stalybridge Celtic (0) 0 Att 400

A game of disappointing quality, especially in the second half, was goal-less because both sets of forwards couldn’t convert several clear openings. Liam Hardy had the first for the Bucks when he got away from the visiting defence but shanked his shot wide and soon afterwards Jude Oyibo, who was Buxton’s most creative player all afternoon, chipped a cross come shot onto the bar.  The visitors defence was struggling to contain the Buxton forwards who nevertheless couldn’t make their superiority count. The 1st half ended on a sour note as Buxton’s Billy Priestley and Celtic’s Craig Hobson were both sent off after an altercation.

More chances went begging in the second half. Oyibo was through but shot wide and colleague Brad Roscoe had a shot blocked close to the line. Then Celtic, on the hour, created their best opening with Neil Kengni and Nathan Valentine doing the spadework but Scott Bakkor screwed his shot wide, before home left-back Alex Brown cleared from the line following a defensive error. Oyibo continued to pose the greatest threat for the Bucks, forcing Celtic loanee ‘keeper Alex Fojticek into the save of the game, but in added time missed a great chance of a winner by passing instead of shooting.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley, Young, Chippendale, Grayson (O’Grady), Jennings (Hibbs), Hardy (Pilkington), Oyibo. Unused Subs: Kilner & D De Girolamo.

Monday 26th August HYDE UTD (2) 3 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT 494

Buxton's disappointing start to the new season extended to a third consecutive defeat at Ewen Fields on Monday but a marked improvement in the second half renews hope for better results and there is no doubt 'the Bucks' were unfortunate with 2 penalty decisions, both controversial, going against them, condemning them to defeat when a recovery was likely. However, 'the Tigers' were the better side for most of the first half despite the visitors having the advantage of scoring first. Buxton couldn't add to their lead and a poor spell prior to half-time allowed Hyde to net twice in 11 minutes for an interval lead.

Eight goals have been conceded in those 3 defeats and there was early evidence of defensive insecurity as Nico's first-minute error set up Dyche at the edge of the penalty area but he wastefully shot over the bar. Then Tongue planted a far-post, free header wide of goal before Grant Shenton dived and held Noble's low,25-yard effort. Yet it was 'the Bucks' who took a 17th-minute lead with a first serious attack. Reece Fishwick, making his full debut, delivered a well-directed, lofted cross to win a corner, taken by Ash Young, with Nico heading home firmly at the far post. There were 2 further opportunities in quick succession. Firstly Brad Roscoe's header at another Ash corner went too high, then a second good-quality Fishwick lofted cross saw  the onrushing Alex Brown volley off target. Accordingly the one-goal lead looked brittle, particularly when Pratt on the right got the better of Billy Priestley to fire in a low cross that narrowly eluded O'Brien in front of goal. Nonetheless the lead was erased in the 34th minute as Pratt cut in from the left to net with an 18-yard deflected shot. Hyde then went very close as Pratt again got a shot away, Shenton saved well and ex-Port Vale striker, Dan Turner, fired into the side-netting. Just before half-time, Utd's perseverance paid off. Left-back Brownhill made an incisive run to cross low, Shenton parried but Dyche netted at the 2nd attempt.

Ryan Jennings replaced the ineffective Diego at half-time and played a significant role on the ball as 'the Bucks' showed at their most convincing and threatened on several occasions. Hardy's pass released Fishwick on the right to fire into the side netting from 19 yards before a trio of free-kicks from promising positions by Young and substitute Brad Grayson forced 'keeper Mewitt to save at full stretch. However,a crucial refereeing decision at either end decided the match's outcome. A Jennings shot clearly struck a Hyde defender's arm but the poorly-positioned and therefore probably unsighted referee Porter made no award, yet in the 75th minute he penalised Buxton for a challenge on Dyche when there was obvious doubt whether man or ball was contacted first. Turner netted from the penalty spot. The visitors continued to press forward with Jennings evading challenges on the right to fire low across the face of goal but Priestley couldn't force the ball home, then both Hardy and Callum Chippendale had telling shots blocked as time ran out.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley, Young, Chippendale, Hibbs (Grayson), N De Girolamo (Jennings), Hardy (Kilner), Fishwick. Unused Subs: McQuade, Hickman.

Saturday 24th August BUXTON (2) 3 WHITBY TOWN (2) 4 ATT 335

For a second time in 5 days Buxton lost at home, not on this occasion to a superior outfit but rather as a result of inadequate defending at crucial points. Scoring 3 goals at home should have been enough to secure full points but the visitors' twin strikers, Fewster and old adversary, Tymon, couldn't be contained by a defence that rarely looked secure.

In the 3rd round of fixtures both sides were seeking a first victory and early on 'the Bucks' seemed favourites to achieve it as Brad Grayson was close to profiting from a first-minute through ball but Liam Hardy did net in the 8th minute as a close-range Alex Brown shot rebounded to him off 'keeper Bland. However, by the 21st minute Whitby led, courtesy of a Fewster brace, on each occasion getting the better of a home centre-back (Nico for the first, Billy the second) to produce scoring shots. Buxton soon responded with a superb, lofted, 25-yard Grayson curling effort that brought a good tip-over save from Bland and from the resulting Brown corner-kick, Brad Roscoe headed home firmly; 28 minutes gone and 4 goals scored!

The action subsided somewhat before half-time but only 4 minutes after the interval Whitby led for a second time as Fewster this time provided the assist. He reached the left by-line at the Railway End and Tymon at the near post stabbed home his low pull-back. For a spell Town looked comfortable in their lead but on the hour Hardy was close to erasing it. Beyond the far post he controlled a long, curling Brown cross and fired back low across the face of the goal without a further touch. Ten minutes on and Ash Young did find the net with a sumptuous, curling 20 yard free-kick under the angle.

There was justifiable hope now that 'the Bucks', much encouraged by this superb strike, would press on to victory. Martin Pilkington junked his way to 19 yards out, firing narrowly wide. However, his 75th minute injury reduced him to passenger status, just two minutes after the final substitution had been made. Such bad luck restored the initiative to Whitby but poor defending at an 81st minute corner allowed midfielder Rowe to knock home the winner from 6 yards, Whitby taking the lead for the 3rd and final time. That was tough on Alex Brown who had conceded the flag kick by athletically clearing from the line an otherwise certain goal after Grant Shenton had been unable to gather a ball into the penalty area. As against Nantwich, Priestley was thrust forward to compensate for the incapacitated Pilkington, but in vain.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley, Young, Chippendale, Grayson (Jennings), Pilkington, Hardy (D De Girolamo), Hibbs (Fishwick). Unused Subs: McQuade, Hickman

Tuesday 20th August BUXTON (0) 1 NANTWICH TOWN (1) 2 ATT. 353
After conceding an equaliser to a late Scarborough revival on Saturday it was Buxton's turn to strive for a point late on in Tuesday's evening's first home fixture but their considerable efforts proved in vain versus an impressive Nantwich side which looks destined for a successful season. For 3/4 of the match 'the Dabbers' were clearly the better team and established a 2-0 with a well-made goal in each half. The visitors were strong in defence with a trio of experienced centre-backs, while in midfield were again directed by 2 of the division's best players in Cooke and Hughes who created openings for Malkin, a striker who attracted a posse of scouts to the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium. However, he missed a 10th-minute chance with a too-high diving header from Mwasile's left-flank cross but by then home debutant 'keeper, Grant Shenton, had been forced into flying action by Lawrie's goal-bound power-drive. There followed a brief spell of Buxton supremacy in which a well-constructed move saw Alex Brown's header land on top of the bar and Diego's own power-drive blocked.
Nantwich, however, responded to take a 24th-minute lead. Ex-Witton wing-back Devine produced a low pull-back from the left to find his skipper, Caspar Hughes (ex-Crewe and Fylde) who had the space to be able from 12 yards to pick his spot well beyond Shenton's reach.  With the visitors continuing to threaten by accurate passing moves, a second goal looked inevitable 12 minutes later as a through ball enabled Mwasile to defeat the offside trap only for Shenton to rob him expertly and cleanly close to goal.
Perhaps encouraged by this escape, 'the Bucks' mounted promising attacks but, fed by Diego, Brown's low pull-back eluded his colleagues before Brad Roscoe's shot forced 'keeper Hall into a good save. Maintaining the pressure, Alex's corner-kick was scrambled clear with difficulty but after the interval 'the Dabbers' regained the initiative and doubled their lead in the 52nd minute as play-maker Cooke swept home a low cross from the right.
Beginning at half-time, Buxton made a trio of substitutions and in the game's final quarter at last got on top and stayed there. It started with a surging Jude Oyibo run that won a corner and climaxed in Callum Chippendale's firm,80th- minute header that halved the deficit. The home captain then had a 20-yard drive tipped over and a Billy Priestley header met with the same outcome, but Nantwich had the quality to be dangerous on the break. In the 84th minute a moment of drama resulted. The ever-alert Shenton, patrolling far out of his Railway End goal, opted to charge towards the advancing Cooke whose 45-yard effort past him drifted off target. A last desperate Buxton manoeuvre saw Priestley moved forward but his header from Nico's pass was saved, while a clever Jude back-heel narrowly evaded sub. Liam Hardy, who was making his 200th BFC appearance but couldn't add to his tally of 126 goals.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley, Young (Hickman), Chippendale, Hibbs, D De Girolamo (Jennings), Pilkington (Hardy), Oyibo. Unused Subs: Grayson and McQuade

Saturday 17th August SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (0) 1 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 1157

The players' faces as they left the field on Saturday said it all-'Boro' delight as they had 'got out of jail' with an 88th-minute equaliser, whereas 'the Bucks' bore looks of disappointment and frustration as they had been in control both before and after their 81st-minute strike. Despite the usual pre-season hype, for much of the second half in particular Buxton's solid, workmanlike display seemed the more likely to reap the maximum reward. After the interval, with the wind behind them, the visitors enjoyed a majority of possession, though forwards found it difficult to get past the youthful home centre-backs,even after debutant subs. Martin Pilkington (for Bradley Grayson) and Ryan Jennings (for Liam Hardy) had been deployed. Nonetheless there were chances to mark the score-sheet before the late stages. Following a 14th-minute Buxton corner, Callum Chippendale had a shot blocked close to goal by defender Lowe, while 5 minutes later Liam headed wide from a free-kick. He had another chance 2 minutes into the second half after a corner-kick but shot wide from a few yards' range. On occasions the most penetrative visiting attacker was pacy winger, Jude Oyibo, whose mazy,64th-minute dribble past 3 defenders close to goal unfortunately didn't produce a decisive finish, then immediately after the Buxton goal he repeated his skill to force a save from 'keeper Taylor. A second goal  at that point would surely have sealed the victory made possible by Pilkington's close-range,81st-minute strike. Even so, Buxton's sound rearguard looked in little danger from a previously toothless home side lacking marksman Walshaw but debutant centre-back Billy Priestley late on was forced into a superb interception at the expense of a corner. When the ball was delivered, his counterpart Johnson netted with a glancing header. For the first time in the entire match 'Boro' had offered an aerial threat ! With 6 minutes' play left 'the Bucks' might still have earned full points as Jennings's fine pass sent Chippy away in the inside-left channel but he blazed his 20-yard effort high and wide.

      In the first half, facing a stiff breeze, Buxton's task had been to establish a foothold in the game and the team, with 3 debutants in the starting eleven, did this most efficiently. Grant Shenton's long-kicking into the wind was a considerable asset as an even contest developed. Both sides sought to advance through passing movements but the exaggerated bounce proved troublesome and goalmouth incidents were few. Buxton couldn't profit from a number of free-kicks and corners, while it took until the 45th minute for 'Boro' to create a serious threat but Shenton made a low save and hold from Coulson's 20-yard drive at a central free-kick, though earlier he had advanced for a spectacular diving header to clear his lines.So in front of the day's biggest crowd 'the Bucks' came away with a well-deserved point and also the confidence to believe that they will win far more games than they will lose despite the highly competitive nature of the division, though they will need to 'kill off ' opponents when opportunities offer.

Team: Shenton, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, Priestley, Young, Chippendale, Hibbs. Grayson (Pilkington), Hardy (Jennings), Oyibo. Unused Subs: D De Girolamo, Hickman, McQuade