Buxton FC Grey (002).png

buxton fc match reports
2021/22 season

Tuesday 23rd November BUXTON (0) 1 NANTWICH TOWN (0) 1 ATT 710

In a disastrous period of 2nd-half added time, 'the Bucks' not only conceded an equalising goal that robbed them of the opportunity to climb to the top of the table but then also lost captain and defensive kingpin, Josh Granite, to an apparently undeserved 'straight red' card, which, unless overthrown on appeal, will keep him out of the Morecambe cup-tie in 10 days' time. Until then a superb,51st-minute Jamie Ward goal had looked like earning full points, even though chances to double the lead had come and gone while 'the Dabbers', with far less possession, still managed to threaten on occasions.

The turning-point in fortunes arguably occurred as late as the 88th minute. Buxton substitute, Chris Dawson, on-field for only 3 minutes, dealt a perfect square pass for fellow sub., Ash Chambers, but his goal-bound effort from 4 yards was brilliantly saved, point-blank, by recent 'keeper signing, Andy Wycherley. Suitably encouraged, the visitors entered added time to equalise from a diagonal chipped ball to the far post, allowing left-back, Jamie Morgan, recently returned from Chester, to prod home at close range.

Nantwich, after several successful seasons and few summer changes, have surprisingly subsided into the relegation places but fielded a refreshingly positive line-up that included a back 4 rather than the 5 of recent visiting sides, plus a forward trio supported by the creative Sean Cooke. 'The Bucks' had loanee Dom Tear making a full debut on the right, with Ward adopting a more orthodox midfield role and his 7th-minute,20-yard shot passed wide, before he played a fine ball in but centre-back, Josh Langley, a former adversary at Fylde, was in Diego's way. At the Railway End Granite had to hook clear from striker Joe Malkin as a curling centre arrived but generally Buxton dominated possession, forcing Wycherley into smart saves from Ward's rising drive and Diego's firm, low shot, though he was beaten by Tommy Elliott's shot that struck the outside of a post. Then a defender's touch took the ball away from Diego after Warren Clarke had outwitted 2 defenders on the left to cross threateningly. However, much of the hosts' attacking was hindered by the lack of a decisive final ball.

That failing was not to matter soon after half-time when, after a Clarke corner-kick, Jamie Ward struck a superb,19-yard half-volley into a corner of the net for his 12th goal of a very productive season. The scorer then had a shot at an open goal blocked after Wycherley had come out 18 yards to clear and it was he who provided an even clearer scoring chance with a 64th-minute pass to Diego, who had the time clinically to 'pick his spot' yet fired first-time and wide. In the 80th minute alert substitute Ash Chambers went very close to robbing Wycherley, yet 'the Dabbers' did look capable of scoring. Soon after Ward's goal, Webb shot narrowly wide after a number of efforts had been blocked. Nonetheless the equaliser came as something of a surprise but even more so was the dismissal of Granite after he made a routine challenge for an aerial ball close to half-way. So, in the first of 6 consecutive scheduled home fixtures, 'the Bucks' single point keeps them in 3rd place..

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Middleton, Granite, Meikle, Tear (Hurst), Ward, De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott (Dawson), Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Dillingham

Saturday 20th November LANCASTER CITY (1) 1 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT 297

Buxton, unbeaten in 16 previous NPL fixtures to create a new post-war club record, unexpectedly met defeat on Saturday at 12th-placed Lancaster in rather disappointing fashion with too many players clearly below the excellent standard they have set for themselves. 'The Bucks' made 3 scoring opportunities in the opening 20 minutes when they had every chance to stamp their authority on the match but spurned them all, then another went begging after the 'Dolly Blues' had taken a 30th-minute lead during their best spell of the afternoon which lasted a mere 5 minutes. The travelling 'faithful' expected a 2nd-half recovery but the hosts matched 'the Bucks' who dominated possession but fashioned only limited clear openings. On a rather bobbly grass pitch Lancaster scrapped more effectively as the visitors only rarely displayed their usual fluency in passing and increasingly found it difficult to trouble City's veteran centre-backs who were dominant in the air.

On a murky, damp and occasionally afternoon Buxton began up the slight slope and after a quiet opening Jamie Ward twice found ample space on the left, firstly producing a dangerous pull-back from the by-line and then a superb cross which Warren Clarke should have converted at the far post. On the quarter-hour a piercing, lofted Tommy Elliott free-kick found James Hurst, deputising for the recently unwell Matt Curley, but his firm header cleared the target. Five minutes on and Ward zig-zagged to create space for a low cross-shot that narrowly missed the far post.

Surviving these scares, Lancaster produced a briefly convincing attacking spell, with Teague sending over a dangerous, curling cross to force a corner then his team netted on the half-hour. A lofted free-kick exerted pressure, Charlie Bailey did very well to hook the ball back into the goalmouth and Lewis Fensome headed home firmly from 6 yards. Buxton returned to the attack for Elliott's through ball to free Diego, whose flick allowed 'keeper Dowling to block his effort.

There was no visible change after the interval with Teague's well-executed overhead kick passing close to goal but Buxton was denied a very promising situation by the worst refereeing mistake seen in many a while. A swift,3 on 3 counter-attack was developing when in midfield Chris Dawson rode a minor foul to continue in possession whereupon referee Topp inexplicably and totally unnecessarily blew for a Buxton free-kick! The visitors introduced 2 substitutes with little immediately resulting, apart from an increasingly urgent search for an equaliser. Hurst's long, diagonal pass for Ash Chambers set up the substitute striker for a fiercely-struck drive that Blackburn Rovers loanee, Dowling, tipped away for a corner-kick, from which Ben Middleton's diving header narrowly cleared the bar. These proved to be 'the Bucks' last serious goal attempts as the 'Dolly Blues' did well to retain possession for much of the 4 minutes added time so there were no last-minute heroics as at Warrington, Kettering and Radcliffe.

'Bucks': Richardson (T);Hurst, Granite, Middleton, Fox; Dawson (Tear), Meikle, Elliott (Chambers); Clarke, De Girolamo, Ward. Unused Subs: Hinds, Dillingham & Curley.

 

Saturday 13th November BUXTON (2) 3 HYDE UTD (0) 0 ATT 1010

Buxton achieved a convincing victory on Saturday over struggling Hyde to overtake 2nd-placed,pre-season title favourites, South Shields and to move within 2 points of neighbours and league leaders, Matlock. By contrast,3rd-bottom Hyde suffered an 8th away defeat in 9 games but for much of the afternoon didn't resemble relegation candidates yet still couldn't match 'the Bucks', who are clearly responding to manager Steve Cunningham's short-term challenge of being top of the table in a fortnight's time.

With the distraction of the televised F.A. Cup tie versus Morecambe still 3 weeks ahead, the hosts were soon into their stride and after Matt Curley had fired over the bar from 20 yards, they took a 10th-minute lead. Chris Dawson's defence-splitting, forward pass for Jamie Ward was key and when he crossed square and low, centre-back Fagbola lost his footing to present leading scorer Diego with an easy conversion from 8 yards. Buxton continued to dominate the opening quarter but Hyde had rather the better of the 2nd, threatening the home goal with 3 free-kicks in quick succession, then Theo Richardson's flying save at the near-post angle denied Liam Tongue's shot as he latched onto Mitchell's fine pass. Tongue should have equalised in the 36th minute when ex-Silverlander, Brad Roscoe,  got past Nathan Fox on the right to fire in a superb, knee-high driven cross but Hyde's number 10 shot wide from 2 yards at the far post. The in-form Jamie Ward was frequently prominent, mostly on the left, thundering a speculative,40-yard drive narrowly over the bar, then laying on the 2nd goal in the 42nd minute with a low cross that caused a scramble in the Ashwood End goalmouth before Warren Clarke netted close in.

After half-time Buxton resumed in most positive fashion and after a free-kick at the penalty-box corner, Diego sent a curling shot over the far-post angle but he contributed substantially to the 3rd goal in the 54th minute. An overload of men on the left allowed Diego to send over a waist-high cross that was athletically finished off by Jamie Ward 10 yards out at the near post.

This pulsating match continued to thrill the bumper crowd as both sides pressed for goals. Both 'keepers had to speed from their respective lines to repel attackers, Warren Clarke was thwarted by good defending after a long, pacy run on the left, while Tongue had a shot deflected for a corner but the home defence, superbly marshalled as ever by skipper Josh Granite, held firm for a 4th 'clean sheet' in the last 5 outings.

While Hyde manager, Jim Gannon, was unavailable for comment, Buxton's Steve Cunningham praised his team's "really professional performance which displayed high energy and much quality, the keys to our success that brought us a 3rd consecutive clean sheet".

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Middleton, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Hurst), Dawson (Tear), De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Dillingham

 

Tuesday 9th November BUXTON (1) 2 ATHERTON COLLIERIES (0) 0 ATT 753

A bumper midweek crowd saw Buxton take full points to further their pursuit of honours in what superficially may have seemed a regulation victory over a lower mid-table Atherton making a first visit. However, 'Colls', with seemingly the minimal ambition of a point, made it a hard hour for 'the Bucks' until the second goal confirmed the latter’s' impending victory. Five men across the back and plenty behind the ball when threatened by passing moves limited 'the Bucks' to a few clear chances and it took a couple of pieces of inspiration, one in each half, to unlock Atherton's defensive door

After the euphoria, both on and off the pitch, of the success at York, some may have feared an anti-climax but from the outset 'the Bucks' showed urgency and intent to achieve the new management's aim of hitting the top of the table by the time of the Morecambe tie. Unchanged and attacking the Ashwood end with the advantage of the wind, they were soon into their stride and after Matt Curley had chanced a low and accurate thirty yard drive at loan 'keeper Hutchinson, his side went close to scoring following a superb Josh Granite pass opened 'Colls' left flank and when the low cross arrived at the near post, Diego De Girolamo couldn't quite squeeze the ball home. In the eighteenth minute the striker had another half-chance with his back to goal but the diving 'keeper saved his hooked shot.

'The Bucks' were dominating possession but visiting striker Cusani earned respect twice within a few minutes. He cut in past two defenders on the right only to be robbed in the penalty area by a necessarily perfectly judged Tommy Elliott tackle, then he sent over a cross from the left that Theo touched away only for right-back Smith to blaze his wayward effort far off target! Not so Jamie Ward in the 36th minute as he gave Buxton the lead after latching onto a superb Elliott through ball, rounding two defenders and firing home from a twelve-yard narrow angle. In added time visiting left-back Peet slung over a dangerous cross that troubled Theo Richardson, showing the need for a second Buxton goal to be surer of victory.

After the interval, the hosts continued to dominate possession but now against a four-man rearguard as the injured Smith was replaced. The in-form Tommy Elliott contributed splendidly by turning back to rob a defender then feeding Diego on the right, enabling him to cut inside to fire a powerful, curling drive over the angle. Nonetheless, just short of the hour, he did find the net with a far-post finish that went in via a defender after a magnificent, sixty yard attacking run on the left by the pacy Warren Clarke.

Atherton revealed their intent by introducing two more forwards and in their still rare attacks pushed more men forward so that the game opened up in the last quarter, with 'the Bucks' continuing to entertain. Substitute Ash Chambers, operating mostly on the right, forced a corner and from the delivery 'keeper Hutchinson flapped at it, but Granite's hooked shot passed wide, then Chambers fed Diego for a nineteen-yard effort over the angle. At the Ashwood end the under-employed Theo made his most significant contribution deep into added time when he made his only save by diverting sub. Rokka's well-struck, twenty-five-yard free kick. The 'keeper was also a participant near the end when punching away a lofted ball but he also accidentally felled his own captain, Josh Granite, who therefore became Buxton's second casualty of the evening after Chris Dawson was injured just before half-time.

So Buxton, still with three home fixtures in hand, reduced the points deficit behind leaders Matlock and second placed South Shields to four and two points respectively.

As well, in this remarkable season of club milestones being equalled and surpassed, the victory established a new post-war record of fifteen consecutive undefeated league matches, going past the fourteen in the first months of Jack Boothway's 'reign' as manager in 1958.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Middleton, Granite (Hurst), Meikle, Ward, Dawson (Chambers), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Dillingham.

Saturday 6th November YORK CITY (0) 0 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 3791

EMIRATES F.A.CUP, 1ST ROUND PROPER

A magnificent, late single-goal victory at York's impressive new stadium took Buxton into Round 2 for the first time in 63 years and well-deserved it was too! With 85 minutes gone it looked increasingly like a Silverlands replay would follow, yet 'the Bucks' had threatened regularly from the 1st minute onwards, so Diego's well-struck, low cross-shot, via outstanding 'keeper Jameson's outstretched fingers, into the net's far corner was no surprise. Captain Josh Granite started the move with his pass to substitute Ash Chambers,1 of 3 ex-York players, who as usual delivered quality late in a game, with his accurate pull-back for Diego to score.

Buxton might have scored in the very 1st minute as Buxton opened supremely confidently with the pacy Warren Clarke breezing past 2 defenders on the right for a low pull-back that allowed Diego to put in a shot that was blocked. That was 1 of 6 first-half Buxton shots on target, while York had just 1, plus a header at quarter-time by the experienced ex-Crewe and Birmingham striker, Clayton Donaldson, who forced Theo into a spectacular flying save. It was pretty much all Buxton in the opening 10 minutes as 3 more openings were created, with home man-of-the-match, 'keeper Jameson, working wonders.

In a half that later ebbed and flowed, York then enjoyed a better spell with Ben Middleton blocking a shot and Josh Granite cutting out a threatening long ball for Donaldson, while Heaney's powerful, 22-yard low drive passed narrowly wide. The visitors, however, struck back to dominate the 1st period's closing minutes and go very close to scoring. The influential Tommy Elliott, who had consistently found space between the lines, and Chris Dawson had shots well saved, while Matt Curley's short, low cross was touched on by Warren Clarke to cross the face of goal untouched but to evade Jamie Ward.

In this most entertaining tie, York came closest to scoring early in the 2nd half but were thwarted by Theo's nothing-less than brilliant, point-blank save at the far post as a left-flank free-kick reached Fielding. At the hour York signalled a change of approach with the introduction of the 6' 5" sub. striker, Mark Beck, on loan from Harrogate Town, but he was well marshalled by Granite and Middleton to minimise his impact. Indeed, it was Buxton who threatened next as Diego's superior pace took him clear of 2 defenders but his chip over the advancing 'keeper missed the target.

As York had another spell of possession Theo twice decisively punched lofted balls away from goal but 'the Bucks' turned the tables with the goal, Diego finally finding the finishing quality he had sought all afternoon. Returning from injury, James Hurst then reinforced the visiting rearguard for the 5 minutes of added time but there was only 1 last alarm as a contested York free-kick wide left produced a downward, goal-bound header pounced on by the impeccable Theo.

The final whistle saw joy unrestrained among the 1050 Buxton fans in the enclosure behind the goal and the many more in the main stand, including 'birthday-boy', chairman Dave Hopkins. He has devoted his drive, time, talents and investment to further the club's immense recent progress and so clearly deserved this memorable day in front of the biggest crowd to watch a Buxton match since The NPL League Cup final versus Southport at Maine Road 30 years ago. 

Next week is another huge week for BFC with the chance to gain points from re-arranged home league fixtures versus Atherton Collieries (on Tuesday,7-45pm.) and Hyde Utd (Saturday, 3 pm) while potential promotion rivals are not playing or are involved in 'Trophy' action. Supporters are again urged to come early, with well-above average crowds expected.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Middleton, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Chambers), Dawson, De Girolamo, Elliott (Hurst), Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds, Dillingham, Houghton, Heath & H Richardson.

Saturday 30th October BUXTON (1) 1 COLNE (0) 2 ATT. 324 F.A. TROPHY, 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND

Two goals in 5 minutes deep in the second half, both from corner-kicks, secured 10-man Colne probably the shock of the round versus a Buxton team, from the division above, which lost for the first time in 29 games since the first ball was kicked in July. Coincidentally the last time 'the Bucks' had lost was last December, likewise in the 'Trophy', likewise to Division One opponents, and also at home by 1-2!

Both at the outset and at half-time such an outcome seemed distinctly unlikely. Mid-table Colne had been thrashed 1-5 in midweek and, after resisting Buxton pressure for much of the first half, had 'keeper Joel Torrance, on loan from Altrincham, sent off in the 40th minute for a 'last-man' foul. Russell's back-pass to the 'keeper, who was advancing to the edge of the penalty area, was difficult for him to control. The predatory Ash Chambers pounced, rounded Torrance only to be brought down Excellent referee Lennon (from Liverpool!) had no choice but to reduce Colne to 10 men, with right-back Ryan Taylor going in goal in the absence of a second visiting 'keeper. Within 5 minutes he was undone by a typically neat, composed Chambers finish, his 10th of the season, as the striker was put through by a precise Chris Dawson pass that pierced the defence.

After the interval Buxton stepped up the pace with fluent, creative soccer that forced the resilient visitors back towards their Ashwood End goal but found Taylor impossible to beat again as clear chances were made but not converted. Four minutes in he parried a Chambers low shot in orthodox fashion but then, with Buxton totally dominant, in a 10-minute spell he saved 4 goal-bound shots, all with his feet to thwart first Warren Clarke, then Chambers, Dawson and Tommy Elliott. The quality of 'the Bucks' passing soccer was impressive but they were made to pay for their lack of ruthlessness in finishing. In the 73rd minute a rare Colne attack forced a right-flank corner-kick that was followed by a header which allowed Pugh to nudge home the totally unexpected equaliser from close to the line.(It was he who had scored the opener in Colne's shock win of 2 years ago !).Only 4 minutes later this latest upset was completed with a towering far-post header, again from a lofted corner-kick, by centre-half Tom Dean, one of 4 ex-Silverlanders in the visitors' starting 11 and a rock in their defence.

With a quarter-hour left to play, all didn't seem lost but Taylor sealed his man-of-the-match status by making yet another save with his feet, again denying a goal-bound Dawson shot. Buxton's increasingly desperate pressure continued to the end but the last chance of another goal fell to Colne in a 2 on 1 counter. However, Reece Webb-Foster, another ex-Silverlander, made a hash of his finishing attempt from 20 yards, shooting well wide though unchallenged. There was to be no added-time salvation as there had been at Warrington and Kettering, with Colne taking another notable scalp after overcoming South Shields in the F.A. Cup 2 years ago.

So Buxton have exited the 'Trophy' but, arguably, equally hard to bear was not establishing a new post-war record for undefeated competitive matches after last Saturday equalling the 20-game sequence set in 1958.       

'Bucks’: Theo Richardson; Curley, Granite, Middleton, Fox; Dawson, Meikle, Milnes (De Girolamo 52); Clarke, Chambers (Ward 80), Elliott.  Unused subs. Hinds, Dillingham, Heath, Houghton, Heath Richardson.

 

Saturday 23rd October SOUTH SHIELDS (0) 0 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 2151

What a performance and what a wonderful week for BFC ! After reaching the F.A. Cup's 1st round proper on Tuesday for the 1st time in 59 years, 'the Bucks' 

on Saturday secured an important victory at 2nd-placed South Shields, who had won at leaders Matlock last weekend. Saturday's success meant that the team has now equalled the club post-war record of 20 competitive matches unbeaten, a feat achieved in 1958 in the first 20 fixtures of new manager Jack Boothway's 'reign'. The current squad's success is particularly praiseworthy as only 8 of the 20 games have been at home !

Saturday's victory was likewise very special as it was recorded in distinctly adverse circumstances. Full-timers South Shields had an undisturbed week in which to prepare whereas, of course, the part-time 'Bucks' players were involved on Tuesday in 120-odd minutes of F.A. Cup action. Then in Saturday's match they lost 2 players from 'the spine' to injury in the 2nd quarter-Diego (hamstring) then James Hurst (back)-yet immediately bounced back to produce the best chance of the 1st half as a superb passing move, featuring Ben Milnes, Tommy Elliott and Jamie Ward led to substitute Ash Chambers's low drive being diverted to safety by 'keeper Boney's outstretched foot. That was the sub's 2nd near miss as 6 minutes earlier he had met a fine, driven Ward low centre but nudged it over the bar from only a few yards out. Yet in the 78th minute he proved his worth by robbing home captain Shaw, who had scored in the 2019 play-off semi-final, to display great coolness and composure in winning the match for Buxton. The other first-half substitute, Ben Middleton ,on at centre-back, similarly did a splendid job in a defence which performed so admirably that 'keeper Theo Richardson was far from over-worked despite the hosts overall having a narrow majority of possession. Yet Theo was guilty of the day's other major error, rare indeed for the 'keeper who has made such a great impression, particularly with the quality of his distribution. In the 50th minute his bizarre mis-throw gave striker Massanka a clear opportunity but Theo forced him wider than he would have liked and his shot, aimed at the unguarded net, hit a post. This incident introduced a 2nd half of more end-to-end action as both sides sought to break the deadlock. Typically, just short of the hour, 'the Mariners' worked a 1-2 and when a lofted cross came in from the right, Theo's flying punch set up a counter-attack which started on the right, was switched to the left and when the ball was returned to the right, Matt Curley's shot was blocked. Then, at 3/4 time, Nathan Fox and Tommy Elliott did well to create an opening for a Jamie Ward drive that was deflected wide, while at the other end Josh Granite superbly diverted for a corner a low cross by dangerous, ex-York left-winger Kempster. Following the goal, the hosts' attacking efforts showed an increasing desperation and they did go close in the 87th minute when the ball brushed a post after a corner-kick. Nonetheless 'the Bucks' were always keen to counter and in 1 foray Boney only just beat Chambers to the low centre before home centre-half Morse saw yellow for 'taking out' Elliott as he looked a potential goal-maker on the left.

'The Bucks' saw out the ample added-time for a victory that may prove significant in the title race as it left them 4 points adrift of South Shields but with 3 home fixtures in hand. It was also very satisfying after 2 draws and that play-off defeat in 3 previous visits. It had been a splendid match, played on an improved and excellent grass surface in front of the 3rd consecutive 4-figure crowd, capping a truly memorable 8 days for the club.

There is no midweek fixture before next Saturday's F.A. Trophy home tie versus Colne gives 'the Bucks' the opportunity to break that 63-years old record.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Hurst (Middleton), Ward (Dawson), Milnes, De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Dillingham

 

Tuesday 19th of October BUXTON (0)(1)(2) 3 KETTERING TOWN (0)(1)(1) 1 ATT. 1017

EMIRATES F.A.CUP, 4TH QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY

A goal in each period of a thrilling, dramatic extra time on Tuesday took Buxton into the F.A. Cup's first round proper. The deserved victory at long last laid the hoodoo of 7 previous failures at the 4th qualifying round stage, spread over the 59 years since the first round had last been reached in the halcyon days of Curtis, Haigh and Ringstead, Harris, Allen and Shirley.

But only in extra time did the hosts' superiority become apparent as it took 193 minutes of play in the tie for them to take the lead. Thereafter Kettering's hopes faded, taking a mortal blow 5 minutes later when midfielder Neal was sent off for an indisputable second yellow card offence and were virtually killed off by Buxton's 3rd goal in the 109th minute. Both of these goals were fine examples of the team's attacking skills. For the first, rather than hoofing the ball forward, skipper Josh Granite worked his way out of his own penalty area, passed forward accurately to Tommy Elliott, whose equally accurate long pass found Warren Clarke, who in turn fed Diego for a deadly,12-yard finishing shot. The striker completed his second brace of the tie 13 minutes later as both he and Chris Dawson excelled in creating the clear opening for Diego again to find the net with aplomb. Such was 'the Bucks' effective creativity in this 2nd period of extra time that 2 more good chances were spurned. At 2-1 Diego, clear on the right, in vain tried to chip the 'keeper when other options were available, then at 3-1 Dawson played in fellow sub. Akeem Hinds on the left but his heavy first touch let him down. The drama in extra time started on the stroke of 10 p.m. when the pitch was plunged into darkness, the resumption coming 12 minutes later.

The replay had opened with 'the Bucks' attacking the Ashwood End with a stiff wind and the vociferous support of the majority of the 4-figure crowd behind them, dominating the exchanges in the first quarter but without reward. A fluent cross-field passing move ended with Jamie Ward shooting wide early on and he was close to converting a long ball down centre-field and in between the visiting 'keeper managed a clean touch when rushing out to clear Ward's fine diagonal pass. However, it was 'the Poppies' who had the better of the 2nd quarter as 'the Bucks' temporarily lost fluency and were unlucky in the 38th minute when, following a penetrative Stohrer free-kick they hit the bar. The hosts responded well, playing in Tommy Elliott, only for him to be fouled by centre-back Johnson at the edge of the penalty area before, at the other end, the latter's fellow centre-back, Chris Smith, shot over the bar  after a free-kick.

'The Bucks' regained the initiative as the 2nd half began with Elliott forcing 'keeper Smith into a good save but ex-Silverlander Alex Brown caught the eye with a 40-yard 'screamer' that passed narrowly over the bar and the visitors took the lead in the 58th minute with a header by veteran striker, Kyle Perry, following a short corner and deep cross to the far post. Buxton responded in determined fashion but Kettering defended well with an extra man added to the back line. However, a Buxton substitution produced an immediate result as midfielder Chris Dawson replaced Nathan Fox with Buxton temporarily gambling on a back 3.A passing move involving the newcomer saw Diego's short pass set up Ben Milnes for an 8-yard,73rd-minute scoring shot. Both sides naturally went for a winner but the outcome was extra time in which 'the Bucks', benefiting from their extra experience and stamina as in Saturday's conclusion, finally took command, earning the right to travel to meet York City in the first round.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Dawson), Milnes, Granite, Hurst, Ward (Hinds), Meikle, De Girolamo, Elliott (Chambers), Clarke. Unused Subs: Middleton, Dillingham, Sherwood & H Richardson.

 

Saturday 16th October KETTERING TOWN (2) 2 BUXTON (0) 2 ATT 1218

EMIRATES F.A.CUP, 4TH QUALIFYING ROUND

An added minutes goal, the 3rd in a month, allowed 'the Bucks' to salvage their F.A. Cup dreams and thereby earn a place in Sunday's 1st round draw for the first time since 1973 (then after a 2-2 result versus Alfreton).In the 4th of 5 extra minutes, a long-struck free-kick from Theo Richardson down the middle was handled by defender Chris Smith and Diego dealt superbly with the pressure to fire the penalty-kick hard and low inside a post.

The dramatic conclusion was certainly Buxton's 'Get out of Jail' card as for an hour the visitors, arriving with an unbeaten record of 25 matches (pre-season, NPL and F.A. Cup), had only occasionally been able to come near their usual fluency and penetration. Then they grabbed the lifeline offered by right-back Barrett's mis-struck clearance and when the ball reached Diego 19 yards out he hammered a drive unerringly into the roof of the net. Two minutes later Jamie Ward's wickedly curling  centre was clawed away by 'keeper Jackson Smith and then, from Ward's neat chip, the custodian just beat Warren Clarke to the ball, but even so Kettering, in 8th place in a division higher in the pyramid, sought to restore their 2-goal lead rather than defend what they had. Man-of-the-match Powell cut inside from the right to power a low drive to the near-post where Theo produced a smart save. That was followed, from an Alex Brown corner, by Stones sending a glancing header wide of goal and Powell hitting a spectacular curling shot narrowly wide.

Nonetheless 'the Bucks' were back in contention and on 79 minutes when 'keeper Smith ventured far from goal to head clear, the ball went high into the air and he was fortunate that it fell to a team-mate. Six minutes later, when Tommy Elliott was fouled centrally at the edge of the penalty area, the visitors seemed to have a good chance of an equaliser but referee Watson inexplicably allowed the defensive wall to station itself by the penalty spot, little more than 6 yards away instead of the required 10! Needless to say, the free-kick hit the wall, but 2 minutes on an even better opportunity went begging. The increasingly influential Jamie Ward fired a low, driven cut-back from the by-line but James Hurst miscued his effort back the way the ball had come! And so to the finale which by the hour-mark had seemed likely to be a mere figment of the imagination.

Until then 'the Poppies' had been firmly in control, thanks mainly to their outstanding 2 ex-Silverlanders, left-back Alex Brown and striker Callum Powell, who was signed in summer 2020 but left before playing a match on account of the distance he would have had to travel. Alex's contribution was his superbly-struck,19th-minute goal. After an even start to the tie, he took a right-flank corner and, after Powell had returned the ball to him, he cut in to fire home powerfully inside the near post. Thereafter the hosts gradually tightened their grip, with Stohrer (ex-Shaw Lane) providing experience in midfield and Ofosu some dangerous prompting but the main man was Powell with his pace and movement, and it was fitting that he should make it 2-0 two minutes before the interval. Ofosu played a short cross in from the right, Stones miskicked in front of goal, but Powell forced the ball home and Buxton had fallen 2 behind for the first time this season.

After the break Kettering remained in control and Theo's fine save from defender Luke Ward's drive prevented a potentially decisive 3-0 lead. At the other end Tom Elliott's good work set up Jamie Ward's shot into the side-net but the Buxton opening goal came out of the blue to transform the nature of the tie.

A big week for 'the Bucks' lies ahead. The Kettering replay is scheduled for Tuesday at 7-45 p.m. and supporters are urged to come early to avoid queues at the turnstiles. Next Saturday Buxton travel to take on 2nd-placed South Shields, who on Saturday won 1-0 at Matlock.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes (Chambers), Granite, Hurst, Ward, Dawson (Meikle), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Middleton, Hinds, Dillingham, Catt, H Richardson.

Tuesday 12th October BASFORD UTD (1) 1 BUXTON (1) 3 ATT 353

Watched by Kettering manager, Paul Cox, Buxton came from behind on Tuesday to earn a thoroughly convincing victory at 6th-placed Basford, who have been good enough recently to record a sequence of 7 consecutive league and F.A. Cup wins and to triumph at 2nd-placed South Shields last Saturday. Including the 8 pre-season successes, 'the Bucks' remarkably are undefeated in 25 games and have netted 16 goals in the last 4!

Yet the evening began with the shock of a 2nd-minute Basford goal. Home winger James, an occasional threat in the first half, forced a corner and the delivery skimmed all the heads, dropping for ex-Silverlander Brad Gascoigne to hammer an angled drive into the net's far bottom corner. Stung into an immediate response, 'the Bucks' delivered a near-20 minute master-class of intense attacking play which produced close calls but no goals. The other Basford ex-Silverlander, skipper Matt Thornhill, usually so inventive, was largely occupied with defensive duties in front of a 5-man rearguard, but 'keeper Adam Collin was twice nearly embarrassed by firm drives from Ben Milnes then Warren Clarke, the ball rebounding from for defenders to save his blushes. It was all Buxton as Jamie Ward had a low, goal-bound shot deflected for a corner, then fired a 20-yard effort just wide before Milnes hit an angled drive wide from similar range.

By quarter-time the hosts were at last offering something in attack, chiefly through James, and were awarded a corner-kick, much to the surprise of James Hurst who had allowed the ball to go dead, but the visitors replied with a fluent, cross-field move that set up Matt Curley for a low,25-yard, angled drive wide of the target. Basford were pulling lots of players back behind the ball but in the 36th minute it seemed a case of 'too many cooks' as possession was conceded unnecessarily deep in the Basford half for Jamie Ward to drive home low between 'keeper and post. The home side now had its best spell with a Gascoigne header at a corner blocked and Kane Richards prominent in a couple of passing movements on the right that exerted a degree of pressure.

The 2nd half was dominated by this impressive Buxton team as its accurate passing skills and movement off the ball kept Basford largely on the back foot. Happily, Nathan Fox escaped unscathed from a spectacular foul that earned defender Betts a caution, but Matt Curley soon had to retire through injury, though Ben Middleton proved an adequate replacement with some solid defending. In the 54th minute, from a corner, Josh Granite netted his 1st Buxton goal on his 22nd appearance to confirm his team's supremacy. A dangerous Fox lofted cross, directed at Clarke, forced a corner from which the Buxton captain sent a looping 16-yard header back under the far angle. The goal prompted Basford to replace Betts with veteran striker O'Connor but the move did little to relax the visitors' stranglehold, though the substitute did set up Marcus Marshall (ex-Matlock) for a shot that passed wide but that attack was a rare interlude. Another fluent Buxton passing move, starting with Middleton, saw Ward shoot wide but he did find the net again at 3/4 time, rounding off a move at close range with an effort that went in off defender Ryan Wilson to complete his brace and make it 5 goals in 4 games for the in-form winger. The last quarter followed the familiar pattern of the evening but with 'the Bucks' main aim being to avoid any repetition of the opening minutes and in this they succeeded without a hint of a grandstand finish'.

Team: Richardson, Curley (Middleton), Fox, Milnes, Granite, Hurst, Ward (Meikle), Dawson, De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Turner

Saturday 9th October RADCLIFFE F.C. (1) 2 BUXTON (2) 3 ATT 494

An encounter between teams at opposite ends of the table (the visitors 3rd,the hosts 3rd from the bottom) was another richly entertaining spectacle, with a particularly thrilling and dramatic finale, featuring 'the Bucks'. It was a dry, wind-free day perfect for soccer and played on an immaculate grass pitch with an end-to-end slope reminiscent of the pre-3G Silverlands. And apart from the excitement of the play, several unusual facts developed; all 5 goals came from free-kicks, with Buxton's trio, all expertly delivered by Ben Milnes, resulting in headed goals (despite their opponents starting the game with 8 6-footers !),while Radcliffe's brace were deadly accurate, low shots at goal from the edge of the penalty area, scored by loanee debutants from E.F.L. clubs who were signed after the midweek departure of manager Lee Fowler.

Buxton were without injured centre-backs Josh Granite and Ben Turner, but the restored Ben Middleton and James Hurst generally had the better of the former E.F.L. duo of Grant and Akpa-Akpro (who was lost to injury at the half-hour).For 'the Boro', ex-Silverlander Simon Lenighan figured in central midfield, with summer trialist Joe Cummings at centre-back, though winger Rod Orlando Young was absent through injury.

In a way the opening was similar to Tuesday's match, in that for 30 minutes there was little to choose between the teams though, as ever, 'the Bucks' enjoyed a majority of possession. Diego had 2 early shots,1 at the 'keeper, the 2nd wide from 25 yards. Another flowing cross-field move broke down and, on the counter down the slope, Grant fired a low,20-yard drive wide of the target before Matt Curley's fine defending protected the far post after Radcliffe's best attack. Then 2 goals in 5 minutes put Buxton firmly in charge. On 32 minutes a delightful James Hurst glancing header from 10 yards at the far post comfortably beat home skipper Belford to make it 1-0, then Warren Clarke placed a firmer, downward effort past the 'keeper on his other. right, side. 'The Bucks' went looking for a 3rd goal, with Chris Dawson shooting across the face of goal, but his namesake, Adam (ex-'Macc') for 'the Boro' replicated that effort which narrowly evaded the on-rushing Kole Hall. However, at the very end of added time, Radcliffe's Jack Baxter (from Preston) scored the goal that changed the complexion of the match in the hosts' favour.

The returning Lindon Meikle replaced the unwell Tommy Elliott at half-time but 'the Bucks' were soon threatening again. An increasingly important factor in attacking play was man-of-the-match Nathan Fox down the left and from his 50th-minute cross, Clarke drew a vital tip-over save out of Belford. Some fluent midfield approach play at the hour set up Milnes for a 25-yard shot that passed wide, then a Fox cut-back from the by-line was cleared with difficulty. The left-back's play was outstanding and he forced several unproductive corners but, with only a single-goal deficit, Radcliffe had the incentive to attack and it took good work by Curley and Hurst to snuff out a Grant opportunity 20 yards out. Another player prominent in Buxton attacks on the left was Jamie Ward and he showed superb control of a long pass from 'keeper Theo to force yet another (of many!) corner. Then in the 79th minute defender Ben Rydel, on loan from Salford, made it 2-2 with a sumptuous free-kick to the delight of the animated home crowd who now scented a major upset. Nonetheless it was Buxton who snatched the winner deep into added time and how appropriate it was that another splendidly accurate Milnes free-kick should be followed by Fox's lofted cross for substitute Ash Chambers to net with a 10-yard glancing header just inside a post. With Matt Curley's last-gasp equaliser at Warrington, Buxton have now gleaned 3 additional points from strikes in added time!

This was a first visit since March '73 when a lone Brendan McGuire goal proved enough to help 'the Bucks' on their way to their only Cheshire League title, but nobody knows how significant Saturday's late winner will prove, especially as rivals Matlock and South Shields lost.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes (Hinds), Middleton, Hurst, Ward, Dawson (Chambers), De Girolamo, Elliott (Meikle), Clarke. Unused Subs: Dillingham & Turner.

Tuesday 5th October BUXTON (1) 4 WHITBY TOWN (1) 1 ATT 317

A second half of scintillating, attacking soccer earned 'the Bucks' the 3 points which enabled them to leapfrog their seaside visitors into 3rd place following Saturday's F.A. Cup romp to make a tally of 10 goals netted in 4 days! After failing to score from open play in his last 5 outings, Diego found his shooting boots again with a vengeance, recording his first hat-trick since October,2019, and celebrated by superbly laying on his team's 4th goal for the outstanding Jamie Ward, who is now regularly applying his Championship class to Buxton's forward play.

Happily the worst of the day's weather had passed by kick-off time but Buxton still had to face a stiff, squally breeze in attacking the Railway End as a thoroughly entertaining encounter developed. Ben Milnes stepped into midfield to replace the poorly Lindon Meikle, while Ben Turner has still to recover fully from injury. For the first 50 minutes there was little to choose between 2 teams capable of challenging the best in the division, with Buxton taking a 25th-minute lead only for Whitby to equalise 10 minutes later. In the last 40 minutes 'the Bucks' raised their attacking game, showing a flair for creating and finishing off openings to which the visitors had no answer.

In the first half the exchanges were even from the outset. A Milnes free-kick produced a corner-kick, taken by Milnes, from which Diego's half-volley passed wide, then for Whitby ex-Hartlepool midfielder Hawkins went even closer as his firm, low 20-yarder forced Theo into a smart save at the expense of an unproductive corner. Buxton's goal had a touch of good luck about it as the excellent Hawkins, subsequently substituted, was off the pitch injured but there was nothing fortunate about its creation and execution. From a left flank move, a Tommy Elliott pass enabled Diego to find the net from 8 yards with a fiercely-struck shot. The hosts maintained their momentum with Jamie Ward working a creative 1-2 with Diego but then shooting wide, before the visitors responded through ex-Silverlander, Jacob Hazel, hitting the far post as he fired across the face of goal. The equaliser was not long delayed as Hazel, now matured into an accomplished and dangerous striker, blasted home Giles's short pull-back from the by-line and it was Whitby who held the initiative for the rest of the half.

After the interval both sides continued to threaten, and immediately Town's Giles, in a good position, was slow to get his shot away, then Elliott for Buxton had an effort blocked, but the midfielder played a vital part in his team's 53rd-minute,2nd goal. He dummied a short cross from the left, allowing Diego to fire home a fierce drive from close range. Whitby responded immediately but when Hazel miscued a 25-yard effort so that it soared high into the night sky it seemed to signify the shift in momentum towards Buxton. That impression was very much confirmed just short of the hour with a decisive 3rd home goal made possible by a major penalty-area, defensive muddle. Diego was the beneficiary with a simple tap-in to complete his hat-trick. Confident in their 2-goal cushion 'the Bucks' now produced attacking, passing soccer of high quality, creating several openings. Centre-back Rowe excelled in thwarting Warren Clarke, then the industrious Ward's low cross-shot hit a post only for Diego inexplicably to shoot the rebound over the bar from 6 yards. However, in the 71st minute the 2 combined superbly to make the score 4-1.Out on the left, Diego struck a magnificent, curling, low centre for Ward, having sped in from the right, to meet it in front of the target-the goal of the evening, and of many another evening too ! Buxton finished the game in splendid fashion and so too did visiting 'keeper, Bland, who touched wide Ward's 25-yard snap shot, then made a great save from Diego after high-class approach play by Clarke and Elliott and finished the evening by twice denying substitute Ash Chambers at close quarters.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes, Granite (Middleton), Hurst, Ward (Chambers), Dawson, De Girolamo (Dillingham), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds and Catt.

 

Saturday 2nd October CITY OF LIVERPOOL (0) 1 BUXTON (4) 6 ATT 321

EMIRATES F.A.CUP, 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND

After a dearth of clear openings created and a blank score-sheet recorded on Tuesday, 'the Bucks' ensured their passage to the final qualifying round for the first time in 4 years with an abundance of clinical finishing on the Wirral on Saturday in a convincing response to last December's 'Trophy' defeat.

'The Bucks' made the most of their good fortune with the weather far less inclement than elsewhere, settling quickly to their task on the immaculate grass surface and going close in the 12th minute as both Tommy Elliott and Warren Clarke all but got a scoring touch to Diego's pull-back from the by-line. Five minutes later Chris Dawson did find the net with a 20-yard low drive just inside a post. 'The Purps' responded positively only to be thwarted by a fine Elliott recovery run and tackle in midfield, then skipper Burke (ex-F.C. Utd) at quarter-time got away his side's first shot ,but in the 26th minute a venomous Clarke 20-yard volley, set up by a Jamie Ward pass, made it 2-0 barely a minute after he had switched to the left flank. On the half-hour the scorer could have made it 3-0 but ex-Buxton loanee 'keeper, Theo Roberts, produced his best save to keep an accurate drive out of the top corner. However, only a minute later Buxton did score again, James Hurst heading home powerfully following a rehearsed short-corner routine. The visitors ruthlessly continued to press forward, displaying the fluency in passing that has become a hallmark of this team and on half-time good work by Josh Granite and Matt Curley at the back played Ward in behind the defence for an unchallenged 1-on-1 situation and there was no doubting his confidence in converting stylishly for a 4-0 interval lead.

Even though the tie was effectively over, the 2nd half proved very watchable, with 'the Bucks' hungry for more goals and 'the Purps' persistent and plucky, despite losing midfielder Hazlehurst, the hero of last season's meeting, to a 2nd (and harsh) caution shortly before the hour. By then 'the Bucks' had gone 5-up,Ward netting comfortably from Clarke's left-flank cross just 4 minutes into the second period. Immediately afterwards Buxton made a first substitution, followed in the last quarter by 2 more, with opportunities sensibly given to Academy players, Jack Dillingham and Ewan Catt. The changes did nothing to disrupt the team's fluency and it was Theo Roberts who denied Ward his hat-trick just after the hour, as a 4 on 3 counter set up his chance. Nonethelless, in the 68th minute, Elliott became the 5th individual scorer in making it 6-0,prodding onto a post and into goal a Ward pull-back, his last action before substitution. The visitors continued to attack effectively with Elliott and Dawson combining to feed Clarke for a 15-yard rising drive narrowly over the angle, then Elliott set up Diego but he couldn't get his shot away, followed by substitute Akeem Hinds twice being thwarted at the far post, firstly by a defender then by the well-placed Theo, who finally made another fine save from a Diego effort.

The hosts did create one moment of satisfaction as Burke netted an 88th-minute consolation with a firm, low, angled shot that went in off the far post, but the mid-table Division One (West) outfit was well-beaten at a club not visited by Buxton since the days of the N.W. Floodlit League more than 40 years ago. So 'the Bucks' march into the 4th qualifying round, having scored 17 goals in 3 ties plus a replay, and now await Monday's draw ahead of the club's 8th attempt at this stage to reach the first-round proper for the first time since 1962!

Team: T Richardson, Curley, Fox (Hinds), Meikle, Granite, Hurst, Ward (Dillingham), Dawson, De Girolamo, Elliott (Catt), Clarke. Unused Subs: Chambers, Milnes, Middleton & H Richardson

 

Tuesday 28th September GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY 0-0 BUXTON ATT 410

On Tuesday a 4th consecutive draw in NPL fixtures (and the 2nd in 4 days versus bottom-half teams) did little to enhance 4th-placed Buxton's quest for honours as the top 2,South Shields and Matlock, both won (though 3rd-placed Whitby surprisingly lost).It was an evening of frustration for 'the Bucks' who were clearly the superior side after the opening 35 minutes during which Trinity worked so hard to match the visitors, yet despite dominating possession, particularly after the interval, they couldn't create openings of sufficient quality to trouble Hull City loanee 'keeper Cartwright. As a result Buxton failed to score for the first time in 21 games and have now played their last 3 halves without reward, but due credit must be given to disciplined and dogged home defending. Key to their 'clean sheet' was veteran player-coach, Neil Bishop, who organised his young team-mates in the over-worked 5-man rearguard. Nor was this an isolated success as Trinity have now conceded just 4 goals in 6 home league matches. 'The Bucks' did find the net once,5 minutes before the interval and it left players and fans puzzled when an offside decision followed Lindon Meikle's far-post, 'scoring' header (for what would have been his 1st BFC goal).A fluent passing move had earned a corner on the left, leading to a superbly-rehearsed routine in a crowded penalty area and Meikle's header. That was followed by Chris Dawson showing exemplary skill but then shooting over the bar at full stretch.

It was a very wet night yet the well-grassed surface was firm for 2 sides committed to playing passing soccer, but Buxton's 3rd-minute promising attack was defeated by the bounce as Warren Clarke tried to latch onto Nathan Fox's lofted ball forward. Trinity had possession too, with Bishop influential early on but on 20 minutes he shot high over the bar. However, it was the visitors who had the better opportunities in the first half-hour with most falling to Jamie Ward. When Tommy Elliott robbed Bishop centre-field, Jamie tried unsuccessfully to beat the off-his-line 'keeper from 45 yards rather than involving well-placed team-mates, then from a free-kick 20 yards out his effort cleared the bar by some margin.

There was no doubting Buxton's superiority in the 2nd half, with Trinity forced back in numbers and just a few venturing forward when a counter was possible, so the route to goal was regularly blocked. However, a good chance fell to Dawson in the penalty area in the 52nd minute but he fired early and wide, clearly not knowing that he had more time. A fine forward ball from James Hurst, an admirable deputy for Ben Turner, freed Ward but he was robbed 20 yards from goal and when substitute Ben Milnes went down under challenge in the box, there was no penalty award. The hosts did very occasionally threaten and it took a splendid Josh Granite block to thwart a shot by ex-Silverlander, Brad Grayson.

So 'the Bucks' had to settle for 1 point, thus extending an undefeated run at the Northolme to 10 matches (since the '89/90 campaign) and their own unbeaten sequence this season to 21 in all games. On Saturday at 3p.m. Buxton take on City of Liverpool in the Emirates F.A. Cup's 3rd qualifying round, to be played at the Vauxhall Motors ground at Hooton, Ellesmere Port.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Hurst, Ward (Akeem), Dawson (Milnes), Chambers (De Girolamo), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Middleton & Dillingham.

 

Saturday 25th September BUXTON (2) 2 MORPETH TOWN (2) 2 ATT 374

It had to happen sometime but was unexpected on Saturday ! After 11 consecutive home wins in pre-season, league and F.A. Cup, Buxton failed to overcome bottom-of-the-table Morpeth, who, by contrast, earned their first point 'on the road' at the 6th attempt! Yet this was hardly the massive failure the league table may suggest as Morpeth are surely in a false position as circumstances previously combined and conspired against them. They are currently managerless but have a stable playing staff which features 7 men with considerable and recent National League experience.

The eventually out-of-sorts 'Bucks' needed to have played better to have overcome this resilient opponent in a curate's egg of a match in which virtually all the substantial excitement came in the first half, with the remainder a major disappointment as a crowd-pleasing spectacle. Only the injured Ben Turner was absent as the hosts opened so brightly at high tempo, fashioning several openings in the early minutes. Nathan Fox and Tommy Elliott combining on the left, then Ben Milnes and Elliott again all did good work without a clear chance resulting, while Warren Clarke cut in from the left to earn a corner and ex-Darlington 'keeper Dan Lowson had to punch clear, with a similar outcome. However, it was Town who took the lead in the 11th minute. Andrew Johnson, ex-Spennymoor, pounced on Matt Curley's mis-header and scored with a glorious 20-yard shot into the far top corner. Only 2 minutes later it was 1-1 as Clarke's approach play was finished off by Jamie Ward's 14-yard drive, yet parity lasted but 3 minutes as a very rare Theo Richardson mistake, his first in 20 games, allowed Ben Sayer's 25-yard effort to creep inside a post. Buxton then drew a fine, flying save from Lowson as a Diego header may have gone in at the angle. Morpeth also threatened as Carl Finnigan, formerly a South Shields stalwart, sent a deflected shot onto the net roof. In the 40th minute Buxton equalised through a fiercely-struck Diego penalty-kick after Michael Turner had fouled Josh Granite as a lofted free-kick arrived from the left.

The second half, until the closing minutes, really did disappoint as the evenly-shared exchanges were drained of fluency and momentum by scrappy play, fouls, cautions and substitutions. Only late on did 'the Bucks' exert concerted pressure with substitute James Hurst firing a 22-yard drive over the bar, Clarke hitting the far post from a lofted Fox cross, then substitute Ash Chambers being thwarted in a scramble at the penalty spot.

So, after 3 meetings, Buxton have yet to defeat Morpeth but do remain 4th,though 2 more points behind the top 3 who all won. On Tuesday 'the Bucks' travel to meet 17th-placed Gainsborough Trinity, who nevertheless have lost just once in 6 home league matches.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle (Hurst), Granite, Middleton, Ward (Dawson), Milnes (Chambers), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Dillingham

 

Saturday 18th September BUXTON (3) 4 RUSHALL OLYMPIC (0) 0 ATT 405.

EMIRATES F.A. CUP  2ND QUALIFYING ROUND

Buxton convincingly dispatched former NPL rivals, Rushall, in the September sunshine on Saturday, with attacking midfielder, Tommy Elliott, the undoubted star of the show with 2 goals and 2 'assists' to his credit in an outstanding individual display. His team-mates offered splendid support in an impressive performance that laid the bogey of a visiting club which had won 6 of its 8 previous Silverlands encounters. 'The Pics' did make several openings but a combination of effective defending and forward failings helped to keep a 'clean sheet' for 'the Bucks'.

Home dominance began only 2 minutes in as 'the Bucks', attacking the Ashwood End, immediately created a high tempo. Elliott's sumptuous, back-heeled pass opened a route for Jamie Ward, who ran on to shoot low into the left net corner from 18 yards. Brimming with confidence, Tommy then blasted a 25-yard power-drive at the 'keeper before delivering an accurate pull-back from the by-line but Diego inexplicably fired over the bar from 5 yards-all within the opening 5 minutes! Rushall responded with some possession but found themselves 0-2 down in the 14th minute as Theo Richardson's centrally-struck, long free-kick was allowed to bounce, freeing the irrepressible Elliott to round 'keeper Palmer and net easily.

In the 2nd quarter of the tie, 'the Pics' had chances to halve the deficit. In Owen Parry they have a player with a prodigiously long throw but sound defending and goal-keeping prevented any of his 8 first-half missiles from creating a goal, while the excellent Ben Middleton recovered to rob Cobourne when Diego's faulty pass had given the visitor a 1-on-1 opportunity. Meanwhile Buxton continued to threaten, Palmer being forced to save with his feet a shot by substitute Chris Dawson, whose pass then in added time allowed Elliott to give his side a 3-0 interval lead as the visiting defence for once created its own problem with defective passing under pressure.

'The Bucks' re-started with a trio of attacks, the last of which produced a Diego shot saved at the expense of a corner, but generally in the 3rd quarter they were 'off the boil' and 'the Pics', sharing possession, created openings. Theo did very well at his near post after Parry turned and shot low, then Middleton again distinguished himself in defending against Cobourne before the hosts attacked on the left through substitute Akeem Hinds, on for Warren Clarke, and Nathan Fox, who set up Diego for a decent shot that passed wide. The striker was himself soon replaced by Ash Chambers, who immediately scored his side's 4th goal and his 7th of the campaign (making him the leading scorer).A low Elliott pull-back set up the striker for a deliberately and delightfully-placed effort just inside a post.

To their credit the visitors continued to seek some consolation, but a bizarre 79th-minute incident must have convinced them that it was simply not their day! Parry's curling shot was heading for a top corner when team-mate Whittall applied an unnecessary strike to divert the ball high over the bar and also prompt the assistant to raise an offside flag! Richardson then emphasised the point with a spectacular flying save to preserve the 'clean sheet'.

The dream of reaching the F.A. Cup's 1st round proper for the first time in nearly 60 years lives on!

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Middleton, Ward (Dawson), Milnes, De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke (Hinds). Unused Subs: Dillingham, Catt, Sherwood and H Richardson.

Tuesday 14th September WARRINGTON TOWN (1) 2 BUXTON (1) 2 ATT 417

On Tuesday evening Buxton twice equalised, the second in the last minute of added time, to preserve the team's unbeaten record which now stands at 18 (8 pre-season plus 10 league and cup), but the week's 2 draws account for the drop to 4th place. Yet this may be considered a point gained rather than 2 lost as 'the Bucks' trailed for much of the evening; they were level for a mere 5 minutes at the outset, then for 9 more at 1-1 versus a 'Wire' side which started in 6th place and which, one home fan asserted at the end, had just given its best display of the season to date. What's more, following the 'horses for courses' theory, Buxton's only win in now 6 visits to the stadium was a 7-0 thrashing of tenants Leigh Genesis in 2009.

'The Wire' scored from their first attack, as had happened at Ashton on Saturday. Similarly, a rapid counter on the visitors' left was the route, setting up ex-F.C, Utd striker Buckley to net with an angled, low drive into the far corner. Buckley on 19 minutes went close to doubling his tally, sliding forward as a left-flank cross flashed past him, while for a full half-hour 'the Bucks' had a majority of the possession but without penetration. However, they then began to develop a more promising method. Warren Clarke cut inside from the right to fire a curling shot not far wide and Matt Curley plus Chris Dawson combined to set up Diego for a low 25-yarder that 'keeper Atherton pushed out for a corner. A minute later the 'keeper did even better to thwart Diego again but he had no answer to the 39th-minute equaliser. Dawson's fine, long diagonal pass to Jamie Ward on the left set up the winger to advance and replicate Buckley's scoring effort. By then an uncanny resemblance to Saturday's unsavoury proceedings had already set in, with Warrington's physical efforts to unsettle 'the Bucks' starting referee Ryder's collection of an eventual half-team of Town yellow cards for fouls.

Ben Milnes replaced Dawson, unwell at half-time, and the visitors opened positively but within 3 minutes were again undone by Buckley, whose long, central run ended with a superb curling drive just inside a post. Buxton responded in determined fashion, with Atherton having to race from goal to tackle Ward successfully as he latched onto a long ball, then at 3/4 time it seemed hardly credible that Clarke from a yard out couldn't head home a short cross from the left. Town had their chances too. Buckley shot across the face of goal when a through ball presented him with a hat-trick opportunity and a swift home passing move ended with Theo Richardson making a save with his feet. However, throughout the half there was an unpleasant undercurrent of smouldering confrontation, with fouls frequently provoking rows, each one barely contained by the hard-pressed referee, who harshly cautioned Tom Elliott and Diego for minor fouls, seemingly in the spirit of levelling up, though Ben Middleton couldn't complain at his caution. Happily, Mr. Ryder was not persuaded to show a red card by Baillie's exaggerated rolling about (followed by a predictably instant recovery) as he claimed serious foul play.

In the closing minutes 'the Bucks' persevered in their search for a second equaliser but it seemed a lost cause when Milnes fired high over the bar. Yet in one last attack, Curley appeared at the left edge of the penalty area and his shot was deflected home by Town's Duggan to round off a night when so many of the visitors' shots had been blocked. This was not the only irony of this closing episode. Town's hero, Buckley, was withdrawn in the 88th minute and, with Buxton opting to finish by gambling with just 3 men in defence, his replacement, the experienced Josh Amis missed 3 chances to seal victory! Finally, in the 4 added minutes, Town's time-wasting included a wait for a ball to be produced for a throw-in, so it was no surprise that Mr. Ryder allowed Curley's point-saver to be scored in the 95th minute!

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Middleton (Chambers), Ward (Hinds), Dawson (Milnes, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Dillingham & Catt.

Saturday 11th September ASHTON UTD (1) 1 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT 238

'After the Lord Mayor's Show' goes the old adage and so it has been in Buxton's week. After the splendid advert for non-league soccer that was Tuesday's F.A. Cup replay, Saturday's draw at Hurst Cross was a disappointment, notably the last quarter of the match that was downright ugly. There were constant interruptions as Ashton totted up a string of cautions for fouls, the ball hardly seemed in play and 'the Bucks' unsurprisingly lost their fluency and with its loss went their hopes of victory.

Without a win in 7 league and cup outings since defeating Matlock on the opening day but with a very commendable draw at league leaders, South Shields, on Tuesday, Ashton sought to disrupt the visitors' rhythm as 'the Bucks', as so often is the case, dominated possession from early, with the midfield pressing of Lindon Meikle, who enjoyed an excellent first half, a notable feature. Buxton's first chance, in the 13th minute, was produced by Diego's pass to Tommy Elliott, who forced 'keeper Martin to save with his legs, then immediately another corner-kick resulted from Matt Curley's low cross to the near post. However, it was Ashton who took the lead in the 19th minute with their first serious attack and what a goal it was! Nathan Fox lost possession just inside the Ashton half, the hosts broke quickly, and Bentham struck a 25-yard drive that flew away from Theo Richardson into the far top corner. A further setback just prior to the half-hour saw 'the Bucks' deprived of centre-back Ben Turner through injury caused by a foul challenge on him, but Ben Middleton proved a most capable deputy, and they equalised some 7 minutes later with Meikle again the mainspring. He robbed Bentham in midfield, passed quickly to Elliott who moved the ball onto Diego for a splendidly accurate, low,17-yard finishing shot. Buxton pressed forward in search of a half-time lead and Diego's 25-yard shot was not far wide, but even closer was a 'goal', involving strike partners Diego and Ash Chambers close in, ruled out for offside, though the suggestion of a defender's touch put the correctness of the decision in doubt.

Buxton started the second half in equally positive fashion. Warren Clarke, back after injury, beat 2 defenders but the 'keeper reached the ball just in time, then Martin was soon in action again, tipping Elliott's lofted 15-yard shot over the bar, before Ashton's Hardcastle made a surprisingly unchallenged run through the centre to set up a low shot comfortably saved by Richardson. Arguably the match's turning-point occurred just short of the hour with Chambers not converting Elliott's superbly weighted, central through ball. Clear of the nearest defender, a heavy touch gave Martin the chance to intercept when he should have been left helpless.

After that Ashton's physical approach, emphasised by the replacement of diminutive striker Redshaw by the tall, strapping Adarabioyo, had the better of the exchanges, while referee Porter, with an unenviable task, became the busiest man on the pitch.

There is certainly food for thought for 'the Bucks' going forward as there will undoubtedly be other teams who adopt a physical, spoiling approach to contain a Buxton side with a growing reputation for skilful, passing soccer.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Turner (Middleton), Milnes (Ward), Clarke, De Girolamo, Elliott, Chambers. Unused Subs: Hinds, Dawson & Dillingham

 

Tuesday 7th September BUXTON (3) 5 SHERWOOD COLLIERY (0) 1 ATT 467

EMIRATES F.A.CUP, 1ST QUALIFYING ROUND REPLAY

A pulsating Buxton performance on Tuesday evening in a rousing F.A. Cup replay earned a home tie in the next round versus former NPL rivals, Rushall Olympic, a week on Saturday and likewise earned more credit with their fans. The well-beaten visitors also deserve praise for their positive contribution to the evening's rich entertainment by maintaining an attacking style to the very end; both teams missed enough good chances for a considerably bigger score to have been likely.

As on Saturday, Buxton made a blistering start but at a faster tempo and created 6 good openings in the first quarter of the replay. After Ben Turner had blasted a 25-yard speculative drive over the Ashwood End bar, a Matt Curley low cross all but forced an own goal before Chris Dawson netted a delightful 5th-minute opener by taking a short Ben Milnes pass and weaving past 2 defenders to slide his close-range effort past 'keeper Turton. Then almost immediately a fierce Diego shot ricocheted from underside of bar to post with the ball subsequently cleared from the line. However, in just the 9th minute, the fleet-footed Tommy Elliott, pursuing a through ball, was undeniably fouled and Diego netted low and convincingly from the penalty spot. Left-back Nathan Fox was next to feature, first firing low and diagonally across the face of goal, the ball narrowly evading the sliding Ash Chambers, then repeating the effort, again without a team-mate able to profit.

Perhaps inevitably the frantic early pace eased, and Sherwood settled, their forward trio at last able to make an impression but Buxton continued to dominate possession and just past the half-hour an Elliott overhead kick wide of the goal maintained the threat. Ten minutes later Diego doubled his evening's personal tally, rolling the ball home as a Curley free-kick reached him. Before the interval the visitors showed their attacking quality as first Belgrave's shot was blocked, then Taylor drove at Theo Richardson after a corner and, from their best move to date, Norcross fired high and wide.

 'The Bucks' were at their quietest in the quarter-hour after the interval during which Sherwood enjoyed a spell of possession but out of the blue it became 4-0 in the 61st minute as a Curley lofted delivery was flick-headed home by Chambers. The goal clearly decided the outcome but ushered in a half-hour of attacking soccer by both teams which remarkably produced only 2 further additions to the score .Following Elliott's ball-winning tackle at half-way, a flowing Buxton move through an under-staffed defence set up substitute Jamie Ward but his shot missed the target, then Theo denied the visitors with a trademark save with his legs before Chambers completed his personal brace in fine style in the 71st minute to lift the score to 5-0.He flicked the ball round a defender then netted confidently. Still surging forward, Sherwood scored 3 minutes later as York shot home a left-flank cross and then Ingram's header from a Norcross lofted ball to the near post only found the side-net before 2 forwards collided to spoil a promising attack. This thoroughly entertaining encounter was by this stage a wholly open game, but Elliott twice missed the target after excellent approach play by first himself then subsequently by Ward and Chambers, who had given his best display to date.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Granite (Middleton), Turner, Dawson (Ward), Milnes, De Girolamo (Catt), Elliott, Chambers. Unused Subs: Hinds, Dillingham, Cullen & H Richardson.

Saturday 4th September SHERWOOD COLLIERY (0) 2 BUXTON (1) 2

EMIRATES F.A. CUP, 1ST QUALIFYING ROUND ATT 408

When 'the Bucks' established a 2-goal lead in the 51st-minute, a reasonably comfortable passage to the next round seemed by far the most likely outcome, but within 5 minutes the scores were level, despite the hosts having offered little threat before the interval. In the remaining time Sherwood looked quite capable of snatching victory as did the visitors in a nail-biting finale.

Such a conclusion was in total contrast to the opening minutes in which Buxton came rapidly 'out of the traps', dominating possession as Sherwood, undefeated in 8 league and cup games, struggled to contain their opponents from 2 levels higher in the pyramid. Such dominance should have been rewarded with a 5th-minute lead but Warren Clarke's 8-yard shot cleared the bar. Only 3 minutes later a bizarre incident caused a 6-minute delay (to replace an assistant's broken flag !),after which there was never again such clear daylight between the teams though Buxton remained the better side for the rest of the half. Prominent was Chris Dawson in midfield as he regularly latched onto second balls in midfield and it was remarkable when he was blatantly pushed over, without retribution, in front of goal when he was well-placed to meet Ben Milnes's right-flank cross. However, in general, 'the Bucks' were too intricate in their approach play to fashion clear openings, yet that was in obvious contrast to 'keeper Theo Richardson's so-accurate long-kicking which had the potential to propel his team forward quickly. Nonetheless the visitors took a 27th-minute lead in simple fashion. A Milnes free-kick to the near post found the advancing Clarke who thereby atoned for his earlier miss.

The lead was doubled soon after half-time as first Dawson then Milnes fashioned the opening, with Ash Chambers converting the cross at the far post. Yet 'the Bucks'  themselves rapidly succumbed to crosses, from left and right respectively, with defective central marking allowing first Curtis then Theakstone to find the net. For the first time in 15 undefeated games more than 1 goal had been conceded. Increasingly the mainspring for the hosts' attacks was quicksilver midfielder, Will Norcross, as both sides probed for a probably decisive goal. A rapid Sherwood counter looked very promising but unnecessarily broke down, while home 'keeper Turton saw a post come to his aid as he only half-saved Tom Elliott's 20-yard drive. Ben Turner headed wide from another well-placed Milnes free-kick before the precocious Norcross turned superbly to shoot across the face of goal. Finally visiting substitute, Jack Dillingham, on late for the injured Clarke, delivered a powerful, lofted cross from the right but Chambers’ header missed the target.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Meikle, Middleton, Turner, Dawson (De Girolamo), Milnes, Chambers, Elliott, Clarke (Dillingham). Unused Subs: Granite, Hinds, Catt, Cullen, H Richardson.

Saturday 28th August BUXTON (1) 2 STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (0) 0 ATT 502

To win (comfortably) without playing well is usually seen as a sign of a team likely to be successful and 'the Bucks' earned full points on Saturday without regularly displaying their usual fluency on the ball. Yet the defence and 'keeper Theo Richardson, who set up the second and decisive goal, were sound throughout and contained a Celtic side which arrived in 17th place. Celtic had 4 ex-Silverlanders in their starting 11, another, Ethan Padden, was substitute and 2 more, Connor O'Grady and Shane Killock, were on the sidelines. The visitors, often deploying a 5-man back line protected by ex-Buxton defensive midfielder Sam Wedgbury, had to rely on counter-attacks as Buxton enjoyed a majority of possession but took 32 minutes to force their first corner-kick,2 minutes before the first goal arrived. By then 'the Bucks' had made a few openings without reward. In the 7th minute a Tom Elliott lofted corner evaded 'keeper Grant Shenton but Ben Turner beyond the far post headed wide, then Elliott and Warren Clarke set up Jamie Ward, but his shot lacked power. Clarke again played a neat ground pass for Diego to aim for goal but his effort was blocked. However, Buxton's best passing move of the day produced a 34th-minute goal by giving Diego the opportunity to hoist a superb, lofted cross to the far post where Clarke headed home via the 'keeper's hand. Just prior to the interval, 'Bridge had their best chance yet to equalise from a near-central,19-yard free-kick but it only found the defensive wall, then striker Jack Ryan shot well wide.

The same outcome resulted from a similarly-placed Celtic free-kick some 9 minutes into the second half, with the entertainment value already improving, but it was a defensive error in the 67th minute that allowed the 2nd and decisive goal, which had more than a touch of poetic justice about it. Preceding it, Richardson, at the edge of his penalty box, comfortably fielded a regulation downfield ball but then crumpled as Ryan passed him. After he had recovered, Theo sent a booming, lofted free-kick through the centre, a defender mis-headed and Clarke gratefully looped his header over Shenton.

Following Ward's injury just after half-time, Buxton made 2 further substitutions, partly with Monday's challenging away fixture in mind no doubt, and the visitors had rather more possession than previously, but that created more counter-attacking possibilities for Buxton. From one, Elliott fed Nathan Fox on the left but his shot was wayward. To their credit Celtic persevered and from a corner, Quansah headed over, then the dominant home skipper, Josh Granite, made a successful tackle as Padden threatened to create an opening.

Buxton's 2-goal victory was sufficient to retain the league leadership on goal difference.

Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Dillingham), Meikle, Granite, Turner, Ward (Milnes), Dawson (Hinds, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Middleton & Chambers.

Tuesday 24th August BUXTON (0) 3 MICKLEOVER F.C. (1) 1 ATT 457

Three goals in 14 second-half minutes on Tuesday propelled Buxton from deficit to victory and a return to the top of the fledgling table. The visitors had themselves led the division at the time of suspension last November, and coming fresh from a brace of home wins, carved out a shock opening goal in just the 3rd minute. A 'Bucks 'attack on the right broke down and with Matt Curley stranded forward, former adversary, Andrew Dales, back from a spell with Scunthorpe, was fed on the left by Beavon. His pace took him rapidly from half-way so that he could angle a low shot into the far corner of the net, putting Buxton behind for the second consecutive match. There was an immediate home response with Diego weaving through the centre only for his shot to find the side-net. The striker soon created a better opening for Chris Dawson by 'dummying' Warren Clarke's low cross from the right, but the midfielder miskicked in front of goal. Like Dawson, winger Jamie Ward was making his first start of the season and went close at quarter-time. He worked a neat 1-2 but his angled drive passed wide.

Buxton tightened the screw and dominated possession in the second quarter, though Ward overhit a cross and Diego erred similarly with a through ball, while Ward's 20-yard dipping drive narrowly cleared the bar and Lindon Meikle, a dynamo in midfield, shot wide from similar range. Despite such dominance, the visitors' dogged defending prevented 'keeper Hawkins from having to make a save.

There was no change of Buxton personnel till the score reached 3-1 but a more penetrative attacking style unlocked the visitors' rearguard just before the hour mark. However, a turning-point in the match was surely a Dales miss very early in the half. Another rapid counter-attack found him out on the left and with 'keeper Theo Richardson rushing out towards him, Dales flicked the ball over him and goalwards....but narrowly wide !

The visitors then had a 54th-minute warning of what was to come. From Theo's typically long and accurate free-kick, Ben Turner headed down for Dawson to shoot but a deflection took it onto the net's roof at the Railway End. Yet the equaliser did come 4 minutes later, made and finished by Tommy Elliott. Accepting Curley's pass in centre-field, he then found Ward out on the left, took the return and beat 2 defenders before striking a low,15-yard shot into goal. With Mickleover rocking, it took only 6 minutes to lead, in simple fashion. Matt Curley's driven cross from the by-line was turned into goal by Dawson. If that was straightforward, the 3rd and decisive goal in the 71st-minute seemingly came from very little. An innocuous throw-in on the left was moved goalwards to full debutant Jamie Ward whose effort found the net for his first Buxton goal.

The remainder was something of an anti-climax, with 5 of the 6 substitutions coming in a quarter-hour spell. Unsurprisingly, 'the Bucks', with 2 matches in 3 days scheduled for weekend, were content to wind down proceedings, while the visitors, apart from a Beavon shot across the face of goal, though having rather more possession, couldn't find a way back.

Bucks: Richardson, Curley (Middleton), Fox, Meikle, Granite, Turner, Ward (Dillingham), Dawson (Milnes), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & Catt

 

Saturday 21st August F.C.UNITED OF MANCHESTER (0) 1 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 1797

 "Great game" ,"wonderful advert", were just 2 of the comments heard on leaving the stadium on Saturday. There have been several fine encounters between the 2 clubs but surely none to match this action-packed, end-to-end thriller which was totally gripping from virtually start to finish. Forward-minded teams, penetrative attacks, countless corner-kicks and fine saves by both 'keepers in front of a large, noisy crowd meant that the match had everything to be desired except lots of goals, yet it didn't seem to matter as the points were deservedly shared.

After a brace of comfortable victories, 'the Bucks' were seriously tested and in their 11th outing fell behind, remarkably, for the first time this season but fought back in determined fashion to level the score. Each team seemed likely to take control at the time of the goals but both sides proved resilient and were able to regain a foothold in proceedings.

The unchanged 'Bucks' had no weak links while the home team was heavily dependent on 'playmaker' and captain, Potts, and powerful striker, Main. Special mention, however, must be made of the outstanding contributions of both 'keepers without which there would surely have been a bagful of goals. Each seemed to have his own particular specialism : Theo Richardson's was the vital use of his feet and legs to block close-range shots, while Lavercombe's tip-overs were likewise goal-saving. What's more, home defenders on 3 occasions made goal-line clearances!

The goalmouth action began as early as the 3rd minute when Main was close to converting a low, driven, right-flank cross, then James Hurst's down-and-up header was touched over the bar by Lavercombe before Diego had a shot cleared from the line. Mishaps on the turf made slippery by rain only added to the excitement. Main was proving a constant threat, while 'the Bucks' at the half-hour strung together a 4-man move that was ended by a hefty foul on Warren Clarke a matter of inches outside the penalty area. The half ended with 2 powerful Hurst headers, one that was blocked on the line and the second narrowly wide of the target.

Such attacking quality continued immediately after the interval, but it was F.C. Utd who seized the initiative and took a 48th-minute lead. From a short-taken corner, Potts hoisted an immaculate cross to the far post from where advancing centre-back Morris headed home. His side's best spell followed and 'the Bucks' had to resist several minutes of intense pressure, with Theo again showing his ability to save with his legs. However, a twin Buxton substitution put the visitors back in contention and they were soon creating the more frequent openings. Utd's own double substitution around 75 minutes showed their concern but within 2 minutes they conceded the equaliser as from Nathan Fox's low cross, Diego turned to fire home low from 7 yards. Utd weren't finished and Theo soon had to make the save of the match at full stretch after Linney cut in from the right. Nor were 'the Bucks' and it seemed almost incredible that Turner's downward header should bounce up and over the bar as they finished the stronger of the 2 teams.

Bucks: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes (Meikle), Granite, Turner, Chambers (Ward), Hurst, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Dawson, Middleton & Hinds

Tuesday 17th August GRANTHAM TOWN (0) 0 BUXTON (2) 3 ATT 261

For the second time in 4 days, unchanged Buxton achieved a convincing victory by 3 clear goals to be 1 of just 4 Premier Division teams to have a 100% record. Manager Gary Hayward felt that on Saturday his men 'never got out of second gear' but on Tuesday 'the Bucks', sound in defence and inventive in attack, regularly displayed an attractive brand of passing soccer. A good example came at 2-0 just past the hour when better than a dozen passes were strung together in probing for an opening.

There were a couple of sub-plots too. Three of 'the Bucks', Theo Richardson, Ben Middleton and former Town loanee, Chris Dawson, had been with Grantham, while among the 5 ex-Silverlanders in the 'Gingerbreads' ranks was Nico De Girolamo, their captain, who had the task of containing brother Diego, but the latter gave his side the lead after just 10 minutes. Breaking out from a home corner, Diego profited from a Tommy Elliott pass to net clinically and low from 10 yards.

Likewise, a winner on Saturday, Grantham, with a totally rebuilt playing staff under former Sheffield Wednesday star, Carlton Palmer, proved resolute, persevering and, in their best spell midway through the first half, a threat, forcing 'keeper Richardson to make 3 good saves. The first 2 were shots following corner-kicks and the third as he parried a 25-yard power-drive by ex-Matlock midfielder Williams. A 4th save followed as he parried at full stretch a 19-yard Williams free-kick. However, 'the Bucks' continually looked dangerous when counter-attacking and home custodian Pollard successively had to thwart first Ash Chambers then Elliott when rapid moves neared the target. A second goal, in the 41st minute, did soon follow with Chambers applying the finish to yet another fast-moving attack. The goal pattern of Saturday was being repeated as early and late goals had produced a 2-0 interval lead.

Grantham introduced striker Modest to partner ex-Silverlander, Brad Grayson, as well as Josh Meade into midfield, later to play alongside recent Buxton trialist, Masai Abouin, but well before the end, though persevering, Town seemed to have run out of attacking ideas. The visitors' 3rd goal in the 76th minute finished any hope of a Town revival. Midfielder James Hurst, who also won so much ball in the air, advanced on the right to cross low and dangerously for Chambers to convert at the near post.

Bucks: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes, Granite, Turner, Chambers (Dillingham), Hurst, De Girolamo (Meikle), Elliott (Dawson), Clarke. Unused Subs: Ward & Hinds

Saturday 14th August BUXTON (2) 3 BAMBER BRIDGE (0) 0 ATT 400

'The Bucks', building on the unprecedented 100% record from 8 pre-season games, scored twice in the first half to set up a victory that was confirmed by a last-minute third. They had the opportunity to take a 10th-minute lead from the penalty spot after 'Brig' left-back Marlow body-checked the lightning-fast Warren Clarke as he advanced on the right. However, Diego's effort disappointingly rebounded to safety from the bar. Undaunted, man-of-the-match Clarke did it all by himself 5 minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball centrally just past half-way to race through, round 'keeper Roccia and find the Ashwood End net. Another 5 minutes on and the scorer had a second chance to net. The influential James Hurst started a move, then Diego passed nicely to Clarke, but his close-range shot was narrowly wide. Hurst was soon the provider again with a header on from midfield and Roccia had to rush 30 yards from goal to thwart the attack.

Buxton dominated possession and it was mid-half before the visitors' experienced Mark Yeates (ex-Sheffield Utd) managed a shot that passed well wide but his team-mate Forbes later had a better opening but could head only at home 'keeper, Theo Richardson,1 of 5 starting debutants for BFC. Three minutes later and just prior to the interval, Diego doubled the home lead as he profited from Clarke's short pass to net from 7 yards.

The tenacious 'Brig' side, who had 4 players cautioned for fouls, had more possession after half-time but could only create 1 clear opening. Young Blackpool attackers, the lively Apter and tall 'target-man' Bange, featured regularly with the former bringing a save out of Theo, who less comfortably also had to effect a 2-fisted punch to clear a high ball. Meanwhile Buxton threatened in counter-attacks, on 1 occasion forcing Roccia again to race out to clear, before debutant substitute, Jamie Ward, in the 86th minute played the ball across the face of goal with no colleague there to prod home. The visitors responded spiritedly and from a corner-kick a Forbes header was kicked away from the goal-line but in the last minute debutant midfielder, Ben Milnes, saw his 20-yard deflected drive touched by Roccia against the underside of the bar then bounce down and spin into goal.

The 3rd goal meant 'the Bucks' share top spot with South Shields in the division's first table before travelling on Tuesday to Grantham Town, whose win at Radcliffe was their first away from home since Dec.2018.

Bucks: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Milnes, Granite, Turner, Chambers (Ward), Hurst, De Girolamo (Dawson), Elliott (Meikle), Clarke. Unused Subs: Dillingham & Catt