Buxton FC Match Reports
Saturday 23rd April STALYBRIDGE CELTIC (1) 1 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT 1047
With their NPL championship success all-but sealed on Easter Monday, 'the Bucks' unfortunately couldn't round off the season with an extension to their 15-game unbeaten run, despite entirely dominating the 2nd half when playing up the considerable Bower Fold slope. The conditions proved a great leveller for 16th-placed Celtic and even their goal resulted from an understandable defensive error on the very dry, exceptionally bouncy pitch which made ball control an ordeal. Another factor in the defeat was the addition of the impressive Lindon Meikle to the trio of already injured midfielders, forcing players into positions not conducive to making the best of their considerable talents.
'The Bucks' were soon in arrears as a short back-pass was seized upon by Celtic's main striker, the experienced Correia, who accurately lobbed the advancing Theo Richardson with just 3 minutes played. In the first half Buxton could only infrequently put their passing game together. A good move down the left saw Nathan Fox work a 1-2 with Tommy Elliott, before firing a tempting cross that was, however, headed away by home skipper O'Halloran. For Celtic, winger Johnson offered a threat but missed the target with an angled shot and on the 34th minute a powerful Chambers shot suffered the same fate as it found the side netting. Close to the interval, Warren Clarke tried to wriggle through but was outnumbered.
With Grantham leading South Shields from the 52nd minute, there was no chance of a pair of freak results to change the destination of the title, yet Buxton's champions' pride drove them forward throughout the 2nd half but without reward. A very early, lengthy scramble in the Celtic goalmouth was a portent as a minute later Ash Chambers's 15-yard low drive was denied by Shenton's one-handed save at full stretch, while there was ample promise as the visitors strung together more passing moves than previously. Substitute James Hardy curled a shot over the angle and Shenton,1 of 4 ex-Silverlanders in home ranks, parried Jamie Ward's 25-yard power-drive and from a Hardy corner, Elliott's flicked header ran clear from the bar. In added time, Theo twice tried to advance for corners but the first caused amusement as it was taken too quickly for him to arrive! Finally, Ward going to ground under challenge from another ex-Silverlander in Steve Brogan brought no award from referee Hall.
So Buxton's arguably best-ever season ended in anti-climax but the memories of 2021/22 will be of superb, passing soccer, a record-equalling,20-game unbeaten sequence, an all-time defensive record of just 2 goals conceded in 11 matches, a thrilling F.A. Cup run that significantly raised the club's profile and attracted many new supporters and, finally, a dramatic, deserved title success versus full-time, perennial promotion favourites, South Shields.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton (Hardy), Cowan, Granite, Fox, Ward, Chambers (Heaney), De Girolamo (Gilchrist), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner & Meikle
Monday 18th April BUXTON (1) 1 MATLOCK TOWN (0) 0 ATT 2456
At 4-55 on Easter Monday, amid jubilant scenes on the pitch with fans, players, management, coaches and directors mingling in celebration, for some it had to be confirmed that Buxton had all but become NPL champions with only the remotest mathematical possibility of that being denied. Three points ahead of closest rivals, South Shields, and with a goal-difference advantage of 1, only 2 highly unlikely results will be needed next Saturday for 'the Bucks' not to be champions and therefore automatically promoted to the National League (North).
Yet such a joyous outcome had seemed unlikely until as late as 4.50! Buxton had led from the 17th minute versus arch-rivals, Matlock, while South Shields were 2-1 up on visitors, Whitby, but Town first equalised then netted an 89th-minute winner, ironically scored by ex-Silverlander, Jacob Hazel. News of that goal sent the home contingent into ecstasy! The NPL crown was effectively theirs for the first time since joining the competition some 49 years ago and after 38 full, plus 2 suspended, Premier Division campaigns.
Third-placed Matlock, including 5 ex-Silverlanders plus another as substitute and needing the points to cement their play-off place, proved to be the stubborn opponents their recent record of 5 consecutive 'clean sheets' suggests. Yet 'the Gladiators' had scored only once in those 5 games and from the 17th minute were therefore under pressure to net or leave pointless. At the Ashwood End Tommy Elliott's corner-kick had been long-struck, with Diego curling the ball back for Dan Cowan to head downwards into goal for his second in 5 games.
The hosts continued to press forward and created further openings despite resolute Matlock defending. Both Sean Newton, from a 21-yards free-kick, and Warren Clarke, from a half-cleared corner-kick, fired narrowly over the bar, while the visitors were twice denied progress by commanding home captain, Josh Granite. There were also examples of classy play with Newton's superb cross-field pass for Matt Curley on the right flank, followed by fine Ash Chambers penalty-area work to create a scoring chance for himself from 17 yards, but his goal-bound shot was deflected for a corner. Then, just prior to half-time, Diego was twice close to doubling his team's advantage. Firstly he managed to touch the ball over 'keeper Cooper without being able to finish, then, from the ensuing corner-kick, he had a drive blocked close to goal. The tension was palpable but the record crowd for a Buxton home NPL fixture (surpassing the 2090 for F.C. Utd's first visit in 2008) was being splendidly entertained and so it continued into the second half, with both sides looking capable of scoring.
More tricky Chambers footwork forced a corner and Curley's 40-yard, cross-field pass set Jamie Ward away on the left, but under great pressure Diego couldn't net his low cut-back from the by-line. In reply, Greenfield turned Cowan but 'keeper Theo Richardson parried his powerful shot and from a corner a header was not far wide. Still Buxton pressed forward continually in search of a clinching goal with Cooper tipping a cross-cum-shot over the bar, followed by Ward and Diego twice combining for the latter to shoot without reward. Diego then had a goal-bound drive deflected for a corner but Matlock's threat remained, with Cowan's defensive header clearing a cross. Indeed, there was very late drama when Theo had to save point-blank from a powerful Hughes header as news arrived of 'the Mariners' falling behind. The home crowd's rousing response further stoked the tension as 3 minutes of added time were played, with Diego and Ash Chambers impressively denying possession to 'the Gladiators' in the corner by the Social Club before the final whistle sounded and then......!
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Hardy), Chambers, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner, Heaney, Chambers & Fox
Saturday 16th April MICKLEOVER F.C. (2) 3 BUXTON (1) 3 ATT. 757
A drawn six goal 'thriller' on Easter Saturday saw Buxton's lead at the top of the table reduced to goal-difference advantage over South Shields, who took full points at F.C. Utd. Urged on by hundreds of the 'Silverlands faithful' this Derbyshire 'derby' was never going to provide easy pickings, especially as the hosts had already defeated Matlock and South Shields at Station Road and 'derby' matches tend to show scant regard for league placings.
A cagey, drab opening quarter gave no hint of what was to come but once the goal-fest began in the 28th minute, the advantage ebbed and flowed from one team to the other as 'the Bucks' had twice to equalise before taking a lead. Ironically the first goal was scored by Doncaster Rovers loanee, Liam Ravenhill, the teenaged son of former Buxton favourite, Ricky. He was allowed to cut inside from the left flank and fire a 20-yard low drive into the far corner of the net. By then his team had become the more purposeful in attack but the goal inspired 'the Bucks' into a positive response with a Matt Curley cross narrowly evading Ash Chambers beyond the far post and Warren Clarke's 41st-minute, 18-yard snap shot drawing a smart, low save from experienced 'keeper, Hedge, at the expense of a corner, Buxton's first, from which came the equaliser. From Tommy Elliott's kick, Dan Cowan's header on gave Ash Chambers the sort of close-range finish he relishes. A second corner followed almost immediately and twice the attackers forced clearances from the goal-line, an incident that proved to be a distinct turning-point as on the stroke of half-time, home midfielder Radcliffe surprised everyone with a stunning, 25-yard low drive from a central position, just inside a post, to put 'the Bucks' in deficit again.
As a result, the championship-chasers showed more urgency, to dominating possession in the early minutes of the second half and in the 52nd minute equalised for a second time with a goal worthy of any class of soccer. The 4-man move started on the right with Curley's accurate square pass that was enhanced by Elliott's inventive 'dummy' and Diego's defence-splitting 'assist' for Clarke to finish with a composed, close-range shot. Buxton now looked the more likely to go on to win and just past the hour Clarke sent a fine, 20-yard effort narrowly over the angle. Then in the 68th minute Clarke's low cross from the right, aimed for Diego, produced a blatant foul on the striker by substitute Joe Bateman (ex-Derby). The number 9 deceived Hedge from the penalty spot for a 3-2 lead. Mickleover soon introduced a second striker in the lively substitute, Davidson-Miller, while 'the Bucks’ twice had to reshuffle following substitutions caused by injuries. The disruption played a part in the hosts' 87th-minute equaliser, a piece of sublime individual skill delivered by veteran striker Beavon, who turned past Dan Cowan to drive fiercely and low from fifteen yards inside a post
So, Buxton's unbeaten run was extended to fourteen but, with several players not at their best, more goals had been conceded in 98 minutes than in the previous thousand! The nail-biting nature of this dramatic championship chase was amply illustrated in just one minute very late in the afternoon. With 'the Bucks' 3-2 up and F.C. Utd holding South Shields, 'the faithful' could dream of a four-point lead by 5 o'clock. Then came Beavon's equaliser, immediately followed by news of 'Shields' late winner, to reduce Buxton's lead to goal difference! Now on to the eagerly awaited Matlock home game on Monday (at 3 p.m.).
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Chambers, Hardy (Ward), De Girolamo, Elliott (Fox), Clarke (Turner). Unused Subs: Heaney and Gilchrist.
Saturday 9th April BUXTON (2) 3 GRANTHAM TOWN (0) 0 ATT 775
'The Bucks' 13th fixture since last tasting defeat (at Morpeth in late January) didn't prove unlucky as they convincingly overcame already-relegated Grantham to complete a 6th 'double' of the season. Victory confirmed Buxton's place at the top of the table and the 'clean sheet' was their 9th in the last 11 games-certainly a post-war record and most probably the best in BFC history. 'The Gingerbreads' may be lodged at the bottom but they performed with professional pride and were prompted throughout by their superb skipper and 'play-maker', Elliott Durrell (ex-'Macc'),who fashioned most of their attacks.
Last week 'the Bucks' crucially missed early chances but this Saturday didn't make the same mistake as they netted twice in the opening quarter of the match. The first resulted from full debutant James Hardy's pacy,11th-minute run through midfield to set up the excellent Ash Chambers for a neat, close-range finish. Three minutes later it could have been 2-0 as Warren Clarke outstripped his marker, cut in and fired a 25-yard curling shot narrowly over the bar. Then in the 21st minute the winger made an opening for Diego but his firm drive was deflected for a corner, from which the hosts did double their advantage, in spectacular fashion. From Tommy Elliott's kick, Diego side-stepped a defender's challenge and, with no backlift, unleashed a 12-yard power-drive into the far side-netting.
The contest was providing rich entertainment for another bumper crowd as Buxton passed the ball purposefully and fluently, while Grantham put some previous visiting sides to shame by attacking in numbers, with Durrell's inventive work frequently catching the eye. Between the first-half goals he got off a low shot that went close to the far post and then just prior to the interval he caused home 'keeper, Theo Richardson, to dive out and hold a driven, low cross. Theo was, as ever ,in very good form. Very early a rare defensive error had forced him into a blocking save, then close to half-time he made an impressive, under-pressure, near-post catch from a long throw. Even so, the most penetrative attacks were by Buxton. A precise passing sequence preceded Diego's intelligent, curling cross that evaded Chambers beyond the far post, then the latter's lovely footwork set up Hardy close in but Pollard, the very competent Town 'keeper, robbed him. Disappointment followed as a splendid midfield passing movement was rounded off by a Chambers 'goal' that was ruled out for offside.
The match continued in the same vein after half-time. Almost immediately, Sean Newton forced a corner, then, from Elliott's kick, he headed the ball back for Chambers to head wide. At the Ashwood End, from Durrell's lofted cross, Wood likewise headed wide. Far from closing out the game, 'the Bucks' clearly sought a decisive 3rd goal but Pollard was not easily defeated. He parried a Chambers drive, kept out a header by the same player but was beaten in the 65th minute. Another accurate passing move involving several players left Diego unmarked close to goal and he made no mistake.
Nor did the action cease there. Pollard just managed to touch away Newton's long, lofted cross, but, in the 78th minute, he had to rely on a defender at a post to thwart Diego, who had been fed by a Matt Curley low cross. The 'keeper saved with his legs to frustrate Elliott but Diego alone was responsible for twice missing the target in added time.
With 3 rounds of matches remaining, the Easter weekend could well be vital for the destination of the league title. 'The Bucks' are now looking forward to a tasty couple of Derbyshire 'derbies'. On Saturday they visit Mickleover to play on their new 3G pitch for the first time (kick-off 3 p.m.) and supporters need to be aware that parking at the ground is likely to be much more restricted than usual. On Easter Monday we entertain Matlock Town, also at 3 p.m. The match is being ticketed and supporters are encouraged to buy this week and then to arrive early as a large,4-figure crowd is expected.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Chambers (Gilchrist), Hardy (Fox), De Girolamo, Elliott (Heaney), Clarke. Unused Sub: Turner
Saturday 2nd April BUXTON 0-0 LANCASTER CITY ATT 655
Buxton's first home goal-less stalemate, between the division's 2 most in-form teams, was not altogether unexpected. Now unbeaten in 12 fixtures, Buxton have conceded a mere and unprecedented 2 goals in the last 10 outings, with Lancaster winners of 4 consecutive matches at the expense of just 1 goal!
However, while 'the Dolly Blues' couldn't force even 1 save all afternoon out of home 'keeper, Theo Richardson, 'the Bucks' missed first-half chances created by their consistently fluent style of passing soccer. They set off superbly with a trio of convincing, penetrative, very early attacks. 'Keeper Anderson saved the first, the second was cleared only with difficulty after Warren Clarke had sped past Sam Bailey on the outside then, still in only the 5th minute, the best chance of the afternoon fell to the hosts. Clarke intercepted an under-strength Bailey back-pass but,1 on 1, Anderson caught his intended lob. Nonetheless Buxton settled to their passing game, stringing together several impressive sequences, frequently initiated by Sean Newton's accurate distribution, but the 5-man visiting rearguard, marshalled by veterans Teague and Steel, proved resolute, while City could only respond with a couple of unsuccessful free-kicks and a blocked Charlie Bailey firm drive following a long throw-in.
Buxton continued to create openings. Diego's surprise 25-yard ground shot was half-saved but Sam Bailey atoned for his earlier error by being first to the loose ball. Then Clarke's pace twice took him to the by-line, firstly setting up Tommy Elliott for a curling, on-target shot that was blocked and secondly producing another cut-back that passed behind the onrushing Ash Chambers. Diego worked a 1-2 with Matt Curley but Anderson held his low drive, while Clarke, continuing to give Bailey a torrid time, weaved towards goal only to have his effort blocked on the goal-line.
Unfortunately, injury to Chris Dawson just prior to the interval proved a serious blow to the hosts who only regained fluency in the last quarter-hour. City benefited with more possession but without troubling Theo, though Josh Granite had to head away a dangerous right-flank cross. Yet just short of the hour Mackenzie Heaney netted for Buxton following Anderson's fumble at a quickly-taken, lofted free-kick. However, referee Kaye contentiously ruled that the 'keeper had been in control of the ball when the substitute forced the ball home.
'The Bucks' attacked with great urgency in that last quarter-hour as positional changes were made but couldn't find a way through the packed 'Dolly Blues' defence, despite the constant prompting of midfield dynamo, Lindon Meikle. The impending loss of their 2 points' lead at the top of the table was a worry for the 'Silverlands faithful' but the news of Gainsborough's latest of late equalisers versus South Shields cheered their departure. Meanwhile Lancaster, unbeaten in 4 visits since their promotion in 2017, still have an outside chance of a late push for the play-offs.
Team: Richardson, Curley (Gilchrist), Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Chambers, Dawson (Heaney), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner, Fox & Saltmer.
Saturday 26th March WITTON ALBION (0) 0 BUXTON (1) 3 ATT 516
With goals early in each half, Buxton secured a comfortable success over relegation-haunted Albion to remain 2 points clear at the top, with the outcome decided even before the hour mark. In unbroken spring sunshine on a flat grass pitch, 'the Bucks' made just 1 change with Sean Newton, available again, restored in place of Ben Turner. They made a slow start but scored from their first corner in the 13th minute. Home stand-in 'keeper, 'Man Utd' loanee, Dermot Mee, flapped at Diego's long-struck kick, allowing Dan Cowan's far-post header for his first Buxton goal. By then Albion had suffered the sort of ill-fortune that struggling teams seem to attract as captain and lynch-pin defender, Josh Wardle, was already injured and soon to be substituted.
From then the visitors controlled proceedings, with most of their attacks set up on the right. It could have been 2-0 just before the half-hour with 2 efforts going close. Matt Curley's pass set up Diego at the edge of the penalty box but his low cross-shot passed wide, then almost immediately, spotting Mee off his line, Ash Chambers, who had a superb half, tried a lobbed,35-yard effort that also narrowly missed the target. Four minutes on and Witton went close as leading scorer, Saunders, saw his accurate shot deflect off Curley into the side-net but that was an isolated incident and Chambers finished the half in style. His first splendid cross-field pass fed Tommy Elliott but then Diego's shot went wide, while his second followed a neat interception but that again came to nothing.
Nonetheless 2 decisive finishes within the opening 9 minutes of the 2nd half sealed the points for Buxton. Just 3 minutes in, again from the right, Matt Curley's 20-yard,firm,low drive was half-saved by Mee only for an Ash Chambers back-heel to set up Warren Clarke for his 12th goal of a highly profitable season. Buxton's 3rd goal in the 54th minute was altogether more straightforward, with Elliott's advance and pass from the right providing Diego with a close-range strike. Yet Witton persevered and twice forced visiting 'keeper, Theo Richardson, into showing his quality. Just before the hour, ex-Farsley right-back Baldwin cut in from the flank but Theo touched away his fierce, waist-high shot, then a quarter-hour on he saved with his feet from lively substitute Jebrin. Generally, however, 'the Bucks' efficient game management permitted the substantial contingent of visiting fans a relaxed final half-hour. Three substitutes were introduced so they had a first view of the obvious quality of Chester loanee winger, James Hardy, while a Chris Dawson midfield master-class, supported as ever by Lindon Meikle, was also evident and there was a particularly entertaining cameo from the powerful Sean Newton, who won 3 tackles in midfield,1 after another.
The 'stats' of victory are impressive; a 5th 'double' of the season was achieved in the 11th consecutive match unbeaten, and absolutely outstanding is the concession of a mere 2 goals in the last 9 fixtures! Next Saturday, when supporters' voting for their Player-of-the Season takes place, Buxton at 3. p.m. entertain Lancaster. City in mid -November inflicted a first defeat of the season on 'the Bucks', who have 3 home fixtures remaining while closest rivals, South Shields, have 2 at home and 3 away.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Chambers, Dawson, De Girolamo (Gilchrist), Elliott (Heaney), Clarke (Hardy). Unused Subs: Fox &Turner
Saturday 19th March WHITBY TOWN 0-0 BUXTON ATT 627
After Saturday's goal-less draw at 6th-placed Whitby, it may seem unexpected to report that this match clearly showed Buxton's title credentials! Yet various qualities are needed in such a quest and at the seaside character and perseverance in the face of adversity were amply displayed. With 4 men missing, including recent key men, Sean Newton and Jamie Ward, and with Warren Clarke and Mackenzie Heaney less than fully fit, a pre-match reshuffle was required, notably in defence, but the unit again proved disciplined and resolute so that the 6th 'clean sheet' in 8 games was achieved. In its rock-solid centre were skipper Josh Granite and Ben Turner, who was recalled after a 6-week injury absence and his outstanding contribution was a 17th-minute, expertly-timed saving tackle to deny Fewster close in. Later in the half he headed over his own bar when danger threatened.
Behind them was frequently unsung hero, Theo Richardson, who made 2 crucial saves in the 10 minutes prior to the interval, first saving with his feet from Jacob Hazel and then making a vital blocking save again to deny the ex-Silverlander close to goal. Luck too played a part in the 25th minute when referee Joyce penalised Clarke for a foul on winger MacDonald but left-back Hackett, chosen to take the 'spot-kick' ahead of leading scorer Hazel, blazed his effort high over the bar. The incident marked the start of the hosts' best spell but the visitors held firm.
'The Bucks', without being dominant, also had their 1st-half moments, with the clearest chance falling to Turner in the 5th minute, but after some some penalty-area action he shot over the bar from 12 yards. Then, as the visitors enjoyed their most promising spell of the half, a piece of Ash Chambers clever trickery set himself up for a shot that was blocked.
For the 2nd half Nathan Fox replaced Clarke in an adapted 4-4-2 system with Diego and Ash Chambers the front pairing. As Dan Cowan drove forward from left-back, Buxton showed immediate renewed purpose in seeking the fluency on the ball that had so far eluded them and from the 57th minute could have been facing 10 men had the officials been less lenient when Sukar kicked the grounded Chambers.
Yet the clearest chance of the half on 65 minutes again fell to Whitby. Hackett's wayward shot reached Fewster, centrally and 12 yards out, but with time he didn't use he turned and blasted high and wide. That was Whitby's last serious attack as thereafter 'the Bucks' at last began to prosper, a reward for their perseverance in striving to develop their usual passing game. More possession and greater control on the ball, with the industrious Chris Dawson and Lindon Meikle prominent, were the features as the hosts were forced back and a couple of chances were created. The strikers combined but Fox dragged his right-footed shot wide from 10 yards, then at the death Diego cleverly set up Dan Cowan who had popped up on the right but from a narrow angle his shot missed the target.
So 'the Bucks' saw their lead at the top halved to 2 points but Whitby beforehand was widely viewed as the trickiest of the 4 remaining away fixtures. What's more, the Turnbull Ground has hardly been a happy hunting ground for 'the Bucks' with now just 1 win in the last 8 visits. Six rounds of matches remain for both Buxton and South Shields, who each have 3 at home and 3 away. Next Saturday Buxton visit relegation-haunted Witton Albion while South Shields entertain Stafford Rangers.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Cowan, Granite, Turner, Meikle, Chambers, Dawson, De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke (Fox). Unused Subs: Heaney & Hardy
Saturday 12th March BUXTON (3) 3 RADCLIFFE (0) 0 ATT 702
On Saturday, while closest rivals, South Shields and Matlock Town, could earn only 1 point between them, 'the Bucks' extended their lead at the top of the table to 4 points and achieved a 4th 'double' of the season by virtue of a quite superb, first-half hat-trick from leading scorer, Diego De Girolamo. He now has 6 goals in just 3 starts since his return from his 3-months' injury lay-off. His first 2 goals, on 18 and 24 minutes, were crafted from the same mould. With little threatening in either approach play, Diego created enough space, at virtually the same spot and from a standing start on each occasion, to thunder 2 magnificent drives from 20 yards into the roof of the net past the experienced Cameron Belford, who had time only to move his head for the first effort and dived late for the second! His 3rd goal was a well-struck penalty-kick beyond the 'keeper's reach just as added time was about to begin. The award had been made in favour of Jamie Ward, who had advanced from the right flank only to be brought down as he tried to work his way between 2 defenders.
Yet other than these memorable strikes, the game was not one of the best, with Buxton virtually in total command at the back but in attack frustrated by opponents who arguably prevented the hosts from stringing together their trademark passing sequences but who created little themselves. However, in the 12th minute Radcliffe did fashion the first clear opening as Bobby Grant's dangerous, curling centre found Fleetwood loanee, McMillan, but his 12-yard header was directed at 'Keeper Theo Richardson. Just short of the half-hour, the visitors had another opportunity. From a lofted free-kick Thornley's cushioned header set up a 15-yard shot by ex-Barrow striker, Hindle, that passed wide.
Apart from Diego's goals, Buxton in possession only rarely touched their best form but between the first 2 goals there was an eye-catching move. Theo struck a splendidly accurate, diagonal free-kick, Matt Curley headed on to Jamie Ward, whose run to the by-line forced a corner-kick. Later in the half Chris Dawson, who recently has twice struck the goal-frame with superb strikes,was again out of luck. Close to goal he charged down a Belford attempted clearance but the ball ran narrowly wide.
Radcliffe made 3 interval substitutions and did enjoy rather more possession thereafter but unsung yet excellent home defenders, Matt Curley and Dan Cowan, were prominent in denying the visitors any joy. Meanwhile, 'the Bucks' went close to adding more goals. Jamie Ward, fed by Curley, from the right, and Warren Clarke, fed by Tommy Elliott, from the left, both delivered low centres that ran across the face of goal without the requisite touch being applied. Then just past the hour Clarke's pace took him round Belford close to goal and the by-line so all he could manage was a neat flick that again sent the ball across the face to safety. A lofted Elliott corner offered hope of another goal as Cowan met the ball but powered his header high and wide. At the Ashwood end the home defence stood sound and kept a 'clean sheet' for the 4th time in the last 5 outings.
South Shields' 1-1 draw at Basford was their 6th consecutive away fixture without victory (3 draws and 3 defeats) but on Tuesday make up their game in hand with a visit to mid-table Lancaster City and next Saturday entertain Bamber Bridge. Matlock's last-minute home defeat (0-1) by Atherton means Town have won just one in 8 and trail 'the Bucks' by 6 points but do have a game in hand. On Saturday Matlock have a tasty Derbyshire 'derby' at Mickleover, while Buxton face the challenge of a visit to Whitby Town.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Heaney), Dawson, De Girolamo (Gilchrist), Elliott, Clarke (Chambers). Unused Subs Fox & Turner.
Tuesday 8th March BUXTON (2) 3 WITTON ALBION (0) 1 ATT 475
'The Bucks' expected Tuesday evening victory over relegation-haunted visitors took them 2 points clear at the top of the table by overtaking perennial title favourites, South Shields. For the home 'faithful' the first half was pure pleasure as Buxton thoroughly outplayed Albion, though without the reward of as many goals as their outstanding approach play merited, yet the 2 strikes they did achieve were sheer class.
After a minute's generous applause in support of invaded Ukraine, 'the Bucks' immediately settled to their task, with Albion seemingly reduced to chasing shadows as one passing sequence followed another. In the 5th minute Warren Clarke dribbled towards goal and was robbed only for Chris Dawson to drive his shot at 'keeper Hall. However, the in-form winger was to net his 11th goal of the season 13 minutes later, a suitable reward for his ability and persistence as he flicked the ball between 2 defenders and kept going to push it deftly past Hall. One notable sequence involved Clarke, again, and Tommy Elliott for Matt Curley to cross but Diego was blocked in the act of shooting. Then after 32 minutes it was 2-0 with a goal that brought many in the main stand to their feet. Clarke's confidence and pace took him past experienced, capable, ex-Farsley right-back Baldwin in unorthodox yet fine style before his superb, low cross picked out Diego 7 yards from the target and the striker half-volleyed into goal in equally impeccable fashion. Several more examples of excellent Buxton play followed, with the splendidly effective Lindon Meikle striking a delightfully penetrative pass that deserved a better outcome, Sean Newton showing his worth at the back by heading away a rare but dangerous Witton corner and as many as 6 hard-working home players getting back and ready to deal with a lone raider, Jebrin, who later tried his luck from 40 yards, vainly hoping to profit from the under-employed Theo Richardson patrolling off his line. For Albion, worse was to follow with the dismissal of midfielder Lingouba after seeing yellow twice inside 5 minutes very late in the half. There were those in the visiting contingent who, at the interval, were full of trepidation for what seemed likely to come.
Yet the second half proved a considerable surprise as Witton not only averted a landslide of goals but also netted once to usher in a rather nervy spell for the fans in which even an equaliser was considered to be not out of the question. The catalyst seemed to be the substitution of Dawson just before the hour and an early injury to his replacement, Ryan Taylor, who recovered sufficiently to ease through the last half-hour. Dawson and Meikle had run the show from centre-midfield but now the visitors came more into the picture, though 'the Bucks' did continue to threaten. Newton's clever back-heel freed Mackenzie Heaney for a shot high over the target and a left-flank cross forced Hall into a flying catch. Then on 66 minutes Witton sprang the surprise of a goal with Telford loan striker, Bower, taking his chance well after Saunders had driven against a post from a narrow angle, and 10 minutes later the scorer's good run forced a corner from which an effort had to be cleared from close to the line. Even so, Buxton still looked capable of scoring more goals. Diego's delightful,18-yard curling shot narrowly passed the far post and Lindon's 35-yard effort landed on the roof of the net, while the introduction of Ash Chambers on the right for the last 10 minutes proved successful and from his 88th-minute accurate cross, Elliott's 12-yard downward header into a net corner sealed the points for Buxton.
Team: Richardson, Curley (Chambers), Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Heaney (Fox), Dawson (Taylor), De Girolamo, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Ward & Gilchrist
Saturday 5th March BAMBER BRIDGE (0) 0 BUXTON (1) 4 ATT 444
'The Bucks' sustained pressure on their closest rivals continued on Saturday with a highly convincing victory to earn a seventh consecutive match unbeaten, an eighth away win, a third successive 'clean sheet' and a third 'double' (after Hyde and Basford). The return to the starting line-up after injury of Diego De Girolamo and Jamie Ward promised much for the substantial travelling 'faithful', who were certainly not disappointed as the talented duo both made and scored goals on a pitch far more conducive to passing soccer than that encountered a week ago.
The eighth placed hosts were competitive and effective in the game's opening quarter but Buxton, playing in blue and yellow as a mark of support for beleaguered Ukraine, took over thereafter as the opening goal in the 25th minute transformed proceedings and two more early in the second half ended the match as a contest, with substitute Jason Gilchrist's 79th-minute fourth goal putting 'the icing on the cake'.
'Brig', now with no win in seven outings, is no longer the free-scoring side that was good enough to see off 'Shields' 3-0 in October, having suffered the recall of impressive young loan players and Buxton soon felt the benefit of the return of Diego, whose deflected 20-yard shot was well held low by debutant 'keeper, Cottam, a former Curzon trialist. However, with the stiffish wind behind them, the hosts enjoyed a majority of the early possession and in a five-minute spell twice went close to scoring. After a free-kick, home skipper Wilson inadvertently hindered Sinclair-Smith in the act of shooting, then midfielder Sinclair fired low across the face of goal with nobody able to get a touch. Five minutes later 'Brig's' luck was certainly out when Skinner's fierce,15-yard shot struck a post flush on, rebounded far to safety, allowing 'the Bucks' to counter swiftly and expertly. Possession fell to Diego, who weaved from the edge of the penalty area to score with a low cross-shot that Cottam should have saved. The goal visibly deflated 'Brig' and equally boosted 'the Bucks', who shortly prior to half-time produced two splendid moves. Chris Dawson broke out, but it was Ward's delightful back-heel that set up Diego for a 20-yard shot narrowly over the bar. Almost at once, the visitors had an even clearer opening on the counter but Jamie's 20-yard, low drive passed wide when arguably he should have played in the unmarked Tommy Elliott close by to his left.
The opening to the second half, however, saw the experienced attacker immediately set up the next goal. His incisive run took him to the right by-line and his short cutback was superbly flicked into the net by the excellent Warren Clarke, side on to goal. Five minutes on, it was 3-0 and effectively 'game over' as the hosts had little more to offer than resilience. In an interrupted Buxton attack possession fortuitously fell to Elliott at the 18-yard line and he instantly set up Diego to score confidently and low.
With an important fixture to come on Tuesday, Buxton's game management thereafter was so effective that proceedings had about as much intensity as a training event, yet a fourth goal was created in the 79th minute, with Jason Gilchrist netting his best to date immediately after coming on. Receiving a neat pass from Clarke, he beat two defenders and 'keeper to fire home positively.
South Shields' 1-1 draw at Stafford, a fifth consecutive away match without a win, meant their lead at the top has been cut to one point. 'The Mariners' have no midweek fixture so 'the Bucks' home game on Tuesday (at 7-45p.m) versus relegation-threatened Witton Albion offers the opportunity of a return to the top. Likewise on Tuesday, third-placed Matlock will be at home to in-form Ashton Utd, Paul Phillips's first club in management.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Heaney), Dawson, De Girolamo (Gilchrist), Elliott (Taylor), Clarke. Unused Subs: Fox & Chambers
Saturday 26th February ATHERTON COLLIERIES 0-0 BUXTON ATT 351
With civilised Europe wishing it could turn the clock back to a peaceful time, BFC on Saturday did return to a soccer era mostly gone by! After 3 consecutive home games in Feb. lost to waterlogging, slitting and sand, generously applied, were the traditional remedies employed at Alder Street to put the match on, but the very difficult surface proved a leveller, the draw was a fair result and the lack of goals reflected the few clear chances created. Overall, for once, it was poor-quality fare on an even poorer pitch.
The substantial away-team following regularly urged their favourites to move the ball more quickly but players couldn't trust the bobbly surface to do so and little was seen of the usual entertaining, penetrative Buxton passing sequences. What's more, the 5-man home defence, whose record makes it one of the meanest in the division, excelled in the conditions, with the full-backs the team's best players. Key to keeping Atherton's 'clean sheet' was right wing-back, Smith, whose individual contest with Warren Clarke was a feature, while Peet on the left was the mainspring for several attacks from that flank in the second half.
The evenly-contested first half, with 'the Bucks' playing up the considerable slope and into the breeze, was particularly disappointing as neither 'keeper was extended. Facing 3 very tall centre-backs, Theo's tactic was to kick wide, but apart from the opening minutes, his side couldn't out-flank the home defence which was regularly reinforced by 2 midfielders. Late in the half Clarke tried a variation, cutting in from the flank to shoot but his effort was off target. Otherwise, too many lofted balls were placed too close to competent 'keeper, Taberner. At the other end, the visiting defence was equally sound, both in open play and at the several corners that were conceded.
The second half showed some improvement after both teams made effective substitutions in attack. Diego went closest for Buxton with a fierce,28-yard drive, created from nothing and drawing a fine, low save out of Taberner, but Chris Dawson's follow-up shot didn't trouble him. The other sub. employed, Ash Chambers, was introduced late on to replace Jason Gilchrist, who had toiled fruitlessly, but in Ash's 11 minutes on-field 'the Bucks' weren't able to create the requisite 'grandstand finish'. The introduction of Cusani on the Atherton left did create a threat and just past the hour his smart turn and shot forced a corner, then he soon fired again, with Theo making the save.
As the last quarter of the game began, 'the Bucks' mounted some pressure but Tommy Elliott dragged a 15-yard effort wide after profiting from Diego's good ball in, then Dawson's powerfully-struck hooked shot also passed wide. Thereafter exchanges were again even, with a 40-yard recovery run and effective challenge by Lindon Meikle a highlight. So Buxton had to settle for a point, just as South Shields and Matlock had failed to win at Atherton earlier in the campaign.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Heaney (De Girolamo), Dawson, Gilchrist (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner, Taylor & Fox
Saturday 19th Februaury BUXTON (1) 1 GAINSBOROUGH TRINITY (0) 0 ATT 506
Buxton defeated snow, rain, mist and Trinity to top the table for the first time in 7 weeks. Missed first-half chances and a lack-lustre second-half display made for a closer result than need have been or seemed likely early on, but it was a valuable victory in a game made possible by the morning snow-clearing work of the small army of some 30 volunteers whose efforts were praised by chairman Dave Hopkins and afterwards by one of the workers, captain Josh Granite, on behalf of his appreciative team-mates.
With Tommy Elliott returning in place of injured Jamie Ward, an almost totally dominant first-half performance, built on sound defence and the central midfield prowess of the excellent Lindon Meikle and Chris Dawson, provided the crowd with rich entertainment as Buxton outplayed the 17th-placed visitors, who have won away just once. However, a number of clear chances were missed with most of them created by the pace, power and accurate crossing of left-winger, Warren Clarke, who gave right-back Hornshaw a torrid half. Yet it was Elliott's curling free-kick as early as the 4th minute that made the first opening, but Jason Gilchrist's 'free' header passed wide. There soon followed the best move of the match, a rapid,flowing,5-man passing sequence that set up Dawson but, for the 2nd consecutive game, he was out of luck with a powerful 20-yard drive which struck a post. Home 'keeper, Theo Richardson, created the next opening with still only 10 minutes gone by a superbly accurate, long diagonal pass for Matt Curley on the right flank, but his penetrative low cross narrowly evaded the onrushing Gilchrist, who then sent a rising drive over the bar when put clear by Elliott's piercing through pass. However, the striker did find the net just short of the half-hour as Clarke's low cross reached him unmarked in the 6-yard box so he had time for a composed finish.
The nearest 'the Bucks' came to a 2nd goal was from another penetrative Clarke advance. that took him close to the near post but his short cut-back was blocked, then Mackenzie Heaney forced 'keeper Yates, who had earlier twice punched clear convincingly from lofted centres, into a fine, low save with Gilchrist's drilled return blocked. Trinity had barely existed as an attacking force but in the 44th-minute highly-rated Lincoln City loanee, Draper, weaved into the home penalty area only for Theo to advance to make his one save of the day, point blank.
The second half proved a disappointment both for Buxton and the crowd as the hosts partly lost their earlier fluency and cutting edge, with Ahui now making a more effective job of containing Clarke. Yet Trinity, despite enjoying more possession than previously, barely troubled the home rearguard that was well-marshalled by Granite, though Cieron Keane, brother of ex-Silverlander, Kallum. fired a 25-yard drive wide. 'The Bucks' continued to search for a decisive 2nd goal with a lofted Heaney free-kick drawing a downward header at Yates, then a splendid Elliott pass inside Ahui sent Clarke away on 68 minutes but, from a narrow angle, Warren blazed over the target.
A flurry of substitutions filled the final quarter, including ex-Silverlander, Brad Grayson, for Trinity (but without impact) and for Buxton in the last 10 minutes came the much-awaited return of Diego De Girolamo after injury, but it was man-of-the -match Clarke who forced the last action as Yates thwarted him at the near post, then from the ensuing corner-kick the ball was cleared from close to the line.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Heaney (Chambers), Dawson, Gillespie (De Girolamo), Elliott (Taylor), Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner & Fox
Saturday 12th February NANTWICH TOWN (1) 1 BUXTON (0) 3 ATT 535
Third-top Buxton, with a 7th NPL away win, achieved the expected victory at third-bottom Nantwich on Saturday, in neutral weather for once. Ultimately convincing after a dominant 2nd-half display, the success, however, came with some anxiety in the 2nd quarter of the match after surprisingly falling behind. 'The Bucks', benefiting from 2 correct penalty awards within 5 minutes and Mackenzie Heaney's first goal for the club, fought back effectively in the impressive fashion in which they had started the game.
The visitors retained the 11 who had finished Tuesday's fixture and started with a penetrative attack as early as the 2nd minute. Matt Curley played in Heaney, who was operating in the still suspended Tommy Elliott role, and his fierce,20-yard low drive drew an excellent save from 'keeper Matty Gould. They were purposeful, confident in possession and displayed a clear intent, with several openings but no goals the result. Warren Clarke, Jamie Ward and Jason Gilchrist combined delightfully and former Welsh international David Vaughan had to make a vital interception before the ever-industrious Chris Dawson's fine diagonal pass released Ward on the right for the club's leading scorer to cut in but shoot too high.
Yet at quarter-time the hosts took the lead. Two unconvincing Buxton tackles allowed striker Shaun Miller,1 of 5 ex-Crewe men in the home line-up, to curl a splendid shot across Theo into the far corner of the net. The goal did indeed change the nature of proceedings for the rest of the half as 'the Dabbers' suddenly grew in confidence and self-belief, while 'the Bucks' couldn't respond effectively, apart from an attack just prior to the interval which nonetheless left the visiting 'faithful' frustrated. Heaney drove forward in the inside-left channel to have a close sight of goal but then chose to pass instead of to shoot and the chance was gone.
Displaying renewed vigour, Buxton threatened early in the 2nd half with Ward a major figure. Firstly, his clever pass freed Heaney close to the target and when his shot rebounded back to him off 'keeper Gould, he pulled the ball back across the face of goal, but untouched. Nonetheless, just 4 minutes later, 'the Bucks' were level. Ward played wing-back Curley in behind the defence, but ex-Leek midfielder Bell pulled him back for a clear penalty decision. For once, Jamie needed good fortune from 'the spot' as Gould saved his kick only for the ball to rebound perfectly for the striker to slot it home. Just 5 minutes later he needed no luck with his 2nd penalty as he not only found the net corner but also deceived the 'keeper. The brace of goals took his season's tally to 20.Again the award was an easy one after Gould brought down Gilchrist as he closed in on goal following a superbly swift,3-man counter-attack from one penalty area to the other.
Despite making all 3 substitutions, 'the Dabbers' could make no impression on a resolute visiting defence which was further strengthened by a management tweak. The tenacious Lindon Meikle now worked so effectively in front of a back four as Clarke moved into centre midfield and Nathan Fox was introduced on the left flank. Even so, 'the Bucks' continued to search for a decisive 3rd goal and the most impressive Dawson, in the 76th minute, deserved it but his powerful, curling,25-yard drive rattled the bar. Four minutes later the goal did come, and it was a first for Buxton by Mackenzie Heaney, whose deflected 19-yard effort went in off the bar's under-side. His confidence boosted; he then sent a low cross-shot just wide from 18 yards before the final action saw him force Gould into a good low save after Fox had set him up.
The 2nd victory of the week maintained the pressure on Matlock and South Shields but Town's 9th home defeat, with just 2 wins, in front of the biggest crowd of the season by more than 100, leaves the club clearly in danger of relegation.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Granite, Meikle, Ward (Chambers), Dawson, Gilchrist (Fox), Heaney, Clarke. Unused Subs: Taylor, Turner & H Richardson
Tuesday 10th February BUXTON (0) 1 BASFORD UTD (0) 0 ATT. 464
Looking for a 6-point haul from the week's 2 fixtures versus lower-half teams to enhance their promotion push 'the Bucks' on Tuesday achieved the first half of their task with a hard-earned, deserved success over resilient,13th-placed Basford. The visitors neither net nor concede many goals (a total of just 61 in 30 games now),so a low-scoring match was favourite, yet both sides missed chances in another entertaining Silverlands encounter.
The hosts secured a first 'clean-sheet' in 9 outings as a 3 centre-backs formation was deployed for the first time but it was the visitors who had the first half's best 2 chances, that is until the 44th minute when Jamie Ward's 6-yard effort, from Jason Gilchrist's unselfish square pass, was cleared from the goal-line. Utd's chances had come in the opening 18 minutes. Firstly Theo made a fine close-range save to deny Webb, then Palmer fed the unmarked Richards but he shot wide from 15 yards. These openings were very much against the run of play as 'the Bucks' dominated possession in their usual fashion of accurate passing soccer, but penetration near goal was made difficult by well-organised, hard-working opponents.
Buxton had settled immediately and after just 3 minutes Chris Dawson powered a 19-yard 'curler' over the bar but it was Ward, with the strong, swirling wind behind him, who surpassed his team-mate for spectacular first-half efforts, hoping in vain to beat off-his-line 'keeper Preston from 30,50 and 40 yards respectively. The hosts lost Ben Turner to injury at quarter-time but former captain Josh Granite slotted in seamlessly and soundly to help keep his team pressing forward. A smart Ash Chambers back-heel narrowly evaded Gilchrist close to goal, while Preston saved low from debutant Sean Newton's 25-yard free-kick and tipped over another well-struck Dawson drive.
Despite facing the still-strong wind after half-time, 'the Bucks' maintained control, though Basford continued to pose an occasional threat, with a header at a 48th-minute corner passing narrowly wide, but otherwise more home chances followed. Ward made a long, individual run through the centre only to be halted by a foul 20 yards out, then Matt Curley's cut-back from the right by-line was driven over the bar from 15 yards by Dawson : his team's best chance to date. The hosts' pressure was steadily mounting,3 corners were forced and from the third, Ward's superb, lofted delivery narrowly evaded the leaping Granite at the far post. However, a goal did come in the 72nd minute from loanee, Sean Newton, who fired home convincingly from 12 yards as, for once, Basford couldn't clear an attack.
The visitors, of course, now had to throw more men forward and that left gaps for 'the Bucks' to exploit but the desired clinching goal didn't follow, despite yet more openings being created. Almost immediately, from a Chambers through ball, Gilchrist was so close to a vital touch, then the former, with a lovely turn in midfield, set up a 2 v.1 attack but his pass to Ward was not of his usual quality and Preston intervened. Without a second goal, the last few minutes proved nervy for 'the faithful' but Buxton generally managed the time well, keeping possession in the visitors' half.
So a second 'double' of the season was completed and with 7 points won from the last 9,a convincing recovery is under way. What's more, the failure of Matlock and South Shields again to take full points means Buxton have taken closer order at the top.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Newton, Cowan, Turner (Granite), Meikle, Ward (Heaney), Dawson, Gillespie, Chambers, Clarke. Unused Subs: De Girolamo, Taylor & Fox
Saturday 5th February BUXTON (1) 2 SOUTH SHIELDS (2) 2 ATT 1056
A superb contest between top-3 teams, played in good spirit but terrible conditions of down-field, squally wind and constant rain, was indeed a great credit to both clubs and to the NPL; no winner on the field but the 1056 spectators were greatly rewarded for their attendance on a day reminiscent of that for the Morecambe cup-tie.
Seeking a 'double' over Shields, 'the Bucks' lacked suspended 'play-maker' Tommy Elliott as well as long-term injury victim, Ben Milnes, with the returning Diego not risked from the bench, but Ash Chambers returned effectively to the starting eleven. For their part, the in-form 'Mariners' were aiming for a 5th consecutive victory and their attacking approach guaranteed a high-quality encounter.
Faster out of the blocks despite facing the gale, the visitors led inside 2 minutes. Their first attack was developed on the left and in a scramble midfielder Briggs prodded the ball home from close to the line after Theo had saved an initial attempt on goal. The visitors continued to press forward and in the 8th minute the powerful ex-Stalybridge forward ,Osei, worked his way along the by-line close to goal before his low pull-back was cut out, then more good Shields approach play from left midfield set up midfielder Lowe for a skimming 20-yard drive that passed narrowly wide. After a quarter-hour Buxton began to pose a threat with Mackenzie Heaney's powerful,20-yards drive drawing a fine save from 'keeper Boney at the expense of a corner from which 'the Bucks' equalised. Jamie Ward's high, swirling delivery dropped from the bar for ex-'Mariner' Jason Gilchrist to get the vital touch. The hosts now settled to their passing game but conceded again in the 25th minute following an unnecessarily conceded corner-kick. Lowe's lofted delivery was met on the half-volley by ex-Cardiff centre-back Bodenham, who found the top corner from 8 yards. Buxton responded well and from 1 neat move, including headed passes, Chris Dawson's hooked,20-yard shot passed close to a post.
Shields began the 2nd half again on the front foot with 3 consecutive corners as the gale strengthened in their favour, but it was a splendid Ward cross from the left which created the first real threat, then Heaney tried a through ball for Gilchrist but that was intercepted. For 'the Mariners',a long Adams cross set up Lowe for a shot wide of goal and the latter's dangerous, wind-assisted free-kick forced Theo into a fine save, who then emphatically punched away a Lowe corner-kick. Buxton's 2nd equaliser in the 66th minute resulted from a defensive error, profited on by Ash Chambers, just as in the earlier encounter between the teams for the only goal, but this time his perfect pass set up Jamie Ward for a sublime chip over the out-rushing Boney. The visitors had the next chance when a long 'keeper's punt gave striker Hodgson a headed opportunity but he could merely find Theo ,then a header by substitute Kempster was cleared off the line at a post.
Buxton manager, Steve Cunningham, felt his team's superior fitness enabled it to finish the stronger and Ben Turner went close to securing a winner when he hooked the ball back in from a corner but that too was cleared from the line. So 'the Bucks' had to settle for a point but had 2 of the day's outstanding performers in veterans Ben Turner and Jamie Ward. In defence the former was a commanding figure, who also instigated attacks with accurate balls forward, while Jamie was back to his live-wire best and his goal, his 15th in NPL games, marked his most productive return from league matches in his distinguished career (with at least 14 fixtures yet to come !)
Of the 2 managers, Kevin Phillips will probably be the happier with the draw as it keeps 'the Mariners' 4 points clear of 'the Bucks' and with 2 away fixtures still in hand, but neither was it a setback for the impressive 'Bucks' as results elsewhere meant no ground was lost in the promotion push. On Tuesday, Buxton are at home to Basford Utd (kick-off 7-45 p.m.).
Team: Richardson, Curley, Clarke, Cowan, Turner, Meikle, Ward (Newton), Dawson, Gilchrist, Chambers, Heaney. Unused Subs: Granite, De Girolamo, Taylor & Fox
Saturday 29th January HYDE UTD (0) 1 BUXTON (0) 2 ATT 749
'The Bucks' won on Saturday for the first time in 7 outings to climb 2 places to 3rd and achieved a first 'double' but at some cost. The added-time dismissal of play-maker Tommy Elliott, along with home sub. Prifti, will likely keep him out of next week's '6-pointer' versus South Shields. The high tension of the closing minutes was in marked contrast to the first 74 of this wind-blown but entertaining encounter which had been dominated by the visitors with the reward of a 2-0 lead, courtesy of a brace of well-made goals early in the 2nd half.
Buxton's lead was well-deserved as immediate control was established all over the pitch and that was maintained throughout the game's 1st quarter in particular. Though facing the corner-to-corner gale, 'keeper Theo Richardson had little to do as the recently re-shaped defence in front of him was sound, with Ben Turner especially prominent and adept both in the air and on the ground. Another factor was the superb midfield display of the re-called Lindon Meikle who did much to break up the 'Tigers' play and then begin visitors' attacks, which were frequent but lacking 1st-half penetration as Jamie Ward, operating on the left, was for once little involved. Buxton's efforts closest to scoring were a glancing header wide by Dan Cowan from an Elliott corner and a curling,20-yard effort by the highly industrious Chris Dawson that was tipped over the angle by 'keeper Joe Green. Hyde came more into the game in the 2nd quarter but threatened little. Uche shot poorly from a decent opening, then Utd worked a 1-2 on the right but Theo dived and held a low. driven cross.
'The Bucks' started the 2nd half dynamically with 2 early goals inside 5 minutes, promising a comfortable victory. In the 48th minute Jason Gilchrist ghosted into the near-post area and touched home a low, right-flank cross for his 1st Buxton goal. The 'assist' was provided by York City loanee, Mackenzie Heaney, who throughout was busily and effectively involved in his team's many passing movements. The visitors went close again from a Ward cut-back but made it 2-0 in their next attack. A neat passing move towards the left flank culminated in Elliott feeding Warren Clarke, who offered a constant attacking threat, for a confident,12-yard, low finish.
More attacks yet no more Buxton goals followed and in the 75th minute Hyde halved the deficit with a well-taken goal that clearly encouraged 'the Tigers' to hope to avoid an 8th home league defeat. From a diagonal, determined penalty-area run, the experienced, bustling Tongue set up striker Mitchell for a neat, low finish. Pressing forward, Utd left space in midfield for Buxton to attack and substitute Ash Chambers dispatched a delightfully-struck 18-yarder just past the far post, while Hyde's pressure produced a defensive clearance from close to the goal-line.
Then came the explosive conclusion. Referee McQuillan had done well until the closely-contested later stages but arguably misread the situation which prompted him to dismiss the 2 players. Following a fair challenge at half-way, home midfielder Ikpakwu deliberately lay on the ball to prevent an Elliott break-away and when the latter unwisely kicked at it, Prifti intervened with a 2-handed shove to send Tommy sprawling. Red for Prifti was justified but Ikpakwu escaped a deserved yellow, while Elliott should likewise have seen yellow, which would have been his 2nd of the afternoon (earning a 1-match ban rather than the 3 now expected).
Team: Richardson, Curley, Meikle, Cowan, Turner, Heaney, Ward, Dawson, Gilchrist (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Granite, Taylor & H Richardson.
Saturday 22nd January MORPETH TOWN (0) 3 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT 740
Against a team in the prime form of 15 league and cup matches unbeaten (and with just 2 defeats in the last 25!),Buxton suffered a 5th reverse in 6 games to slip 1 place to 5th.Yet the story of a most disappointing outcome is that the visitors made more clear chances than the hosts, who were clinical in opening the scoring in the 52nd minute and were then gifted a penalty kick that was expertly converted, followed by a classic own goal. The result bore scant resemblance to the high-quality attacking soccer played by 'the Bucks' for all but the quarter-hour after the first goal, and particularly in the first half when they made and missed 3 good chances while the 'Highwaymen' had 1.
On the splendid, new 3G pitch 2 'footballing' teams richly entertained the appreciative crowd with Buxton shading first-half possession as all 11 starters looked the part in a display that promised much but failed to produce the deserved lead. Midfielder Chris Dawson and striker Jason Gilchrist replaced Nathan Fox and the transferred James Hurst, with Warren Clarke attacking and defending well at left-back, but it was Matt Curley and Ash Chambers on the right flank who created a 4th-minute, clear opening for the centrally placed Tommy Elliott, who side-footed over the bar from 10 yards. 'The Bucks' continued to attack fluently, seeing a shot blocked and Gilchrist firing fiercely but narrowly wide from 20 yards, before Clarke at the quarter-hour muffed another good chance, from a fine Ryan Taylor pass, by sending an angled shot weakly at 'keeper Lowson. Morpeth, who achieved a major 'Trophy' victory over Boston a week ago, did have a 17th-minute goal chance after Clarke slipped on the watered surface but fine Theo Richardson work denied Foalle. Back to the other end and still in the opening quarter the visitors created 2 more incisive moves, with the second, set up by Taylor and Chambers, falling to Jamie Ward, who hooked his shot high over the bar in an incident that was typical of a rare 'off-day' in the charismatic attacker's finishing.
There followed an utterly bizarre incident with dreadfully inconsistent, Gateshead-based referee Hopper centre-stage. Theo was correctly allowed to take a goal-kick with home forward Foalle off the pitch and seemingly entangled in the pitch surround, but as the play developed the referee whistled to allow the stranded player time to free himself! (Yet in the 2nd half Jamie Ward was grounded and lying injured for half a minute with no refereeing intervention until Curley deliberately put the ball out of play!)
Buxton made a promising start to the second half and a lofted Elliott free-kick close to the by-line glanced off the far post to safety but immediately at the other end Morpeth took the lead with on-form striker Henderson netting confidently after several visiting defenders collectively and fatally backed off Foalle 20 yards out, allowing him to make the decisive pass. Town now enjoyed their sole spell in charge and a 68th-minute Taylor foul brought a correct penalty award that allowed the experienced Noble to net convincingly. It looked all over for 'the Bucks' yet their undoubtedly gritty character not only brought them back into contention but also into chance-creating mode with the hope of an unlikely recovery. However, they again found no reward as a result of wayward finishing! Chambers played a fine pass but Ward's low cross was deflected behind the onrushing Elliott, then Ward twice shot at the 'keeper and Elliott passed a decent chance wide of the target. The theme remarkably continued as Clarke's outstanding pace took him to the by-line but good defending thwarted the low cut-back and from a 79th-minute counter-attack on the right a low cross was diverted into his own net by sliding substitute, Josh Granite (on for 'dead-leg' victim Dan Cowan). Yet despite this ultimate misfortune 'the Bucks' weren't finished as an attacking force ! From a corner-kick, Turner headed the ball back and down, but Gilchrist shot over the bar.
Therefore, missed chances galore on this occasion but a total of 15 goals conceded in the last 6 matches is a deeper-seated cause of the totally unexpected recent disappointments. However, 'the faithful' should take encouragement from the fact that with possession 'the Bucks' still look capable of beating the best.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Clarke, Cowan (Granite), Turner, Taylor, Ward, Dawson, Gilchrist, Elliott, Chambers (Heaney). Unused Subs: Fox, Meikle & H Richardson.
Saturday 15th January BUXTON (2) 3 WARRINGTON TOWN (3) 3 ATT 755
With a thoroughly gutsy display in the face of repeated adversity, Buxton thrice equalised to end a sequence of 4 consecutive, single-goal defeats to claim a deserved draw from the meeting of 2 of the top 5 teams in the table. The undoubted winners on this very pleasant January Saturday were the 755 fans who were treated to this fine footballing spectacle that was a credit to both these ball-playing teams and to the N.P.L. as it produced a first-half,5-goal bonanza.
'The Bucks' welcomed back from injury both Ben Turner and Jamie Ward and also James Hurst after suspension. Home debuts were given to local man, Dan Cowan, from Chester, thereby forming a new centre-back partnership with Turner, and to former Premiership midfielder, Ryan Taylor. Four months ago, the teams shared 4 goals in a 'thriller' so the first-half 'goal-fest' came as no real surprise.
By contrast, 'the Wire' have been able to field a settled side and took a 5th-minute lead when Jordan Buckley, who had netted an impressive brace in the earlier meeting, swept home, from close range, a low cross from the right and shortly afterwards only a timely Cowan tackle prevented him from repeating the conversion. By then, however, Buxton had already begun to show considerable attacking ability. Ward's penetrating diagonal ball into the 6-yard box fractionally eluded the sliding Warren Clarke, then Tommy Elliott forced a good save and resulting corner-kick out of 'keeper Atherton after receiving another piercing Ward pass. The latter was soon involved again with another promising through ball, this time for Clarke, who was fouled by visiting captain, Roberts, even though the striker was outnumbered by defenders. It was entirely appropriate that Jamie should net convincingly from the penalty spot. The next goal had more than a touch of good fortune as Dixon's low shot was passing well wide of goal, but it struck Buckley 8 yards out to give the visitors a fortuitous 2-1 lead on the half-hour. Back came 'the Bucks' who,10 minutes on, netted a second equaliser through Tommy Elliott's tap-in from Atherton's half-save at the end of a left-flank move. However, there was nothing fortunate about the final goal of the half. Poor defending wide at a 'Wire' corner-kick gave visiting ex-Altrincham midfielder Williams the space to curl a superb effort high into the far side netting.
After such a fine, open half, it was too much to expect an exact replica, but the exchanges continued to be of high quality as both teams attacked at will with Buxton gradually establishing a majority of possession. Ben Turner twice hit superb diagonal passes out to the right flank, but the hosts couldn't fashion a clear opening till Ward blasted a 25-yard 'screamer' narrowly over the bar. He later tried a speculative 35-yard effort having seen the 'keeper off his line but again cleared the target, as did Town's Duffy from 45 yards after Theo had raced from his area to head clear.
In the 72nd minute Buxton tweaked their formation with a double substitution and it paid an immediate dividend as Clarke's exceptional pace took him to the by-line with Jamie leaping high to head home the well-directed cross (just as the day's match sponsor, Mark Reed, did so many times!).Though Town still looked a threat, it was increasingly 'the Bucks' who pressed harder for a winner and in vain claimed to have struck it in the 84th minute but the assistant believed the Ash Chambers shot had been cleared on and not from behind the goal-line. Accordingly, Buxton slipped 1 place to 4th and in the last 5 fixtures have conceded 12 goals, having taken the first 16 league games to let in that number! Hopefully a more settled period will allow a vast improvement in that department.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Gilchrist), Cowan, Turner, Taylor (Dawson), Ward (Meikle), Hurst, Chambers, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Sub: Granite
Tuesday 11th January SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (1) 2 BUXTON (1) 1 ATT. 927
Meetings between the two clubs have generally followed home advantage and so it was on Tuesday with 'Boro' securing a narrow victory just 5 weeks after suffering a 1-5 thrashing at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium. The outcome of a splendidly competitive, evenly-fought encounter between the 7th and 2nd-placed clubs was in doubt to the end but 'the Bucks' fell to a 4th consecutive, single-goal defeat and slipped one place in the table.
The visitors were still lacking 4 injured key players in Diego, Ben Milnes, Ben Turner and Jamie Ward but making successful debuts were centre-back Dan Cowan from Chester and former Wigan and Newcastle central midfielder, Ryan Taylor. However, aerial vulnerability at set-pieces remained as shown when centre-back Gooda, unchallenged, headed home a 7th-minute corner-kick, just as he did 3 years ago on Buxton's first visit. The defence was also troubled by 4 early long throws from former Buxton trialist, Ash Jackson, and from one of them there was a remarkable escape in the 17th minute that proved a turning-point for the first half. A shot at goal fully extended 'keeper, Theo Richardson, the ball was returned untouched across the face of goal before another effort was cleared from the line. By then 'the Bucks' had begun to string effective passing moves together and they now responded with one to equalise within a minute. The ball fell centrally some 23 yards out to Warren Clarke, who struck with a venomous shot into the far top corner. Thereafter the exchanges for the rest of the half were even as both teams carved out openings. Working effectively on the right, Ash Chambers dispatched a low, curling shot that 'keeper Whitley turned away for a corner, as he did again, immediately afterwards from a Tommy Elliott 25-yard power-drive. For 'Boro',midfielder Maloney went close with a fiercely-struck,22-yard free-kick before Theo had to advance rapidly to thwart burly striker, Day,who was fortunate to escape a 2nd-half card for an aerial challenge on the 'keeper.
After the interval, the well-matched teams continued to trade attacks but it was 'the Seadogs' who scored the winning goal just short of the hour. Buxton's midfield couldn't snuff out a potential attack as the ball was moved out to Scunthorpe loanee left-winger, Wilson, who netted superbly with a left-footed drive just under the angle of post and bar from some 20 yards out. Replying immediately, 'the Bucks' all but forced a 2nd equaliser and the incident must surely be considered as the 2nd half's turning-point. A Clarke low cross set up Chambers 6 yards out but Whitley on his line saved with his feet and that proved to be the visitors' best opportunity, though in the 74th minute, while dominant for a spell, Elliott set up Clarke for a shot that was touched off target for a corner and 11 minutes later Jason Gilchrist's snap-shot curled the wrong way to narrowly miss the target. At the other end, Theo's finest moment came with a 1st-class save as Day, looking well offside, had a 1-on-1 opportunity.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Cowan, Granite, Taylor, Chambers, Dawson (Tear), Gilchrist, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Middleton, Meikle, Dillingham & Ward
Saturday 1st January Buxton (1) 2 Stafford Rangers (1) 3 ATT 890
The Bucks were looking to get back to winning ways, following two recent 2-1 league defeats and were hampered by late injuries and positive Covid tests, before the match with Stafford Rangers, which robbed the squad of Matt Curley, James Hurst, Jamie Ward, Diego De Girolamo, Ben Turner and new loan recruit Brad Jackson. Ben Milnes was only fit enough for the bench.
After a quiet start, with just a Warren Clarke effort going over of any note, the game burst into life on 20 minutes with the visitors taking the lead through a header from a corner by centre-half O’Neill going into the roof of the net. The Bucks were level just 6 minutes later when Ash Chambers capitalised on a through ball from Elliott to fire under visiting ‘keeper Belford. Buxton were unlucky not to go into the break in front with Granite having an effort cleared off the line, before fellow centre-half Middleton fired over and left-winger Warren Clarke had two chances when through on goal, the second just 3 minutes before half-time following a trademark through ball by Tommy Elliott.
Buxton started the second half in determined mood and took the lead on 47 minutes when Chambers scored after a strong 5-man break. Emergency right-back Dom Tear had started the move down the right and after the ball had once been whipped over it was returned into the middle for Chambers to bag his 12th goal of the season from only 10 starts. Buxton kept pressing and Clarke went close from distance and Gilchrist saw his effort ruled out for offside following more good work from Tear and Chambers. Chambers was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick on 77 minutes when he swivelled and got a snapshot away that just went wide.
The Bucks were clearly tiring late on, and Stafford started to take control, mainly through the long throws of former Stourbridge midfielder Tom Tonks. The leveller for Stafford was from a short corner that was smartly whipped in for Ethan Stewart to head home 85 minutes, a near copy of the opening Stafford goal. The visitors earned maximum points three minutes later when Jake Charles lobbed Bucks ‘keeper Richardson following a long-clearance from Belford to the delight of the travelling support.
With Tuesday’s match at home to Witton being postponed, due to Covid in the Albion squad, the Bucks are next in action on Saturday with a visit to fellow title-contenders Bamber Bridge. Manager Steve Cunningham will be hoping the injury situation eases, although James Hurst will be missing through suspension, and one or two new faces can’t be ruled out.
Team: Richardson, Middleton, Fox, Meikle, Granite, Dawson, Tear, Chambers, Gilchrist, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Milnes, Hinds, Dillingham & Catt.
Monday 27th December MATLOCK TOWN (0) 2 BUXTON (1) ATT 2155 (Report with thanks to DerbyshireFootball.com)
Matlock Town beat fierce local rivals Buxton 2-1 in front of a huge crowd at The Proctor Cars Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday to move to the top of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. The Bucks took the lead just before the half hour mark through a well taken Brad Jackson effort from 20 yards out.
But the whole dynamic of the game changed drastically just three minutes afterwards when James Hurst needlessly picked up two yellow cards in quick succession and was given his marching orders by the referee. The Gladiators fought back with the extra man advantage and ended up securing all three points thanks to second-half goals from substitute Ross Hannah and Reece Kendall. The game was a very cagey affair for the first 20 minutes. Both teams were certainly well aware of just how much was riding on this crucial A6 derby. Hurst's ambitious long range effort after six minutes had Dan Wallis worried momentarily before the ball sailed a couple of metres over the bar. Moments later, Ryan Qualter saw his header inside the penalty area saved comfortably by Theo Richardson following a decent attacking breakaway from the Gladiators.
The match properly kicked into life after 26 minutes but it was the Bucks who broke the deadlock. The Gladiators failed to clear their lines properly and the ball fell to recent loan signing Jackson from 20 yards out. Jackson struck the ball beautifully and his curling effort beat Wallis and found the top corner of the net to the delight of the travelling Buxton supporters just behind the goal.
The game turned inside out for Buxton just three minutes afterwards though when Hurst cost his team dearly. Two silly yellow cards in quick succession resulted in Hurst being sent off with just over an hour still remaining and this provided the platform for Matlock to work themselves back into the game. The Gladiators almost found an equaliser with just a couple of minutes to go before half time. Callum Chippendale went on a surging run down the middle of the pitch which saw him break into the penalty area with just the goalkeeper to beat. Chippendale struck the ball firmly but Richardson made a good save to palm the ball away and concede a corner. From the following corner, centre-half Ioan Evans saw his header go wide of the target from around 12 yards out while just a minute later substitute Hannah had the ball in the back of the net but his effort was instantly ruled out for offside.
The second half, while not featuring too many clear-cut chances, saw increasing pressure on Buxton's defence as Matlock worked tirelessly to get something from this derby match. Jesurun Uchegbulam spooned a good opportunity over the bar after only around 30 seconds into the second half while Kendall saw his headed effort from a corner blocked by a defender just a couple of yards in front of the goal line three minutes later. In the 51st minute, Hannah's close range header found the back of the net and momentarily sent Causeway Lane into raptures before everyone realised the assistant referee had his flag up for offside once again. Ten minutes later though, Hannah would have the biggest smile in the whole town. After an excellent save from Richardson to deny Chippendale from 12 yards out, Hannah saw his effort blocked on the line before quickly turning his body round to fire in the rebound from around eight yards out.
The Bucks never really threatened to get a second goal in the match and the pressure was all coming from the Gladiators to find a winner thanks to the extra man advantage. In the 76th minute, Hannah almost scored another when his flicked header from an excellent right wing cross from Alex Byrne went wide of the post. Just 60 seconds later though, the bumper crowd was sent into raptures once again. A typically perfect corner kick delivery from Alex Byrne found the head of Kendall and he found the back of the net from just a few yards out to give the Gladiators a deserved lead and secure his sixth goal of the season. The remainder of the game saw Matlock working hard to preserve their lead. A spirited Buxton side battled hard with ten men right until the end in search for an equaliser but a typically commanding display from Qualter in particular at the back always kept the Bucks at bay. Buxton's one real opportunity to get back onto level terms arrived in the 82nd minute when an effort from inside the area was fired on target but the ball was straight at Wallis and he comfortably dealt with it.
The victory means that Matlock Town sit one point clear of Buxton at the top of the NPL Premier Division at the end of 2021, with the game played out in front of Matlock's biggest home crowd for a league game since 1977.
Matlock Town: Wallis, King (Hannah 41), Kendall, Evans, Qualter, Lees, Byrne, Wiles (Sharman 59), Hughes (c), Chippendale, Uchegbulam (Okome 82). Unused subs: Daly, Greaves.
Buxton: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Chambers 83), Turner (Middleton 43), Granite, Hurst, Jackson (Tear 64), Dawson, Gilchrist, Elliott, Clarke. Unused subs: Milnes, Hinds.
Saturday 18th December BUXTON (1) 1 F.C. UNITED OF MANCHESTER (0) 2 ATT 1309
'The Bucks' missed a golden opportunity on Saturday to use their game in hand to go 5 points clear at the top as they reached the half-way mark in their league programme. Rather it was F.C. United who for much of the match were the more impressive, particularly in the second half when they came from behind to win deservedly and also maintain the remarkable 'stat' of the home team winning only 3 of the 21 fixtures played between the clubs!
By kick-off time the fog had retreated enough for the bumper crowd to have a decent view of a bright, fluent start by the hosts who carved out 3 chances in the opening 7 minutes. After James Hurst had a far post shot blocked following a corner, a fine, incisive move played in Tommy Elliott for a central 1-on-1 situation but 'keeper Lavercombe stood up well to parry his effort, then, from Lindon Meikle's lofted pass, Ben Middleton planted a firm header narrowly wide and full debutant Jason Gilchrist also had a far post chance but couldn't beat Lavercombe.
F.C. United played a passing game from deep and were soon creating their own share of openings. Linney cut through on the left to reach the by-line but fired over from the narrowest of angles. The 'Bucks' replied with a goal-bound, low drive by Warren Clarke that was diverted for a corner by Jones before United again showed promise with ex-Silverlander Ennis trying a 25-yard effort which curled wide. However, it was Buxton who took a 29th-minute lead from Jamie Ward's superb centre from the left, accurately headed home by loanee Dom Tear for his third goal in 3 matches. Thereafter the visitors pressed in vain for an equaliser as they were beginning to look the better side, with Smith's header from an Ennis lofted corner landing on top of the bar.
The 'Red Rebels' dominated the second half and regularly posed a threat to a home defence deprived of Matt Curley through injury 8 minutes in. Loanee Wilson cut in but his shot passed high and wide before Hurst snuffed out an attack with a perfect tackle on Linney, who then launched a 25-yard speculative shot onto the net roof. The reshuffled home rearguard was punctured in surprising fashion for the 56th-minute equaliser as defender Jones turned in Altrincham loanee Andy White's low free-kick from 20 yards along the by-line. The visitors' dominance continued as Buxton lacked fluency throughout the second half, managing just one convincing attack with former F.C. United favourite, Gilchrist, dummying cleverly then receiving a pass to fire venomously across the face of goal with nobody able to make contact. The visitors earned their victory with an 80th-minute goal from substitute Joe Duckworth who profited from Ennis's fine through ball. As 'the Bucks' struggled to mount an effective response, the score could well have finished 3-1 with a counter on the right resulting in Linney's squared pass setting up the unmarked, centrally placed Duckworth but his low shot was diverted by Theo's splendidly instinctive save. So 'the Bucks' unbeaten home league record ended in disappointing fashion, placing even more emphasis on the Dec.27th 'derby' at Matlock, an encounter that will have the league leadership at stake, weather, pandemic and govt. action permitting!
Team: T Richardson, Curley (Granite), Fox, Hurst, Middleton, Meikle (Milnes), Ward (Dawson), Tear, Gilchrist, Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds & H Richardson.
Saturday 11th December BUXTON (2) 3 ASHTON UTD (0) 0 ATT. 458
Three well-crafted and superbly-taken goals ensured that Buxton retained the league leadership versus an Ashton team that was both spirited and well-organised. Unchanged from Tuesday's victory against Scarborough, apart from the addition of newcomer Jason Gilchrist to the substitutes' bench, 'the Bucks' produced another excellent performance despite difficult weather conditions.
Attacking the Ashwood End with the wind behind them, the hosts might have taken the lead in the 9th minute as Jamie Ward was played through but 'keeper Hartley made a flying save only for the ball to fall to Halifax loanee winger, Dom Tear, who drove the rebound over the bar. Otherwise, Ashton made a good start, smothering Buxton's creative ability in midfield, that is until the 19th minute when Tommy Elliott swept a fine pass out to Ward on the right. He cut inside on his left foot to drill a superb, low shot into the far bottom corner for the 15th goal of what is fast becoming a remarkable campaign for the former Northern Ireland international. The roles were reversed 14 minutes on with Ward figuring in a flowing,5-man passing move that set up Elliott for a neat finish as he ghosted in unmarked.
The second half was deja vu for 'the Bucks' as the weather hugely deteriorated with driving rain and a strengthening wind in their faces, as had been the case versus Morecambe. They were also handicapped in the 3rd quarter by the loss to injury, one after another, of Nathan Fox, Chris Dawson and Warren Clarke, but in the 75th minute scored again to ensure there was no late Ashton recovery. Tommy Elliott was again the architect with a brilliant through ball that was ultimately finished firmly avoiding a forest of legs by Dom Tear.
The second half saw the introduction of the weekend's signing from York City, St. Helens-based striker Jason Gilchrist, who grew steadily into the action as Buxton reasserted themselves in the last quarter. A Ward pass set him up for a snapshot that went well wide but then a power-drive, well saved, gave promise of better things to come.
Despite the final score, the visitors were major contributors to the afternoon's considerable entertainment but were thrice denied by Theo Richardson, who made excellent goalkeeping look commonplace. In the 16th minute he made a splendid stop close in from Macadam and then at 1-0 he came out to thwart the ever-lively striker, Yonsian, as he latched onto Macadam's piercing pass. Then at 3-0,he kept his 'clean sheet', again by advancing to save, at the expense of a corner, as Yonsian sought to profit from a through ball.
Unexpected home defeats for close rivals, Bamber Bridge and South Shields, more than offset Matlock's success at Stalybridge to give 'the Bucks' a 2-point lead with a game in hand ahead of next Saturday's attractive home fixture versus F.C. Utd, victory in which offers the prospect of going 5 points clear at the top.
Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Gilchrist), Hurst, Middleton, Meikle, Ward, Dawson (Milnes), Tear, Elliott, Clarke (Hinds). Unused Subs: Turner & Dillingham
Tuesday 7th December BUXTON (2) 5 SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (1) 1 ATT 447
'The Bucks' went nap on Tuesday evening to leapfrog 3 rival clubs and resume the league leadership for the first time since the end of August. The 9th-placed 'Seadogs' were rarely seen as an attacking force as they suffered a 4th Silverlands defeat on their 4th visit, now having conceded 14 goals in 3 of them!
Yet it was a bitter-sweet night for the charismatic Buxton acting captain, Jamie Ward, who became the outstanding focal point of the attack in the absence, through injury, of Diego and Ash Chambers. The former Northern Ireland international netted a brace, the second of which must be considered one of the strikes of the season, yet he could have netted the club's first double hat-trick since the memorable achievement of David Reeves in 2006 if he had been able to put away all the clear openings that came his way. Such a claim may seem fanciful, but his team was so dominant in the second half that chances galore were created and several were missed. Yet Jamie's standing with the home 'faithful' is so high that they tolerantly and with good humour accepted these foibles, interspersed as they were among so many examples of his fine play as Scarborough were put to the sword in the second half, with the captain a major figure.
Attacking the Ashwood End, 'the Bucks' opened exuberantly as if the weight of F.A. Cup expectation had been lifted from their shoulders and scored inside 2 minutes. An initial, penetrative attack wasn't cleared and loanee Dominic Tear latched onto a loose ball to fire home low from 10 yards, his first goal for the club. Less than a minute later it could have been 2-0 as ex-'Seadog', Chris Dawson, advanced rapidly into the heart of the visiting defence only to shoot wide from a central position 20 yards out. It was all Buxton as first a Tommy Elliott curling free-kick then a delightful Ward flicked pass both threatened further openings, yet it was the visitors who equalised in the 9th minute in their first attack. The Buxton defence was at fault in a fashion not seen against Morecambe, allowing Colville to find a corner of the net from 15 yards. Undaunted, Warren Clarke then outwitted Cadman on the left but 'the Seadogs' were now more in the game than at any other time all night. However, just prior to the half-hour mark, a short Ward through ball for Elliott close in put 'the Bucks' back in front and 5 minutes on Ward, fed by Clarke's precise, penetrative pass, looked a certain scorer from a central position with time to set himself but remarkably prodded the ball wide. Nonetheless Scarborough's vulnerability to the through ball in particular was obvious and additionally Ward soon went close from 22 yards, then a smooth passing move freed Matt Curley for a lofted cross that narrowly eluded Clarke at the far post. On the stroke of half-time Scarborough forced their first corner, producing a firm header that passed over the target.
Within 4 minutes of the re-start 'the Bucks' doubled their one-goal advantage as Jamie Ward, from Dawson's pass, neatly netted close in with visiting defenders looking in vain for the raising of an assistant's flag. Ten minutes further on the score became 4-1 with a goal that brought Stand supporters to their feet. The ball was moved low and swiftly from Clarke at half-way to Ward and then on accurately to Elliott who finished superbly.
By this time the 'Borough defence was visibly disintegrating, and more clear chances were created but went unfinished until the 74th minute when Jamie fired a superb drive into the far corner from 18 yards. Late substitute Akeem Hinds, in acres of space, had his chance to score 5 minutes later as he received a square pass from the excellent Elliott but York loanee 'keeper Whitley pulled off a fine low save. The visitors made one good opening in the second half with Colville's cut-back from the by-line but striker Day miskicked in front of goal-a mishap that gave a more realistic look to the final score-line but even so 8,9 or 10 goals would not have flattered the new league-leaders!
Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox (Hinds), Hurst, Middleton, Meikle (Milnes), Ward, Dawson, Tear, Elliott (Dillingham), Clarke. Unused Subs: Turner & Catt
Saturday 4th December Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round
Buxton (0) 0 Morecambe (1) 1 Att 3642
Cole Stockton's goal on the half hour was enough to see League One side Morecambe over the line but battling Buxton certainly made them work for it. Visiting keeper Kyle Letheren had to be sharp to make key saves from top scorer Diego De Girolamo and substitute Ash Chambers as the NPL Premier Bucks gave the Shrimps a cup scare.
We're obviously disappointed with the result, we were so close and gave a great account of ourselves and for much of the game I thought we were the better team," said proud boss Steve Cunningham. "If those early chances go in I think we would have gone on to win the game. But credit to Morecambe and I hope that they go on and have a good cup run."
In a lively, opening, Letheren had to be alert to save at the feet of Tommy Elliott with his home Counterpart Theo Richardson claiming a Shane McLoughlin effort moments later. Former Northern Ireland international Jamie Ward went close to opening the scoring as neat interplay between De Girolamo and Elliott gave him the opportunity which he fired wide. In a spell of heavy pressure from the home side, De Girolamo came even closer to breaking the deadlock with a superb turn and shot that left Letheren rooted but crashed away to safety of the foot of the post. Three quick corners in succession brought more trouble for the visiting keeper, two of which he was forced to palm over his own bar. The visitors almost claimed the opener as James Hurst blocked a scrambled effort off his line, but the Bucks' respite was brief as a minute later Stockton took advantage of a defensive lapse to slot home.
The goal was allowed to stand despite the striker looking to be in an offside position. Richardson then ensured his side remained just a goal behind with a stunning reflex save to deny Alfie McCalmont just before the break. The home side's chances were restricted as De Girolamo had suffered an injury when chasing down a ball into the corner shortly after the visitors had taken the lead. Buxton's best effort after the break came through Chambers who shot straight at Letheren while the visitors, utilising the space that was created by Buxton chasing a leveller, should have increased their lead through Stockton late on.
Relieved Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson said: "It was a very professional performance. Buxton created some difficult situations for us but overall I felt that we probably should have won by more having missed several good opportunities especially late on." (Report Courtesy of the Non League Paper)
Team: Richardson, Curley, Fox, Middleton, Hurst, Meikle, Ward, Dawson (Tear), De Girolamo (Chambers), Elliott, Clarke. Unused Subs: Hinds, Dillingham, Catt & H Richardson.
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