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Buxton FC Match Reports
2023/24 season

Saturday 25th November BUXTON (0) 0 SOUTHPORT (1) 1 ATT. 663

Controversial and inconsistent refereeing by Mr Jones was very much the talking point after a match dominated by Buxton but from which Southport took full points. It is often said that good and ill fortune in refereeing decisions 'level up' in the course of a season but much will be required for 'the Bucks' to get on an even keel following Saturday's events. Arguably there were as many as 5 penalty-area decisions that should have been made or were made and all 5 went against the hosts, effectively contributing to the result!

'The Bucks' enjoyed 76 % then 82 % possession respectively in the 2 halves but 'the Sandgrounders' defended valiantly throughout, notably in limiting the thrust of the home wingers, as they held on after, at the Railway End, taking a 4th-minute lead with O'Neill's superb individual goal. He cut in from the left and, afforded too much space, unleashed a 19-yard power-drive into the far top corner. Buxton took a little time to settle after that early shock but then made several half-chances. From a right cross, Jordan Burrow flicked a header wide of the far post, then visiting 'keeper, Chris Renshaw (ex-Witton & Curzon) had to rush out to beat Will Bapaga to a through-ball and the visitors' goal had a close call at the half-hour. Meanwhile, Southport again looked dangerous as O'Neill aimed another strike, from 25 yards, at the same top corner but Max Dearnley thwarted him with a top save, then left-back Doyle, from a right-flank cross, planted a 'free' header 2 yards wide of goal.

The second half opened with a penalty-kick drama as the visitors, despite making no appeal, but were granted one for Connor Brown pulling an opponent, yet Evans shot low and wide from 'the spot'. Nonetheless the home camp was much aggrieved as Burrow had twice been seriously mishandled as the ball was in flight at first-half corners without action by the referee.

Thereafter Buxton's pressure was incessant. Alex Gibson-Hammond, at the penalty-spot and at full stretch, was mighty close to putting a decisive touch to a lofted through ball, while George Horbury worked a neat 1-2 with Curtis Weston but his 19-yard effort was caught at the far post. Two substitutions were made at 3/4 time and neat footwork by one of them, Sam Osborne, freed him for a 16-yard shot which Renshaw clawed away, then the other, Eoin McKeown, at the penalty spot glanced a header wide from a left-flank cross. Even closer, in the 79th minute, a fine move saw Connor Kirby fire across the face of goal without Burrow able to get a vital touch. Referee Jones again felt home ire as he failed to award spot-kicks for what film evidence showed were fouls on Jake Hull and, in added time, Will Bapaga, who was blatantly cut down as he moved towards a shooting position from the by-line. Finally a mass scramble in the goalmouth followed a Buxton corner-kick as the hosts were left goal-less and frustrated.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Bird, Hull, Brown; Weston, Kirby, Horbury (McBurnie); Gibson-Hammond (Osborne), Burrow (Boden), Bapaga. Unused Subs: Smart & Francis-Angol.

 

Tuesday 21st November BUXTON (1) 2 HEREFORD (0) 1 ATT. 532

Despite still lacking 10 of the 11 absentees of last Saturday and recently suffering 4 consecutive defeats, Buxton battled hard to overcome 10th-placed Hereford for the first time, at the 3rd attempt. Manager Craig Elliott deserves much credit for recruiting 3 more-than-useful loanees to plug the gaps, adding them to Saturday's successful debutant, Will Bapaga (ex-Coventry).

This was a spirited performance versus a confident team which had scored 4 in each of its last 2 outings. Both sides deployed a 4-3-3 system and were well-matched but 'the Bucks' finishing was better than that of their opponents, who proved constantly dangerous in attack, notably through ex-Blackpool winger, Ceesay. It has to be said that both teams and the enthralling, exciting encounter that they created deserved better from over-zealous referee Pratt, whose errors in decision-making frustrated players, management and crowd alike.

On a fine night perfect for soccer, Buxton unusually first attacked the Railway End and, crucially for a much-changed team, made a good start. It soon became evident that the 4 newcomers all had much to offer. Experienced centre-back Pierce Bird (ex-Notts County and King's Lynn) from AFC Fylde slotted in seamlessly alongside Jake Hull, while busy central midfielder, George Horbury (19) from Harrogate Town, showed bags of ability and know-how, while wingers Bapaga and Alex Gibson-Hammond from Derby County were both able to penetrate the visiting defence. Their collective contribution also seemed to galvanise the 7 remaining 'core' players, notably dynamic midfielder, Connor Kirby.

The evening's first scoring chance, in the 9th minute, fell to 'the Bulls' as speedy striker, Cowley, beat Max Dearnley to the ball at the by-line and home defenders only just managed to smuggle the ball away after the cross reached the goalmouth. Buxton's response at the quarter-hour involved both wingers with Gibson-Hammond firing a low, angled 20-yarder narrowly past the far post. Then 'the Bulls' threatened again with a fast-flowing, right-flank move from which Ceesay fired a venemous,17-yard drive rising drive that Dearnley splendidly tipped over. At the other end, Jordan Burrow had an opening but his 18-yard shot, lacking power, passed wide. He then got his head to a Sam Minihan centre that proved too strong for him to direct on target. Yet in the 40th minute the striker did convert a clear opening for his 4th Buxton goal. Connor Kirby, all evening showing a willingness to drive forward, surprised 'keeper Pond with the power of his 25-yard drive and Burrow was the beneficiary as the ball rebounded from the custodian's chest.

Exchanges remained even but it was the visitors who scored next, on the hour, as Cowley netted expertly from the penalty spot. The ever-dangerous Ceesay followed up his own half-cleared free-kick by bursting into the home penalty area and when he fell the referee blew for a foul. 'The Bucks' took a little while to recover but deserve much credit for overcoming the setback to regain the initiative, which then produced a 30-yard Kirby effort that was deflected wide, while McCourt curled a 19-yard shot past a post. The game was still evenly poised, particularly as Ceesay continued to threaten, forcing Dearnley to concede a flag-kick, while Kirby produced some fine defending after a foul on him had gone unpunished. At the Ashwood End, Bapaga also maintained his thrust and consecutive fouls on him resulted in yellow cards for the perpetrators. From the 2nd,80th-minute free-kick, wide on the left, McCourt's superb, powerful, head-high delivery was flicked into goal by Jake Hull for his first Buxton strike in 31 appearances.

Manager Elliott at this point made 2 substitutions, notably introducing defensive midfielder, Curtis Weston, in place of Horbury, whose contribution was generously applauded by by the home support. Nonetheless Hereford continued to press forward and following a free-kick, Dearnley made a fine save under his bar, while for Buxton, first substitute Sam Osborne, from a very narrow angle, fired across the face of goal, having profited from a penetrative Kirby through ball.

This Saturday, Nov.25th, Buxton entertain Southport at 3 p.m.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Bird, Hull, Brown; McCourt, Kirby, Horbury (Weston); Bapaga, Burrow (Boden), Gibson-Hammond (Osborne). Unused Subs: Petrovic & Smart

 

Saturday 18th November BUXTON (0) 1 CITY OF LIVERPOOL (0) 3 ATT. 575 THE ISUZU F.A. TROPHY, ROUND 2

On Saturday, 'the Bucks’ bowed out of the 'Trophy' at their first hurdle versus in-form NPL opponents who had also toppled higher-level clubs (Lancaster and Stamford) in the previous 2 rounds. It was 'the Purps' second 'Trophy' victory at Silverlands in 3 years and Buxton have now lost not only 4 consecutive 'Trophy' ties but also 4 consecutive matches in November. Yet though 'the Purps' play at 2 levels lower, in reality it was 'the Bucks' who were the underdogs as they played without an unprecedented TWELVE of the first-team squad, the worst unavailability crisis in living memory! Of the 8 players missing last Saturday, only Jak McCourt could return and to that 7 were added Diego (suspended), Francis-Angol, Hunt, McBurnie and Brown. The back-four was undoubtedly makeshift with only Jake Hull able to play in his best position and it's an open question how many of the starting 11 were fully fit.

A very strong, end-to-end wind prevailed and very much dictated possession in both halves. The hosts, attacking the Ashwood End, held the advantage in the first half and dominated possession but failed to make the most of it, producing neither clear scoring chances nor goals. However, debutant left-winger Will Bapaga was a constant threat and as early as the 2nd minute fired a cross which Scott Boden headed but flicked wide. The latter set up 'the Bucks' best attack of the half with intricate footwork from the left, then Connor Kirby's pass fed Jordan Burrow, but his 12-yard curling shot passed wide.

By contrast, 'the Purps' scored immediately after half-time as midfielder Schorah's close-range flick converted Bahula's cross from the left. It was now the visitors' turn to dominate with the wind at their backs but the tie's turning-point proved to be Boden's 63rd-minute miss. Played clear of the defence in a central position, he hooked his 12-yard shot over the bar. Just 7 minutes later, 'the Purps' crucially doubled their advantage as striker Quarless planted a free header at a corner past Max Dearnley. It was no more than the lively, confident visitors deserved. Around this time, judging by previous games, manager Craig Elliott would have made attacking substitutions, but the substitutes' bench included just 3 Academy youths and reserve 'keeper Petrovic. Nonetheless Connor Kirby pulled a goal back in the 81st minute as, at the far post, he hammered home Bapaga's delightful curling cross to renew hope of taking the tie to a penalty shoot-out, but in the first minute of 7 that were added the visitors made victory secure. The experienced ex-Marine striker substitute, Danny Mitchley, slotted home calmly as he profited from a wind-assisted long ball forward.

In the coming week Buxton entertain Hereford on Tuesday at 7-45 p.m. and Southport next Saturday at 3 p.m.

Bucks: Dearnley; Smart, Weston, Hull, Minihan; McCourt, Bapaga, Kirby. Osborne; Burrow, Boden. Unused Subs: Petrovic, Bardy, Mantle & Jack Wright.

 

Saturday 11th November BUXTON (1) 1 FARSLEY CELTIC (2) 2 ATT. 670

Two Farsley goals in 8 minutes just prior to the interval turned this NLN match on its head after Buxton had led through Diego's penalty kick but early in the second half the home scorer saw red, for the first time in his 5 1/2 years’ Buxton career, to make a recovery far harder. There was thereafter much effort and some pressure on the visiting 'keeper who at times had all on to keep his goal intact.

At kick-off,13 places but only 3 points separated the teams and the visitors' record shows their strength 'on the road' with 4 NLN away wins already. Undoubtedly 'the Bucks' are currently ravaged by injury and were barely able to field a fully-fit eleven and had little ability to resort to the substitutes' bench when change could have altered the focus. Elliott, Shiels, Walker and Wright have been sidelined for weeks and were joined by Granite, McCourt and McKeown, with Smart fit enough only for a cameo appearance.

Unusually attacking the Railway End first, Buxton started well enough into the sun but a Farsley through ball created the first opening, forcing ex-Celtic 'keeper, Max Dearnley, to save as midfielder Branson (ex-Alfreton) fastened onto it. The hosts responded with a passing move leading to Xander McBurnie playing a 1-2 with Sam Osborne before shooting high and wide. Then McBurnie's wide-right free-kick skimmed the head of Sam Minihan at the near post in a mini-spell of home pressure, closely followed by a Max Hunt cross from the right. The 'keeper flapped at it and Smith's foul on Connor Kirby gave Diego his opportunity, in the 32nd minute, from the penalty spot, with the striker netting expertly by wrong-footing Leban.

As Celtic responded, Buxton defensive uncertainty was shown as the ball rebounded from the bar but Connor Brown then defended well against substitute Youmbi who had come on as a third attacker. 'The Bucks' did have a chance to double their advantage but Diego slightly delayed a through ball for Osborne who ran on to shoot low from a narrow angle with Leban making a comfortable save. That incident preceded Farsley's double-strike. Youmbi's good work on the left allowed Stevenson to equalise with a neat back-heel in the 44th minute, then, in the 3rd minute of added time, midfielder Ryan Watson (ex-Scarborough) ran along the 18-yard line but turned to rifle a low shot inside the near post.

Buxton's situation worsened considerably in the 52nd minute with Diego's harsh dismissal for the use of an elbow when illegally challenged from behind. Prompt action by referee McQuillan could have prevented the incident. Manager Craig Elliott soon introduced striker Jordan Burrow, but his team-mates couldn't take advantage of several examples of his deft head-work. Yet the hosts persevered. Osborne fired a 30-yard rising free-kick at Leban and Kirby fed the same player for a low, angled drive, again at the 'keeper. The home winger indeed looked the most likely scorer and from a passing move his 19-yard curling effort landed on the net top. A clear offside error by an assistant robbed Burrow of a follow-up after Minihan's power-drive from 25 yards troubled Leban, while the 'keeper parried Kirby's 30-yarder with difficulty.

Farsley were likewise reduced to 10 men in the 88th minute. Branson went for a 2nd yellow, his team's 7th, exposing the unusual fact that, by contrast, Diego's name was the only Buxton player noted by the referee. Yet it came too late to be of significant help to 'the Bucks' whose attention will now switch to next Saturday's home 'Trophy' tie versus City of Liverpool. It will be the 3rd cup-tie meeting between the clubs in 5 years but the hosts must play without the now-suspended, in-form striker, Diego.

Bucks: Dearnley: Brown, Hunt, Hull, Francis-Angol (Smart); Minihan, Weston (Boden), Kirby, McBurnie (Burrow); De Girolamo, Osborne. Unused Subs: Petrovic & Mantle

Tuesday 7th November South Shields (0) 1 Buxton (0) 0 Att. 1868

The Bucks fell to a narrow defeat on the road against South Shields. With Craig Elliott making a number of changes from the weekend, Josh Granite, Jak McCourt and Connor Brown all returned to the starting lineup.

Ex Buck Mackenzie Heaney had the first chance of the game dragging the ball back before his long range shot was grasped by Max Dearnley. The Bucks responded straight away with Curtis Weston winning the ball back from a press finding Sam Osborne whose shot was blocked before being cleared away.  South Shields had the best opportunity of the game so far in the 32nd minute after a through ball found Paul Blackett but Dearnley was quick off of his line to deny the striker. Just before the break, McCourt switched the ball to Eoin McKeown and  he cut in and curled a shot that hit the bar. The follow up came to Sam Minihan and his effort was blocked behind for a corner by Blair Adams.

The Mariners started the second half the better side with a powerful shot from Blackett testing The Bucks goalkeeper. Granite almost gave Buxton lead from a corner as the ball fell down to him and his shot was saved down strong by Myles Boney in goal. But it was the hosts that took the lead a minute later after CJ Clarke whipped the ball into the head of Blackett and his looped header found the top corner of the goal to make it 1-0. And both of them nearly linked up again from the right hand side Clarke crossing it into Blackett who was unable to slide the ball into the net. Osborne fired the ball over the bar for the Bucks, with both sides then making a number of substitutions to freshen things up. With The Bucks pushing hard late on McCourt with the final shot of the game came so close to finding an equaliser with his shot unable to find the target from inside the box.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Granite (Smart), Francis-Angol; Weston (De Girolamo), McCourt; Kirby, Brown, McKeown (Burrow), Osborne. Unused Subs: Hull & McBurnie

 

Saturday 4th November Bishop’s Stortford (1) 3 Buxton (0) 1 Att 462

Buxton fell to defeat away against Bishop Stortford with the hosts winning 3-1. Manager Craig Elliott kept faith with the starting xi  that had defeated league leaders Tamworth the previous Tuesday with the returning McCourt replacing Boden on the bench.

The Bucks started the game on top with a Sam Osbornes shot rebounding before being saved by Jack Giddens. Eoin McKeown then managed to get on the end of a through ball from Connor Kirby, dinking it over the keeper and hitting the post. But it was The Blues who took the lead on the 30th minute. Gio McGregor crossed the ball into Tosin Olufemi who did a diving header and looped the ball into the back of the net.  Osborne came close again for Buxton just before the break but his cross/shot went narrowly wide of the goal.

The home side doubled their lead early in the second half after a freekick was headed home by Jack Thomas, and it was only minutes later when the lead was extended. Zain Walker ran through at goal and slotted it past Max Dearnley to make it 3-0. Eoin McKeown got one back for Buxton as a far post cross from Zaine Francis-Angol found his head to give hope to The Bucks.  Despite late attempts from Buxton, McKeown’s goal wasn’t enough to find a way back into the game as they fell to a fourth away league defeat of the season.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Hull, Francis-Angol; Weston (McCourt); Kirby, McBurnie, De Girolamo, Osborne (Smart); McKeown. Unused Subs: Granite, Brown & Burrow

 

Tuesday 31st October BUXTON (1) 2 TAMWORTH (0) 1 ATT. 554

By inflicting a first away defeat on league leaders, Tamworth, 'the Bucks' had saved the seasonal 'treats' for, from half-time, an increasingly and worryingly foggy Halloween and reserved just one 'trick', their capacity to concede a late goal, for the 4th minute of added time when it was just too late for the visitors to build on.

The 'Lambs' had previously won at Blyth and Boston, Curzon Ashton and Spennymoor but the hosts took their chances and defended stoutly until a tired foul challenge very close to the end allowed Deacon to score from the penalty spot. That was the evening's 3rd such award but the first to be converted! The first penalty was arguably the most significant as it fell to the visitors at 0-0 in the 27th minute, but it was missed, the culprit being midfielder Ben Milnes,1 of 4 ex-Silverlanders in Tamworth's ranks. Worse was to follow for Ben as only 4 minutes later injury forced his replacement by the ever-popular Lindon Meikle, another member of the '21/22 title-winning team, but he lasted only 12 minutes until he too succumbed to injury. Another ex-Silverlander, centre-back Brad Gascoigne, was substituted in the 79th minute as the visitors, at 0-1, desperately sought an equaliser. Of the ex-Buxton quartet, that left right-back Matt Curley who played throughout and gave his typically sound, well-remembered performance.

The 2nd penalty award fell to Buxton much against the run of the 2nd-half play. A goal down at the interval. 'The Lambs' raised their game but couldn't penetrate the resolute 4-man home defence. Then, in the 87th minute, 'the Bucks' mounted a right-flank counter-attack to force a corner, after which Xander McBurnie was fouled. However, with neither of the regular penalty-takers on the pitch, the responsibility was taken by Connor Kirby. His firm effort was saved but the rebound fell kindly for the midfielder who then made no mistake to double his team's advantage. That proved vital to Buxton's victory given Tamworth's very late response.

Victory was welcome indeed, particularly as it lifted the club from 11th to 6th in the table, but the evening surely belonged to longest-serving player, Diego De Girolamo, whose 39th-minute goal for a 1-0 lead was his 100th for the club in competitive matches. An error in central defence sent Diego clear and he calmly beat the onrushing 'keeper, with the home crowd joyously greeting his achievement. (At the end he was presented with a commemorative shirt by chairman Dave Hopkins). Ten minutes before his goal Diego had combined neatly with Sam Osborne, whose neat back-heel had set up the striker for a low shot that passed a yard wide.

Diego claimed the limelight but another major contributor to the success was 'keeper, Max Dearnley, who pulled off 2 vital 1st-half saves. In the 17th minute he turned away a 20-yard high drive by midfielder Jellis and 20 minutes later, just prior to the decisive opening goal, he saved superbly under the bar from Tshikuna's fiercely-struck,30-yard drive. Then,10 minutes into the 2nd half, centre-back Jake Hull was the hero with a crucial saving tackle on Deacon close to goal.

So Tamworth tasted defeat in the 2 clubs' first competitive meeting for 40 years and now possess the unenviable record of 0 wins and just 2 draws from the 9 matches played!

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Hull, Francis-Angol; Weston; Kirby, McBurnie, De Girolamo (Burrow), Osborne (Boden); McKeown (Brown). Unused Subs: Granite & Smart

 

Saturday 28th October BUXTON (1) 2 RUSHALL OLYMPIC (2) 2 ATT. 710

These mid-table and former NPL rivals produced the first draw in 10 Silverlands meetings between the clubs and a thoroughly watchable, entertaining encounter that remarkably featured 3 headed goals by centre-backs!

Even at this early stage of the season, the league table can create a misleading impression. Rushall stood 15th at kick-off but had scored 15 goals in winning 5 of their last 7 NLN fixtures. What's more,6 wins in their 9 previous visits marked the Silverlands as a happy hunting ground for them.

 By contrast, Buxton had surprisingly won in neither of the week's outings. Manager Craig Elliott made 2 changes with Josh Granite replacing injured skipper Luke Shiels in a 5-man rearguard, while Xander McBurnie returned to midfield in place of Eoin McKeown. Attacking the Ashwood End, 'the Bucks' had the better of the exchanges and the possession in the opening quarter of the game without testing the visiting 'keeper, as the visitors worked hard to get multiple men behind the ball, though there were convincing 9th-minute shouts for a spot-kick for a foul on Diego, who is on 99 BFC goals. Thereafter play was evenly distributed as 'the Pics' settled and centre-back Clarke's 35-yard lob tested Max Dearnley, but he was beaten in the 27th minute as visiting in-form striker, Danny Waldron, who netted a foursome last Saturday, escaped his marker to fasten onto a penetrative pass and scored from a narrow angle, just beating an intervention by Sam Minihan at the far post. In response, midfielder Connor Kirby sent a 15-yard curling shot over the angle but it was centre-back Max Hunt who equalised in the 43rd minute as he headed home a Jak McCourt corner-kick after the midfielder had seen his 30-yard power-drive deflected wide. However, 'the Pics' restored their lead within 2 minutes with Clarke's header, likewise from a corner-kick.

After the interval, as the visitors continued to shade proceedings, midfielders Moore and Coyle dispatched shots wide of goal, but at the hour manager Elliott changed the home dynamic for the better with the introduction as wingers of both Sam Osborne, after a lengthy injury absence, and McKeown. Within 4 minutes the changed system paid the dividend of a second equaliser and again it was a Max Hunt header as he powered onto another well-placed McCourt flag-kick. It seemed possible, even likely, that 'the Bucks' could seize victory but then Rushall's management made 3 substitutions in a minute to alter the balance again. One of them, midfielder Tom Tonks, has arguably 1 of the longest and most controlled throws in non-league (seen here previously with the likes of Stourbridge and Stafford), and each of his 5 projectiles threatened danger to the home defence. One caused a scramble close to goal, while the 5th led to Waldron firing across the face of goal. Then in added time, impressive Walsall teenaged midfielder, Ronan Maher, his team's best player, dispatched a shot to hit the outside of a post, but the draw was a fair result.

On Tuesday, at 7-45 p.m., Buxton entertain Tamworth, the league leaders by 5 points, and should welcome back recent ex-Silverlanders Matt Curley, Lindon Meikle and Ben Milnes, all members of the NPL title-winning squad of 2021/22.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Granite (Osborne), Hull, Francis-Angol; McCourt; Kirby, De Girolamo, McBurnie (McKeown; Burrow (Weston). Unused Subs: Brown & Boden.

 

Tuesday 24th October BUXTON (1) 2 PETERBOROUGH SPORTS (1) 2 ATT. 461

In an at times curiously unpredictable encounter, Buxton ultimately surrendered 2 points to a resilient Sports outfit which twice equalised and in fairness probably deserved a share of the spoils. Even though this was a meeting of the 9th and 20th-placed teams, recent form suggested a far from straightforward home win as Buxton had lost on Saturday while the visitors had just recorded back-to-back victories.

Yet in the game's opening quarter 'the Bucks' began impressively by attacking the Ashwood End in unexpectedly benign weather conditions and within just a few minutes had created more openings than in the whole of Saturday's match! Manager Craig Elliott had made 4 changes in personnel and had opted for a 4-3-1-2 set-up, with Diego operating behind strikers Jordan Burrow and Eoin McKeown. Swift, accurate passing through midfield created ample space and one such move from the right flank produced the first goal in the 16th minute. Centrally-placed 18 yards out, Diego netted with a composed strike across ex-Hyde 'keeper, Peter Crook, into the net's far bottom corner. It was his 99th competitive goal for the club.

The hosts remained convincingly on the front foot until the 24th minute when Sports' equaliser arrived in most unexpected fashion and yet changed the course of the evening! Home 'keeper Max Dearnley has been proving himself a most worthy successor to the transferred Theo Richardson but, on his 15th competitive appearance, he made his first costly error by allowing Fowkes's firm, low,19-yard drive to squirm from his grasp and over the goal-line. Goals do change games and so it was on Tuesday night. Accordingly, 'the Turbines' were given the fillip they undoubtedly needed, while 'the Bucks' inexplicably lost their way and needed smart work by Dearnley to deny Sports' striker, Jones, at close range. For the remainder of the half Buxton's play continued to be unconvincing, as it was into the second half, apart from an immediate scare for the visitors when Crook dropped the ball, but unlike the unfortunate Dearnley, he was able to recover possession after McKeown had placed a header over him towards goal. One factor in the visitors being able to restrict their hosts was the skill of experienced, ex-Crewe left-back, Tootle, in limiting Sam Minihan's attacking potential.

Still out of sorts on the ball, Buxton lost skipper Luke Shiels to injury, with Josh Granite a like-for-like,55th-minute replacement. However, sheer determination brought improvement and from a Jak McCourt free-kick, Diego sent a curling shot over the bar, while soon after 3/4 time a Max Hunt, low, sweetly-struck,30-yard effort passed wide. From the same range, McCourt's power-drive was parried by Crook, but substitute Xander McBurnie fired the rebound over the bar. Then in the 78th minute Buxton regained the lead following a McCourt cross. Crook couldn't hold the ball as it flew at him from a defender's shin, with Burrow driving home powerfully from 6 yards.

Sports were far from finished and in the 6 minutes of added time caused 'the Bucks', seemingly, to concentrate alone on survival and the hosts paid the penalty half-way through when, after several shots had been blocked, midfielder McCammon, who had become influential earlier in the half, drove home low from 15 yards.

With consecutive home fixtures to follow, 'the Bucks' will now try to rebuild the momentum achieved by the excellent wins at Scunthorpe and King's Lynn but lost thereafter. Saturday's visitors are former NPL rivals, recently-promoted Rushall Olympic, who have scored 15 goals in winning 5 of their last 7 NLN fixtures.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hull, Shiels (Granite), Hunt, Francis-Angol; McCourt; Kirby, De Girolamo; Burrow, McKeown (McBurnie). Unused Subs: Brown, Smart & Boden

 

Saturday 21st October SCARBOROUGH ATHLETIC (0) 1 BUXTON (0) 0 Att 1385

Unbeaten away in the league since mid-August, Buxton were undone by a 86th-minute goal just when it seemed most likely that both defences would remain on top as they had done all afternoon. This was a disappointing encounter in that there was so little goalmouth action as neither side seemed capable of finding the inspiration necessary to pierce the respective rearguards.

Yet the pre-match prospects had been promising with both teams in good form. 'The Bucks' were looking for a 3rd consecutive success on the road after convincing victories at Scunthorpe (3-0) and King's Lynn (3-1),while the hosts were buoyant after dispatching National Leaguers, Oxford City, in Tuesday's away replay, despite, in the 2 matches, twice establishing then losing a 2-goal lead. A little added spice was the presence in 'Boro's ranks of ex-Silverlanders, left-back Alex Brown and loanee winger, Dom Tear, both of whom acquitted themselves well. Buxton manager, Craig Elliott, restored Luke Shiels (for Josh Granite) and Connor Kirby (for Max Hunt) after their 1-match suspensions, winger Sam Smart replaced striker Jordan Burrow and Connor Brown, at left-back, came in for the rested Zaine Francis-Angol ,who had travelled extensively on international duty for Antigua and Barbuda, as a 4-3-3 system was deployed.

Throughout, there was little to choose between the teams as the game was mostly contested in midfield. The first half's only goalkeeper save was made by Max Dearnley as he dived low after 10 minutes to hold an 18-yard shot, but he wasn't troubled by right-back's Weledji's snapshot at the half-hour as it passed high and wide. Though having a fair share of possession, 'the Bucks' couldn't disturb home 'keeper, Cracknell, apart from a 2-minute spell (35/37). Initially, Diego netted but was offside when receiving McKeown's lobbed pass, then the former's low cross from the right narrowly eluded McKeown in front of goal.

The quality in the opening to the 2nd half was mediocre indeed, exemplified by a Jake Hull header at a corner-kick that sailed harmlessly over the angle. There was no lack of effort, however, and the ambition of both managers to snatch a win was shown by 4 substitutions made in 2 minutes (73/74) but it was 'the Seadogs' who made the breakthrough. Brown and Hull both failed to clear successfully from deep in defence, allowing substitute Green's incisive run that created a one-on-one for himself versus Dearnley and he skilfully converted the best opening of the afternoon. Buxton desperately sought an equaliser but the home defence made no errors in holding out in the 6 minutes (which became 8) of added time.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hull, Shiels, Brown; Weston (McCourt), Smart (Burrow), Kirby, McBurnie (Hunt), McKewan; De Girolamo. Unused Subs: Granite & Francis-Angol.

 

Saturday 7th October King’s Lynn Town (0) 1 Buxton (0) 3 ATT 910

Buxton came out 3-1 winners against Kings Lynn as they made the play-off spots for the first time this season. Craig Elliott’s selection woes carried on with Kirby and Shiels missing through suspension to add to the numerous injuries but there was better news with Jak McCourt fit enough for the bench.
The hosts started on the front foot with Adam Crowther getting the ball into the box and it glanced the head of Jordan Ponticelli. Another headed effort came only a couple of minutes later with a diving effort from Ben Stephens coming into the hands of Max Dearnley. Buxton’s first opening of the game came from Diego De Girolamo putting the ball through to Eoin McKeown and he ran through before crossing it in the air to Jordan Burrow who fired over the bar. Zaine Francis-Angol then on his weak foot picked the ball up on the edge of the box and tried to curl his shot into the top corner just missing out and hitting the bar. A well worked move from Kings Lynn almost had The Linnets ahead before the break with Stephens, yet again getting on the end of a cross, this time it going narrowly over the bar.
Buxton started the half well and it wasn’t long before they gained the lead. A corner ball from Xander McBurnie came into the box and was headed back across by Max Hunt into the incoming McKeown to gain his first goal for The Bucks.  Kings Lynn responded well with Emmanuel Oke forcing The Bucks keeper to tip the ball over the bar. A thunderbolt strike from Max Hunt meant the Bucks hit the crossbar for the second time in the game.  The Norfolk side did get back on level terms in the 68th minute as Ponticelli played the ball all the way wide to Stephens and then to Kian Ronan before Joshua Barrett picked up the ball faked an effort then hit a low shot that came to Cameron Hargraves who smashed it low into the far corner. The hosts had a spell of good pressure after this with both Ronan and Stephens coming close, but it was The Bucks who were able to fire themselves back into the lead. De Girolamo got the ball 30 yards out and his effort flew into the top corner for his 98th Buxton goal.  Substitute Scott Boden sealed all three points, scoring with a lobbed effort in the last minute of the game to make it 3-1 and push The Bucks up to 7th in the league.
Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Granite, Hull (Brown), Francis-Angol; Weston; McBurnie, McKeown, De Girolamo (Smart); Burrow (Boden). Unused Subs: McCourt & Wenayeto

 

Saturday 30th September SCUNTHORPE UTD (0) 0 BUXTON (0) 3 ATT. Unknown

So natural justice does exist! 3 weeks ago, 'the Bucks' were leading 2-1 at Glanford Park with 90+6 minutes played when the match was prematurely abandoned, but on Saturday Buxton re-visited crisis club, Scunthorpe, and 3 2nd-half goals secured full points to lift the club 6 places to 10th.Neither team had won since their first encounter and Buxton's last goal was in that game!

The injury-hit visitors still lacked 6 unfit players (Elliott, Hull, McCourt, Osborne, Walker and Wright) plus the suspended Brown but yet were able to produce a display full of character, grit and discipline in much the same manner as in the original meeting. In attack, when the chances came, they took most of them. In a 4-3-3 set-up, Max Hunt started in place of Josh Granite, Eoin McKeown, on the right flank, was selected instead of Jordan Burrow, while Xander McBurnie returned for the injured Tom Walker. From the bench, Academy starlet Ethan Wenayeto was given a debut cameo in the closing minutes of the 11 that constituted added time.

'The Iron' dominated possession in the opening quarter, passing the ball about comfortably and firing in several shots but all were blocked by tenacious Buxton defending. At the quarter-hour McKeown produced the first threat for the visitors after robbing Denton on the flank but there was no team-mate to profit from his long, low cross, while for 'The Iron' a quick-passing move to the left set up a dangerous low cross which striker Elliott, at full stretch, could only poke wide. In the 26th minute the visitors constructed a fine attacking move and from McKeown's cross, a McBurnie header forced Fitzsimons into a flying save at the expense of a corner-kick. Yet as rain began to fall (though never threatening another abandonment!), the hosts continued to press and just prior to the interval, 'the Bucks' enjoyed their one piece of luck as Whitehall's 15-yard drive rebounded from a post.

The opening 8 minutes of the 2nd half proved decisive as Buxton shocked the hosts with a brace of goals that could well have been 3! Just 4 minutes in and for the first time, perhaps 20 passes were strung together, eventually finding Connor Kirby in the right corner. He passed to Sam Minihan, who picked out Diego some 15 yards from goal. Enjoying comfortably his best display of the season to date, he fired a sumptuous half-volley into a top corner. Almost immediately, his team could have doubled its lead from a break to the left flank but McKeown marred an energetic performance with an under-powered effort at the 'keeper. However, he was soon involved more successfully, but on the right, and when home defenders failed to clear close to goal, Minihan fired home with 53 minutes gone.

With a 2-goal cushion, the visitors defended with confidence, though Butterfield fizzed a mighty 20-yard effort over the angle. At the other end, from a Sam Smart free-kick, the prominent McKeown's flick close to goal was blocked. The Iron' were dominating possession but their play was almost entirely across the front of the Buxton defence and therefore less penetrative. Substitutions were made and there were some tasty encounters but 'the Bucks' stood firm and in the 84th minute a home defender's slip let in substitute Jordan Burrow, but his 20-yard shot was too close to the 'keeper. However, within a minute, Diego's confident penalty-kick had sealed victory after centre-back Boyce had clearly fouled McKeown. Thereafter a pitch invasion by about 50 youths from behind the Buxton goal put proceedings on hold for some 3 minutes but it merely delayed Scunthorpe's demise in what may be their penultimate match at Glanford Park.

Buxton supporters can feel justly proud of their team's efforts on both visits. On this occasion every man played a full part versus full-time opposition, with captain Luke Shiels absolutely outstanding as the kingpin of a resolute defence in a victory that looks comfortable on paper but was very far from it!

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hunt, Shiels, Francis-Angol; Weston; Smart (Burrow), Kirby, McBurnie, McKeown (Wenayeto); De Girolamo (Granite). Unused Subs: Petrovic & Boden

 

Saturday 23rd September BUXTON (0) 0 SPENNYMOOR TOWN (1) 2 ATT. 701

Buxton suffered a rare home defeat on Saturday versus a 4th-placed Spennymoor side which produced a classic away performance in a good-quality game between teams concentrating on building attacks by passing soccer. The visitors, however, proved themselves sounder in defence and sharper in attack with a goal in each half.

After early F.A. Cup exits for both clubs, both to successful NPL Premier teams, there was certainly something to prove, with the added spice to the mix of 'the Moors' being managerless following the resignation of Jamie Chandler, while 'the Bucks' lacked a host of players. Brown was serving the 2nd of his 3-match suspension, McBurnie was unwell and 5 more were injured: McCourt, Osborne, Hull, Elliott (knee) and Wright (shoulder). Yet manager Craig Elliott was able to name a side with a better balance in 4-4-2 mode. AFC Fylde loanee, Tom Walker, made his home debut on the left (but joined the injured list late in the first half after suffering a damaged ankle), while Sam Smart was restored to the right flank.

Despite such adverse circumstances, Buxton enjoyed as much as 63% of the possession without being able to penetrate the resolute 'Moors' defence, whose kingpin was veteran centre-back Curtis, who had played for Gateshead in Buxton's 2008 NPL play-off final. A typical example of his importance was seen at quarter-time when a fine Connor Kirby diagonal pass found Walker whose skilful trick set up his dangerous low cross only for Curtis to intercept. Home striker, Jordan Burrow, worked valiantly to create openings with intelligent headed flicks but his team-mates couldn't profit from them.

Yet the visitors netted twice. The first, on 28 minutes, came as midfielder Ramshaw produced a fine header high into the net from an accurate left-flank cross, immediately after the hosts had escaped narrowly, twice clearing from the goal-line after a dangerous corner-kick had caused mayhem in the home goalmouth. Victory was sealed in the 79th minute in unfortunate fashion for Buxton, rather typical of their ill-luck in recent weeks. Right-back Sam Minihan, regularly prominent in home attacking moves on his flank, was cautioned for a foul 18 yards out and so his recovery was delayed, while the quickly-taken free-kick to the 'Moors' left gave Fielding the space to cross accurately for striker Harris (ex-Burnley) to net from 10 yards.

Buxton did make chances, the best 2 being created at 0-1. Just after the interval, Minihan cut to the by-line to deliver a lofted cross that was only half-cleared to an unmarked Burrow whose low volley was saved. Arguably the striker had time to set himself before shooting. Then on 70 minutes, again on the right and featuring Minihan, Kirby's penetrative pass played him through, but Sam squared the ball instead of shooting from 8 yards.

So 'the Bucks’ proud home record of 13 games unbeaten, dating back to January, was ended but they may well play worse and win.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Granite, Shiels, Francis-Angol; Weston (McBurnie); Smart (Boden), Kirby, De Girolamo, Walker (McKeown); Burrow. Unused Subs: Petrovic & Hunt

 

Saturday 16th September MACCLESFIELD (1) 2 BUXTON (0) 0 F A CUP 2ND ROUND QUALIFYING

ATTENDANCE 2274 (INC 482 FROM BUXTON)

For the first time in seven years, Buxton fell at the first hurdle encountered in this year's F.A. Cup on Saturday and how galling that defeat should come at nearest rivals and oldest foes, 'the Silkmen’, who have fast become a 'bogey' team for 'the Bucks'. In the last 14 months, ‘Macc' have inflicted three comprehensive defeats, two of them in pre-season friendlies, with an aggregate score of 9-0!

What's more, after two seasons packed with F.A. excitement and triumph, the defeat at 'Macc' was a bitter pill to swallow, particularly considering the disappointing nature of the performance after the heroics shown at Scunthorpe only seven days earlier. Then every player was a hero, whereas at the Moss Rose arguably only Sam Minihan did justice to himself.

Injuries, plus the suspension of Connor Brown, had to some extent dictated team selection with the two first-choice left-backs out of consideration, as were midfielder Jak McCourt, in-form winger Sam Osborne and striker Scott Boden, with Luke Shiels, Jake Wright and Tommy Elliott joining the injury list during the tie. Yet the visitors contributed significantly to their own downfall. They started so well by carving out two clear chances in the first three minutes. Based on a 4-1-4-1 system, they first attacked on the right, with Wright and Connor Kirby heavily involved but Elliott hit the bar from ten yards with the goal gaping, and just a minute later another penetrative move gave the midfielder a more difficult opportunity at the far post but 'keeper O'Keefe saved at close range. At much the same spot, on eight minutes, Wright saw yellow for hands as he tried to find the net, but remarkably little more was seen of 'the Bucks' as an attacking force. ‘The Silkmen' gradually took over with left-back Lee an increasingly influential attacking force and it was no surprise on the half-hour when his 60-yard advance at speed on the left touchline created the opening for imposing midfielder Mendy to fire home from ten yards. Yet two minutes earlier, injured skipper Luke Shiels had left the pitch but his replacement, Josh Granite, only came on after the goal despite referee Davis indicating his willingness to make the substitution immediately.

By then, ‘the Bucks' were struggling for any convincing fluency in attack and on the rare occasions that they did put passing moves together, there was no threat in the final third. One problem seemed to be that stand-in left-back Max Hunt was unable to get forward to offer support for attacks from the left. The visitors were only one goal down at the interval but soon thereafter suffered another blow with injury to Wright and his replacement, Diego de Girolamo, made little impact. Seven minutes on came another injury, causing Elliott to be replaced by Eoin McKeown. Briefly hope was renewed as debutant loanee midfielder, the left-footed Tom Walker, switched to the left flank but it soon vanished. Exchanges were more even after the interval but there were still some awful Buxton individual moments and after more than one scare, ‘the Silkmen' doubled their advantage in the 77th minute. A fluid home passing move resulted in a diagonal ball being played across the penalty area for left-winger Duffy to apply the finish from eight yards. So out-of-sorts were 'the Bucks' that the goal seemed a terminal blow and indeed the hosts coasted into the next round.

Bucks: Dearnley, Minihan, Hull, Shiels (Granite), Hunt: Weston: Kirby, Elliott (McKeown), McBurnie, Walker; Wright (De Girolamo). Unused Subs: Petrovic, Burrow & Smart.

 

Saturday 9th September SCUNTHORPE UTD (0) 1 BUXTON (1) 2

(Match abandoned after 90+6 minutes) ATT. 3661 (including 170 recorded from Buxton)

Has there ever been another afternoon with quite as much drama, action and such a totally bizarre conclusion to a Buxton match? On Saturday 'the Bucks' travelled for the first time to the league leader's Glanford Park and were just 4 minutes of added time away from the completion of a memorable victory which would have ranked as their best yet in 55 NLN fixtures. Cruelly it was the weather which caused referee Bancroft to curtail proceedings, but why, oh why, with so little time left to play, did the seemingly flustered official not wait a while to see whether conditions would improve! (Only 3 years ago we waited an hour for an ambulance at Warrington before the decision to abandon was made!). A violent thunderstorm, accompanied by occasional lightning and torrential rain, had, from about 4-30 bombarded the pitch to such an extent that it was eventually awash, with the ball unable to move at all normally! (And a huge lake,3" or 4" deep, had formed outside!).

Yet this was far from being the only dramatic feature. Against the backdrop of a fiercely partisan and intimidating home crowd, out of which came several plastic bottles and a coin hurled in the direction of Buxton 'keeper, Max Dearnley, the visiting contingent did its very best to offer support in the face of adversity. Two crucial refereeing decisions threatened to cost the visitors dear. On the stroke of half-time, Connor Brown was fouled from behind at his own by-line yet then found himself sent off for his reaction, with the foul and its perpetrator unpunished. So 'the Bucks', a goal to the good, were forced to play the entire 2nd half with 10 men, mounting a heroic rearguard action until a 2nd controversial decision in the 81st minute cost them their lead. The outstanding Dearnley, on this showing a worthy successor to the transferred Theo Richardson, caught a lofted cross but lost possession only when barged by home substitute, the newly-signed Richie Bennett, and the ball rolled over the line. Nonetheless 'the Bucks' almost immediately mounted a convincing break on their right to force a corner-kick and from the superb Connor Kirby's lofted delivery, Max Hunt powered forward to head downwards and into the net. Yet the two controversial decisions afflicting Buxton followed a first that had been responsible for the visitors' opening goal. A long diagonal pass to Jake Wright by another outstanding Silverlander, Tommy Elliott, resulted in a corner-kick from which home midfielder Shrimpton was penalised for holding on the intervention of an assistant. With regular penalty-takers Jak McCourt (injured) and Diego (substitute) unavailable, Wright took the responsibility but only after a medical emergency in a stand caused a delay of several minutes. His shot was saved but the rebound was eventually forced home by Xander McBurnie for his first Buxton goal, timed at 43 minutes.

Even without such decisions the opening half was action-packed, with 'the Bucks 'far from over-awed by the occasion, though they had to survive 2 early close calls. A weak defensive back-header looked to cause a big threat, but an offside flag proved a saviour, then Brown, at a post, made a vital clearance. Meanwhile, a fascinating duel was developing on the right as experienced Sam Minihan was tasked with curbing ex-Scarborough loanee, Wilson, as the winger's team enjoyed a majority of possession. Rival centre-backs, Luke Shiels & Will Evans, were 2 of the 10 players to see yellow for fouls.

At the interval, Buxton made the enforced sacrifice of midfielder Eoin McKeown in favour of centre-back Hunt and his presence was essential as 'the Iron' dominated possession and pumped crosses towards goal, with Dearnley making a spectacular dive, catch and hold from a Shrimpton effort. Jordan Burrow replaced Wright at the hour and 11 minutes later Josh Granite returned after injury, in place of Curtis Weston, to play a valiant part as his team held firm despite intense pressure. Almost immediately he produced a vital header to divert a Wilson cross, then the home winger fired a low diagonal shot across the face of goal, untouched by all.

Then came the 2 goals in 3 minutes before more home pressure followed, with Dearnley making another fine save and Shiels, at full stretch, diverting a dangerous ball over the bar. Added time brought more drama as 'the Iron' were correctly awarded a penalty for a foul but Dearnley earned even further credit by saving striker Danny Elliott's kick. Two minutes on came the decision to abandon but if 'the Bucks' had completed a remarkable win, they would have stood 6th in the table instead of the current 13th.By the same token, victory would have been the 2nd time in 6 months that they had toppled a club from the league leadership, the 1st being the excellent 1-1 draw at King's Lynn in February.

It is understood that the referee's report to the F.A will then be forwarded to the NLN for a decision to be reached about the outcome.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Shiels, Hull, Brown; Weston (Granite); Kirby, Elliott, McBurnie, McKeown (Hunt); Wright (Burrow). Unused Subs: De Girolamo & Smart

 

Tuesday 5th September Gloucester City 0 Buxton 0 ATT 657

Manager Craig Elliott made 5 changes to the side that heavily defeated Darlington the previous Saturday for the long journey to Gloucester on a glorious early-September evening. It has been an unfortunate feature to the start of the current campaign that Elliott hasn’t been able to keep a settled starting line-up,  through injury, but one welcome return on Tuesday, to the bench, was that of captain Josh Granite.

In a game with not a huge amount of chances, The Bucks drew 0-0 against Gloucester to stretch the unbeaten run to 5 matches and 3 clean sheets in a row. Brandon Smalley had the first effort of the game for the hosts with a dipping half volley going wide of the mark. He then laid the ball back to Joe Hanks whose long-range strike also went wide. Buxton’s first opportunity came from Diego De Girolamo as a deflected shot came into the hands of the hosts goalkeeper.

In the 29th minute Danny Wright was charging through on the Buxton goal with an over the top through ball before Luke Shiels tracked back well to win the ball and clear away. The Bucks last chance of the half came from De Girolamo’s freekick on the edge of the box which was attempted to be curled round the wall but hitting a Bucks player.  Wright had one last opening before the half time whistle after Harry Pinchard cross on the left-hand side met the head of the incoming target man who couldn’t direct his header on target.

With 2 very contrasting styles Buxton had a penalty shout with Tommy Elliott running through the middle of 2 players and a player coming across taking him out in the box before the referee waved the shouts away.  A Sam Osborne shot from long range was spilled by the goalkeeper. And the last chance of the game fell to Connor Brown who was playing an unfamiliar position of left wing back as his deflected shot went out for a corner in the final minutes.

Bucks: Dearnley, Minihan, Shiels, Hunt, Hull, Francis-Angol (Brown); McBurnie, Kirby, Elliott, De Girolamo (Wright); Burrow (Osborne). Unused Subs: Granite & McKeown.

 

Saturday 2nd September BUXTON (3) 5 DARLINGTON (0) 0 ATT 783 

On Saturday 'the Bucks' were comprehensive victors over 'the Quakers', who have yet to win after 4 visits, while the hosts are now 13 unbeaten at home in league and county cup since Jan.21st.This was Buxton's biggest NLN win in 53 fixtures and how well deserved it was to complete a splendid week of 3 wins,3 'clean sheets' and 11 goals scored.

For the first time this season, manager Craig Elliott had a fully-fit squad from which to choose, though winger Sam Smart was absent after a close family bereavement. The manager opted for a back 4, with Eoin McKeown an interesting and successful selection in an advanced midfield role often filled by Tommy Elliott, who returned after injury as a 2nd-half substitute. Jake Wright replaced Jordan Burrow as the central striker and showed exactly why the manager has recruited him from his former club, Boston Utd. Others particularly to impress were summer newcomers, Sam Minihan and Curtis Weston, but it was 1st-half hat-trick man, Sam Osborne, for the 2nd consecutive Saturday, who earned the Man-of-the-Match award.

On a lovely, sunny afternoon, Buxton first attacked the Ashwood End with Weston almost immediately cutting through to the right by-line and hitting the post from an impossible angle. No surprise then that 'the Bucks' led from the 10th minute with the best of their 5 goals. The ever-industrious Connor Kirby delivered an inch-perfect diagonal pass to the left for Osborne to meet first-time and strike past ex-Silverlands 'keeper, Tommy Taylor. It was virtually all Buxton for the first 20 minutes, but the visitors then had a quarter-hour's majority of possession without looking a threat, though 'keeper Max Dearnley impressed with a high catch and hold under pressure at a corner-kick.

Both teams had been undefeated over the Bank Holiday weekend, so the expected close encounter was developing but suddenly Osborne transformed the complexion of the afternoon by completing his hat-trick inside 3 minutes for a match-changing 3-0 lead. Coincidentally, the goals on 35 and 37 minutes came at exactly the same times as had been the case versus Blyth a week ago. The 2-0 goal, rolled in centrally at point-blank range, resulted from Wright's clever, skilful work, while Weston's superb through-ball released Osborne for the decisive 3rd.There could even have been a 4th Buxton goal by the interval after Osborne had robbed right-back Griffiths but for the only time he didn't make the most of the opening. Just prior to half-time 'the Quakers' came closest to a goal as York loanee, Barnes, delivered a dangerous low cross for Minihan to clear from beneath the bar.

The story of the 2nd half resulted from the events of the 53rd minute as Buxton continued to attack fluently. McKeown and Osborne did the midfield spadework for Jak McCourt's 20-yard drive against the bar. As the ball came down, there was a clear foul on McKeown and McCourt again netted most impressively from the penalty spot. Meanwhile 'Quakers' ex-Wrexham and Harrogate Town centre-back, Jake Lawlor, was sent off for the foul. At 4-0 the contest was effectively over as the totally deflated visitors sought only damage limitation, with the hosts coasting to victory yet missing more goal-scoring opportunities. The unmarked Jake Hull sent a free header, from Kirby's curling, lofted free-kick, over the bar, then Taylor made the save of the day to deny Diego's right-footed effort, but the substitute had the last word by making it 5-0 as he netted from 10 yards at the 2nd attempt in the 7th minute of added time.

'The Bucks' will be twice 'on the road' in the coming week as they travel to Gloucester City on Tuesday (kick-off 7-45 p.m.) and to 2nd-placed Scunthorpe Utd on Saturday (at 3 p.m.).

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Hull, Shiels, Francis-Angol; McCourt (De Girolamo), Weston (Elliott); Osborne, Kirby, Wright (Burrow); McKeown. Unused Subs: Brown & Hunt

Monday 28th August Banbury United (0) 0 Buxton (3) 3 ATT 788

A Jak McCourt double and a goal from Jordan Burrow secured Buxton’s second 3-0 victory of the Bank Holiday weekend by defeating Banbury. Manager Craig Elliott made 3 changes from the team that defeated Blyth on Saturday, with Weston, Hunt and Burrow coming in meaning a change in formation.

Buxton started on the front foot with a Sam Minihan ball into a dangerous area being cleared away and Sam Osborne dinked shot going narrowly over. Tope Obadeyi shot was the first attempt for Banbury, but it was deflected into the path of Max Dearnley. McCourt capitalised on the early Bucks pressure with Kirby laying the ball off before smashing the ball into the bottom corner from 25 yards out to give the Bucks a 13th minute lead. Osborne caused the first yellow card of the game turning past defender Jack Davies who took him out to go into the referee’s book. The Bucks doubled their lead from the penalty spot as Jordan Burrow was clearly fouled in the box on 29th minute.  McCourt stepped up and grabbed his and Buxton’s second goal of the game. The points were all but secured just before the break when Burrow headed a deflected corner goalwards with Banbury player Hall unable to keep it out on the goal-line.

The introduction of Charles gave the hosts some momentum in the second period but Dearnley was rarely threatened. Sam Osborne continued his fine form since returning from injury last Saturday and he nearly extended the Bucks lead late on.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minion, Hull, Shiels, Hunt, Francis-Angol (Smart); Weston (McBurnie), McCourt (De Girolamo); Kirby, Osborne Burrow. Unused Subs: McKeown & Boden

 

Saturday 26th August BUXTON (2) 3 BLYTH SPARTANS (0) 0 ATT. 663

On Saturday Buxton achieved a first victory of the season over 3rd-placed Blyth. In 2022/23 the 2 clubs produced 3 action-packed encounters including 12 goals and the latest meeting was another open, entertaining affair. The victory was ultimately convincing but Spartans'  determination to respond to 'the Bucks' 1st-half goals kept the outcome in doubt till late in the day.

In this game 'the Bucks' equalled the goal output of their first 4 outings and much was due to their forwards. Though substituted just after 3/4 time, Sam Smart offered a threat on the right but the goals were contributed by his forward colleagues, full debutant Jake Wright and left-winger Sam Osborne, who was returning after pre-season injury to net a brace and earn the NLP's man-of-the-match nomination. Both men impressed, with Osborne matching his fine debut performance at Spennymoor close to a year ago.

'The Bucks' were soon looking more threatening than of late with promising work on both flanks, but the early exchanges were even and home 'keeper, Max Dearnley, was forced into a good save and was then fortunate that midfielder Deverdics shot weakly at him from 8 yards following a free-kick. However, the game's complexion was irrevocably changed by 2 goals inside 3 minutes. Osborne was already making an impact, but it was Smart's neat 1-2 with Connor Kirby that set up the winger for a firm, angled shot that was parried by Alex Mitchell. The 'keeper should then have done better when Osborne won the ball and netted a 35th-minute tap-in. Almost at once, the best passing move of the match flowed swiftly on Buxton's right flank for Wright to force the ball home close to goal at the Ashwood End. Blyth hit back and Deverdics launched a lofted corner-kick that somehow cleared everyone.

Early in the 2nd half injury to Xander McBurnie forced a Buxton system change to 4-4-2 as Spartans gradually gained a majority of possession. The newly returned Cedric Main, on loan from York City, was the focal point for the visitors' attack but it was his opposite number, Jake Wright, who was harshly denied a potential scoring chance by fussy referee Sawden, who seemed to see most of the physical contacts as fouls yet denied the visitors a 2nd-half penalty after a meaty coming-together of defender and attacker. His interpretation of recent F.A. edicts also seemed extreme as of 5 home players cautioned, just 1 was for a foul.

Substitutions were made as Blyth did most of the pressing, though Mitchell was forced to parry Kirby's fiercely-struck, 28-yard drive, while Osborne's imsginative,40-yard lob over the 'keeper struck the outside of a post. The winger did, however, have the last word deep into added time. Attacking substitute, Eoin McKeown's superb pass released Jak McCourt on the right and, from his accurate, low delivery, Osborne tapped in at the undefended far post.

So, unlike last season's meeting here when Spartans turned the tables in added time, 'the Bucks' confirmed a victory which lifted them to 17th place ahead of Monday's visit to Banbury. Going back to Jan.21st and the visit of Hereford, the success was the 12th consecutive home game without defeat.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Shiels, Kirby, Francis-Angol; Kirby, McCourt, McBurnie (Burrow); Smart (Hunt), Wright (McKeown), Osborne. Unused Subs: Newall & DeGirolamo.

 

Saturday 19th August BUXTON (1) 1 CURZON ASHTON (0) 1 ATT 501

After going goal-less on Tuesday at Warrington despite enjoying much of the possession, Buxton manager, Craig Elliott, revamped the attack but the hosts, after taking an early lead, couldn't secure a first win of the season as undefeated 'Nash' equalised late to salvage a point and their third draw.

From Tuesday's back 5, Max Hunt was on the subs' bench as Buxton deployed a 4-man defence, while in midfield, with Tommy Elliott unfit, Jak McCourt returned after injury at the expense of Craig Weston, but it was at the front where a different unit was tried. Sam Smart was restored on the right and Eoin McKeown was given a full and home debut on the left, with Diego centrally but he often busied himself in a deep-lying role. Josh Granite and Sam Osborne have yet to recover sufficiently to be available.

The outcome was a disappointing encounter with far too much disjointed, scrappy play and though there was a stiff breeze, the conditions could not be blamed as neither side impressed and at no point established true authority. The match started evenly and without meaningful incident so 'the Bucks' goal on 17 minutes came out of the blue but showed quality as they attacked the Ashwood End. Jake Hull's long, low forward pass picked out Smart centrally and he rounded 'keeper Mason to net impressively. Much encouraged, the hosts should have doubled their advantage within 5 minutes, but Xander McBurnie fired against Mason's legs from 8 yards after he, McKeown and Zaine Francis-Angol had combined superbly deep on the left. That moment proved pivotal as a 2-goal lead would likely have allowed a more relaxed and confident approach but that never happened. Meanwhile 'Nash' offered little first-half threat with home 'keeper, Max Dearnley, in commanding mode, and the only shot of note came on the stroke of half-time with a 25-yard effort by the long-serving Mahon fired directly at him.

Exchanges were mostly even after the interval with the hosts unable to create much of a threat but gradually the visitors enjoyed a majority of possession without the guile to carve out openings. However, 'Nash's 79th-minute equaliser, like Buxton's, came as something of a surprise with centre-back Matthews rising highest to power home an inswinging corner-kick.

By far the most exciting spell of end-to-end action came in the 8 minutes of added time. For 'Nash' Stefan Mols sent a glancing header, from a right-flank cross, wide of the far post but 'the Bucks' went closer still. Determined work by substitute Jake Wright saw a defender's sliced clearance heading for a top corner only to be cleared from the goal-line, then Curzon's Richards power-drove a 25-yard effort wide of goal.

Bucks: Dearnley; Brown, Shiels, Hull, Francis-Angol; McCourt; Smart (Burrow), Kirby, McBurnie (Wright), McKeown (Minihan); De Girolamo. Unused Subs: Weston & Hunt

 

Tuesday 15th August WARRINGTON TOWN (1) 1 BUXTON (0) 0 ATT. 860

By conceding added-time goals in their opening 2 fixtures, Buxton had dropped 3 points but on Tuesday it was a first-minute strike that was their undoing. A typically swift Warrington passing break-out on their right saw 'the Wire' switch the ball to the left from where, in acres of space, winger Grivosti, recently returned from a spell with Bolton Wanderers, advanced to drive clinically into goal, well wide of 'keeper, Max Dearnley.

Manager Craig Elliott had made changes after Saturday's reverse, Midfielder Xander McBurnie made a full debut in place of injured Jak McCourt, Connor Brown started for the similarly injured Sam Minihan, while he opted for an alternative formation based on the three centre-backs, Jake Hull, Max Hunt and Luke Shiels.

'The Bucks' soon settled to a passing style and dominated possession with probably a 70% share. However, penetration was lacking as the hosts were tenacious and hard-working in defence so the only meaningful first-half shot at goal was early on by Connor Kirby, resulting from consecutive home penalty-area errors, but his effort flew high over the bar.

Yet from their limited possession 'the Wire' fashioned more openings. Centrally-placed, Woods received a low Gravosti cross but horribly sliced his attempt wide of goal, then twice in a minute late in the half the hosts had further chances to score. Veteran centre-back Clarke sent a glancing header narrowly wide, while a driven, low cross from the right passed untouched across the face of goal.

Half-time changes seemed inevitable after such a disappointing half. Diego replaced Jordan Burrow in the centre while Eoin McKeown made his debut after injury in an attacking role on the left. For nearly a quarter-hour 'the Bucks', showing great determination to get on terms, continued to dominate but still couldn't crate a clear chance in open play. Their best opportunity came with a 22-yard, centrally-placed free-kick and Diego's firm, low drive drew a diving save from ex-'Alty' 'keeper, Thompson.

Thereafter, however, 'the Wire' enjoyed their best prolonged period of the match, soon forcing Dearnley into a fine save to thwart Woods and denying much in the way of possession to 'the Bucks'. When visiting attacks were developed, a loose ball didn't run kindly for Diego and twice in the closing minutes McKeown had consecutive openings on the left but he could make nothing of either when faced with still resolute defending.

So Buxton's miserable sequence of results at Warrington continues! Three draws and 3 defeats in the 6 completed meetings followed the only success there some 15 years ago, the 7-0 trouncing of homeless, hapless Leigh Genesis.

Bucks: Dearnley; Brown, Shiels, Hunt (McKeown), Hull, Francis-Angol; Weston, Kirby, Elliott, McBurnie (Smart); Burrow (De Girolamo). Unused Subs: Newall & Boden.

 

Saturday 12th August BRACKLEY TOWN (1) 2 BUXTON (0) 1 ATT 556

Danny Newton scored late on to snatch all three points in the last minute of the game with Buxton losing 2-1 on the road. Both teams started well with passing moves but weren’t able to find the final ball. Brackley started to control the game more after the opening 10 minutes with a Ricardo Calder cross from deep coming into a dangerous area. Danny Newton had the first shot on target which Dearnley collected well.

Buxton’s first effort of the game came from Sam Smart as Tommy Elliot laid it off to him and he hit a shot towards the bottom corner that Lewis in goal got down to save. It was the hosts who took the lead in the 30th minute Calder smashing the ball in from close range with The Bucks struggling to clear the ball away. George Carline then tried his luck from distance with a low driven shot that went narrowly wide of the post. Alfie Bates headed over from the 6-yard box with Calder getting another cross into him. Buxton ended the half strong Minihan hitting a shot wide of the mark and having a penalty shout in the last minute with Elliott being dragged down.

The Bucks started the second half with Elliott cutting the ball in from out wide and hitting a dipping effort at goal. Substitute Crawford was almost through on goal with The Buxton defence standing strong to get rid of the opportunity. Kirby then had his attempt blocked in the box by a Brackley defender. The Bucks equalised in the 82nd minute after a corner whipped into the box found Shiels who fired it in to make it 1-1. Substitute Diego De Girolamo then had a freekick effort brilliantly saved by The Saints goalkeeper. The Bucks however were unable to pick the ball back up after a lose ball in the middle as it came over the top to Newton in the 94th minute to fire it in and give the hosts all 3 points.

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan (Brown), Hunt, Hull, Francis-Angol; McCourt (De Girolamo), Weston; Elliott, Kirby, Smart (Shiels); Burrow. Unused Subs: McBurnie & McKeown.

 

Saturday 5th August BUXTON (0) 1 BOSTON UTD (0) 1 ATT. 1072

Two evenly-matched teams, sporting 14 debutants among the 22 who started, produced a very entertaining encounter whose result was in doubt to the very end. 'The Bucks' led for 37 second-half minutes thanks to a well-crafted headed goal, but an added-time headed equaliser deprived the hosts of a mere third victory in 30 meetings with 'the Pilgrims', traditionally Buxton's most difficult opponents by far.

After Tuesday's experimental formation that had featured in the defeat versus 'Macc', manager Craig Elliott restored the system that had looked most promising in the earlier friendlies and for 25 minutes his team dominated possession without being able to pierce the sound visiting rearguard. Yet 'the Bucks' did threaten. A fine Tommy Elliott diagonal pass, then good work on the right by the 2 Sam's, Minihan and Smart, forced one of several corners. Next Connor Kirby fired low and firmly from 28 yards for the ball to pass close by the far post. However, 'the Pilgrims' first attack, just before the half-hour, went far closer to scoring as first Max Dearnley then Kirby had to clear from the goal-line.

That attacking spell lasted 6 minutes and thereafter the exchanges were even but 'the Bucks' made the clearer openings. The impressive Sam Smart's 25-yard drive skimmed the bar, then Utd centre-back, Bostwick, was fortunate to see his touch back find 'keeper Gregory rather than the net.

By contrast, it was Boston on the front foot at the start of the second half and Bostwick's 15-yard low effort passed just wide, yet it was Buxton who took the lead in the 57th minute. Smart's defence-splitting pass set up Minihan for a lofted pull-back from the by-line that was firmly headed home by ex-Boston striker, Jordan Burrow. The visitors continued to pose a threat but home centre-backs, the returning loanee from Rotherham Utd, Jake Hull, and substitute Max Hunt, dealt with it into added time, while Smart, on the Buxton right went close to doubling his team's advantage in the 78th minute as he drove against the 'keeper's legs from a narrow angle. Nevertheless, Boston persevered and in the 4th of 8 minutes striker Kelsey Mooney marked his debut by heading home a right-flank cross.

'The Bucks' next fixture is on Saturday at Brackley Town (kick-off 3p.m). By then it is to be hoped that several of the now 6 injured players will be available for selection. The 31st-minute loss of ex-Boston defender, Luke Shiels, meant that 2 Buxton captains had been injured within 5 days!

Bucks: Dearnley; Minihan, Shiels (Hunt), Hull, Francis-Angol; Weston, McCourt; Kirby. Elliott (McBurnie), Smart (Newall); Burrow. Unused Subs: De Girolamo & Boden.

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