On Saturday 'the Bucks' made a most encouraging start to their pre-season programme. Nor was this the customary initial outing versus a lower-status opponent but rather a victory over a parallel Step 3 Central Division club which not only had home advantage but also the experience of 3 games already played. However,it was 'the Bucks' who looked far more likely to have a successful season as manager Gary Hayward has maintained his reputation for bringing good players to the club. Six of his new signings figured in the starting line-up which revolved around a midfield diamond formation including newcomers Ben Milnes and Lindon Meikle alongside the returning James Hurst and Tommy Elliott. All six contributed from the outset to the establishment of a pattern of passing soccer that created clear goal-scoring chances, the first of which, after just 7 minutes, went begging as new striker, Ash Chambers, miskicked but 3 minutes on Diego netted from 'the spot'. Constantly looking sharp, he had worked a neat, penalty-area 1-2 only to be clearly fouled prior to shooting. Unfortunately the lead lasted just 2 minutes as a defensive error allowed a soft equaliser at a corner through centre-back, Pepera. Nonetheless the visitors continued their otherwise impressive start, creating plenty of smart, accurate passing moves, several of which featured marauding full-back, Nathan Fox on the left flank. On 20 minutes Elliott fed Diego whose strong shot was saved, at the expense of a corner, low at the near post by experienced Tony Breeden, who contributed much to his team's first-half resilience. Nearing the half-hour a Chambers pull-back from the by-line saw Diego's overhead kick pass wide.
Brought on for the second half were Warren Clarke, who this week signed a new contract, and most recent signing,6' 4",left-sided centre-back, Ben Turner from Notts County and both fitted in seamlessly as the formation was tweaked to try Chambers alone at the front. A Milnes shot was diverted for a corner, another hit the bar ,while a low cross was diverted away after new 'keeper, Theo Richardson, had started the move.
At three-quarter time began the usual flurry of multiple changes, with Buxton introducing promising Academy midfielder, Jack Dillingham, and trialist centre-back, Joe Cummings (ex-Sheff Utd, Charlton and Scunthorpe). Almost immediately Clarke's diagonal run through the centre was climaxed by a composed low finish to give 'the Bucks' a most deserved lead. Four minutes later three more Buxton players were introduced : trialist left-back, Akeem Hinds (ex-Rotherham),who had signed for Brackley a year ago ,well-known forward, Osebi Abadaki, and a trialist midfielder. Nuneaton's manager, Jimmy Ginnelly, the former Barwell boss, acted similarly but his changes only enhanced Buxton's dominance with 2 late goals following. From his centre-circle interception the quicksilver Elliott weaved through a threadbare rearguard for a well-placed low shot past the substitute 'keeper. Then an Abadaki low cross from the left was nudged home by the trialist midfielder for a comprehensive, convincing success.
The new-look Buxton squad seems likely to produce an entertaining, footballing unit that should be capable of challenging for honours.