A baptism of fire for rebuilt Buxton

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Evo-Stik Premier Division: Chester FC 4, Buxton FC 0

BUXTON’S first visit to the Exacta Stadium proved to be a baptism of fire for the rebuilt Bucks as the impressive league leaders profited from a series of individual defensive errors to score twice in each half.

There were as many as five debutants in Buxton’s 16, three of them in starting positions, so the visitors, playing on a Saturday for the first time in a month, needed time to settle and accommodate their new team-mates, but such a luxury was not to be allowed them.

Chester tore into the visitors, were so quick into the tackle that the Bucks couldn’t relieve the pressure, and led in four minutes, thereafter dominating proceedings from the ‘driving seat’.

The opening goal was simplicity itself as McGinns’ through ball set Chris Simm, previously a successful Conference striker for Southport, off on goal, and debutant Nabil Bounab, the Stockport loanee, had neither the strength nor the pace to prevent him from shooting low past Scott Hartley.

Chester went close to doubling their lead when a long throw enabled Horan to back heel towards goal from four yards but directly into keeper Hartley’s grasp.

Buxton gradually got into contention with Steve Istead showing quality and Adie Hawes doing well against the giant veteran target man Matty McNeil, another Chester player with an impressive CV, but it was Bradley Barraclough who was the visitors’ dangerman.

After 16 minutes he rounded Horan to reach the byline but his low pull-back to the advancing Mark Reed was cut out for an unproductive corner kick, then he did more good work but Steve Ridley’s cross was too close to ex-Stockport keeper Glennon.

Chester’s second goal just past the half hour was gifted by keeper Hartley, who was yards off his line as Baynes’ 40-yard free kick from Chester’s right sailed over him and into the far corner of his net.

Ten minutes later the keeper earned a yellow card in the day’s most bizarre refereeing incident. Mr Underwood, having already chosen to ignore angry Chester midfielder Smith’s two fists thrust into Kieran Lugsden’s chest, then allowed his equally poorly-placed assistant to guess that the keeper had handled outside the right-hand edge of the penalty area. Chester scored from the free-kick, but the raised flag of the other assistant ruled out the effort.

Peter Davidson had an early second half chance for the visitors but his turn and shot in the six-yard box was blocked, and in the 54th minute Chester’s Simm put the result well out of Buxton’s reach. He latched onto another through ball, comfortably held off Bounab and scored from a narrow angle, the ball entering the net off and under Hartley’s diving body.

New manager Martin McIntosh made a trio of simultaneous substitutions and all three newcomers improved on what had gone before, with Worksop loanee Marc Roberts looking a good deal more comfortable in central defence, Michael Towey cleverly inventive and Scott Maxfield his usual competitive self.

However, only two minutes later keeper Hartley gifted Chester a fourth goal. Dashing from his area, he did really well to make an interception but instead of hoofing clear his faulty pass reached right-back Baynes who found the unguarded net again from distance.

Reed’s 25-yard free-kick forced a tip-over save from Glennon, but that was as close as the Bucks came to a consolation goal.

With results elsewhere going against them, prospects may look grim for Buxton, yet possible salvation from relegation will unlikely hinge on this visit to star-studded Chester, but rather on forthcoming six-pointers on successive Saturdays versus Burscough and Ashton, with more such games to follow.

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Hawes, Bounab (Roberts, 62), Wilde, Lugsden, Istead, Ridley (Maxfield, 62), Davidson (Towey, 62), Reed, Barraclough. Unused subs: Agus, Turner. Att: 2,470.