Evo-Stik Premier Division: FC United of Manchester 1, Buxton FC 2
THE GOAL of this season, and of many another season too, scored with fabulous style by Bradley Barraclough in the 73rd minute, secured a sixth victory in eight games for the Bucks at Gigg Lane on Saturday to further boost the club’s aim of avoiding relegation.
The free-scoring marksman attacked from the left touchline, squeezed past a defender to reach the byline then, when a pass was expected, took on two more and prodded the ball home from inside the six-yard box.
Such a magnificent individual effort deservedly won the day versus the play-off hunting Red Rebels as Buxton came from behind to play very well in both attack and defence in a pulsating encounter.
Operating a fluid formation, the home side scored after just five minutes as slack marking allowed Wolfenden to seize on Platt’s turn and rifle into a corner of the net from 12 yards.
The Bucks responded immediately and Mark Reed’s curling 25-yard free-kick brushed the side netting before the striker’s shot was blocked, and keeper Spencer saved well from Barraclough’s follow-up shot.
The action proved the forerunner for Buxton’s equaliser in the 21st minute as Reed netted confidently from the penalty spot.
Peter Davidson’s low drive rebounded from Spencer to Reed, who was fouled from behind by Jones.
The visitors withstood a spell of United pressure to build a passing move of quality that resulted in Kieran Lugsden’s goal-bound low cross-shot being superbly tipped away by Spencer, and the half ended with a fine tackle by Josh Wilde on Roca and an Adie Hawes interception was needed to maintain parity.
Buxton made the first openings of the second half but Reed’s overhead kick and Davidson’s attempt at a placed shot failed to trouble Spencer.
Then the Rebels again mounted pressure only to be thwarted by a fine Hawes saving tackle and Reed defending from his own goal-line.
Just past the hour it was the striker’s downward header from a Grant Black corner that was similarly cleared, and four minutes later the same duo combined again as Reed’s header from a fine cross went narrowly over the bar.
Then came Barraclough’s wonder goal followed by a period of intense United pressure during which Hawes, Marc Roberts and Scott Hartley were outstanding.
The keeper had to make two flying saves, firstly to divert a Jones header from a Platt free-kick, then again to his right to deny Wolfenden with left-back Neville, who should earlier have seen red for a thigh-high lunge on Lugsden, firing the rebound over the terracing.
In between these excitements, the Bucks could have sealed the victory with a third goal.
Hawes, Neil Stevens and Lugsden built a penetrative passing move for Reed to drive low and bring the best out of Spencer at the expense of a corner, while in added time substitute Sanchez Payne was set-up by Reed’s pass only to shoot at the keeper.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Hawes, Roberts, Wilde, Towey (Agus, 84), Stevens, Davidson (Istead, 55), Lugsden, Reed, Barraclough (Payne, 90). Unused subs: Bradbury, Turner. Attendance: 2,276.