Evo-Stik Premier Division
Buxton FC 1
JOHN Reed’s battle-weary players showed true grit to withstand a late onslaught and secure a vital three points in the race for the play-offs.
Kieran Lugsden netted the only goal of the game after 18 minutes of this physical clash at the Silverlands last Friday night, while Scott Hartley made a number of top-drawer saves late on as the visitors went close to snatching a point.
Buxton were quickest to settle. A chip by Gregg Anderson was controlled by Lugsden, who despite the presence of Ben Hoskin managed to squeeze off a shot from the edge of the area which was greeted low down by Paul Willis.
Michael Towey ran on to a long high ball from Josh Wilde, only for his chip attempt to go astray, and the Bucks had a penalty appeal turned down when Mark Reed raced into the area and hit the ground after being sandwiched between two defenders.
Buxton kept pummelling away - a Ridley corner was headed at the keeper by Towey - before the only goal of the game on 18 minutes.
Good work by Towey and Reed played Lugsden through on goal, and his deft flick at close range found the space between keeper and crossbar.
Burscough, meanwhile, occasionally looked threatening on the break, but created little in the way of goalscoring opportunities in the first half, their best scoring chances coming from set-pieces.
One such chance by Kevin Leadbetter forced a good save from Hartley to keep the scores level at the break.
Joe Roberts volleyed over for the visitors soon after the restart, after an in-swinging corner kick was punched clear by the Buxton custodian.
Buxton should have doubled their advantage when Reed was clumsily brought down in the penalty area by Hoskin, but the usually reliable striker blazed the spot kick wide.
The game was now end to end, with Hartley tipping a Leadbetter effort from a tight angle over the bar, while at the other end Lugsden had a shot blocked during a goalmouth scramble which saw virtually every Bucks player lining up to shoot.
With legs tiring, Burscough sensed an equaliser was there for the taking, and laid siege on the Buxton goal late in the game, but the hosts stood firm, with virtually every player back defending.
Still, Hartley had to pull off two top-class saves to cement the win, deflecting an Andy Barlow volley at the far post wide for a corner and then, from the resulting set-piece, blocking at close-range to prompt a late chorus of ‘Scotty is Superman’ from the fans behind his goal.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Agus, Anderson (c), Ridley, Askey, Towey (Johnson, 45), Reed, Lugsden, Stevens. Subs not used: Liversidge, Ovington, Kirkland, Moseley. Attendance: 292.