Nantwich Town 0 Buxton 0
A goalkeeping masterclass by Nantwich’s Jonny Brain stood between Scott Maxfield’s revitalised Buxton and victory in Cheshire last Saturday as the former Macclesfield custodian made a series of splendid saves.
Scott Hartley was also in fine form in a match of much good football and numerous goal-scoring opportunities.
Loan midfielders James Baxendale and Oliver Banks made successful debuts, the former looking a potential match-winner particularly in the first half, and the latter increasingly effective after the interval.
Indeed it was Baxendale who brought the save of the day from Brain with 15 minutes gone.
The visitors had already strung together several passing moves when Wilde and Ridley set up Baxendale for a 15-yard volley of stunning power tipped wide by Brain, then other Buxton attacks were thwarted by the keeper’s heroics, most notably on the half-hour mark when he dived low at his near post to divert Maxfield’s 20-yard drive.
He also denied Baxendale again just prior to half-time after the in-form Wilde’s cross had created the opening.
However, the keeper played no part on 28 minutes when Buxton’s best chance came and went.
Kieran Lugsden did particularly well to get in a low cross from the right but Mark Reed, grounded and at full stretch, somehow put the ball over the bar from only a yard out.
The Bucks established themselves as the better side but nonetheless Nantwich also threatened to score. Buxton’s abiding nemesis Michael Lennon forced Hartley to save with his feet after 18 minutes, then from Cooke’s corner, Curtley Williams’ header at a post kept the visitors level, while close to half-time it took committed defending to survive a bout of penalty area pin-ball.
There was no break to the action in the second half and Baxendale again impressed with a run through the heart of the Dabbers’ defence but his shot across the face of goal passed narrowly wide.
Buxton enjoyed a majority of possession while Nantwich relied on quick passing on the break, and Lennon twice brought saves from Hartley before substitute Mills made a hash of a 25-yard shot.
The Bucks continued to attack in convincing fashion, Ridley set up Lugsden, but when Brain parried his shot, the ball fell to a defender.
With young Banks a growing influence, his pass gave Maxfield the chance of a 25-yard drive – but again Brain thwarted him and the keeper had the very last say, catching a powerful Banks free-kick under his crossbar.
Team: Hartley, Black, Williams, Agus, Wilde (Johnson 38), Baxendale, Banks, Maxfield (Taylor 79), Ridley, Reed, Lugsden.