Buxton FC 1, Notts County 1
THE REVAMPED Buxton came within a minute of achieving a merited victory over a strong League One Notts County last Saturday.
The sizeable visiting contingent had to wait until the 89th minute for their favourites to score and then it was from the penalty spot as ex-Leeds defender Alan Sheehan beat trialist goalkeeper Jamie Green after a Buxton hand had met a flighted corner-kick.
Until then, Martin McIntosh’s men had very much impressed home supporters and it was a tribute to the players’ fitness that the part-timers matched the full-timers step for step.
County brought their full first-team squad and fielded a different team in each half, whereas Buxton’s first-choice players were mostly in action for much longer.
The outcome was a very competitive, entertaining encounter and though the first half was goal-less there was a host of scoring chances going begging.
For Buxton, a Marc Roberts bullet header at a corner narrowly missed the target.
Then Steve Istead drove into the penalty area, saw his shot saved and Sam Duncum’s follow-up effort blocked before ex-Southampton goalkeeper Bart Bialkowski was relieved to see an offside flagged.
County’s Joss Labadie responded with a curling shot against the bar and former Tranmere striker Enoch Showunmi failed to make contact with a right-wing cross before shooting across the face of goal.
The Bucks’ reply was positive as Kieran Lugsden, despite the attention of two defenders, created an opportunity for himself only to shoot over the bar.
However, the striker was responsible for Buxton’s goal just before the hour mark.
He forged into the penalty area on the left only to be brought down, and Mark Reed confidently opened his season’s account from the spot.
Thereafter the exchanged continued to be even, County’s ex-Reading right-back Julian Kelly hammered a 35-yard blockbuster just past the angle of post and bar, but Buxton trialist Rory Fallon sped to the byline though Lugsden’s shot from his pull-back cleared the goal.
County’s Enzo Fuentes also went close with a long shot, then Jordan Hall might have made it 2-0 to the Bucks as the two trialists set him up for a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Mitchell but he prodded wide of the target.
Nonetheless, Buxton’s first home pre-season friendly was an outstanding success and suggests happy times ahead at the Silverlands.
Buxton: Collis, Black, Sandwith, Istead (c), Haggerty, Roberts, Lugsden, Towey, Reed, Maxfield, Duncum. Substitutes: Fallon, Hall, Keane, Z. Thomas, J. Thomas, Wiley, Green. Attendance: 489.