Evo-Stik Premier Division: Buxton FC 1, Bradford Park Avenue 3
BUXTON gave a spirited performance against league high-fliers Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday but the visitors’ speed and quality finishing ultimately paid off.
The home side were in good form going into the match, having won five out of their last six games, with last Wednesday’s victory at Mickleover Sports lifting them out of the relegation zone for the first time since November.
And indeed it was the Bucks who started the brighter of the two sides, dominating much of the action for the first 20 minutes, which also saw a Buxton penalty appeal turned down by referee Matthew Walsh after a challenge on Mark Reed.
But it was Avenue who took the early lead with two goals in two minutes.
Tom Greaves took advantage of the space he had been afforded on 20 minutes to lob the ball straight over keeper Scott Hartley’s head and into the net.
And then with Buxton barely recovered, Richard Marshall bagged the visitors’ second of the afternoon after slotting the ball past Hartley following an earlier Avenue effort.
The visitors were now firmly in control of the game and created a couple of other openings as the half wore on but the shots they fashioned were all off target.
Then with 37 minutes on the clock, a Buxton throw-in into the box was cleared only as far as Neil Stevens who blasted the ball past visiting keeper John Lamb and into the net to pull the score back to 2-1.
On the stroke of half-time, the Bucks were awarded a free-kick after James Riley fouled Bradley Barraclough but the ball was quickly cleared out for a corner.
A second corner followed shortly after before the ball fell to Grant Black whose powerful shot was prevented from finding the back of the net after striking the legs of a visiting player.
The second half began with a half decent effort from Steve Ridley, who had earlier replaced Steve Istead, but then Ridley was himself substituted and replaced by Michael Towey on 48 minutes after picking up an injury.
Bradford continued to cause problems for the Bucks in the second period with their quick breaks and fast playing style but the accuracy of their finishing let them down.
As the game drew to a close, Buxton had some decent spells but they were unfortunate not to capitalise on their hard work.
Things were wrapped up neatly for the visitors in the 90th minute when Ross Daly beat Hartley to make it 3-1 for promotion-chasing Bradford.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Istead (Ridley later Towey), Hawes, Roberts, Stevens, Davidson, Reed, Barraclough, Maxfield (Agus). Attendance: 379.