Bucks scrape win as rivals lose their way

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Ossett Town 0

Buxton 1

GRINDING out a positive result in difficult conditions was Buxton’s achievement in West Yorkshire last Saturday as several of their rivals for the play-off positions lost their way.

A hard, sparsely-grassed pitch was difficult enough in itself but a strong down-field wind, blowing from corner to corner, added to the players’ problems, yet this encounter was always watchable as the two sides, battling for points for contrasting reasons, showed ample commitment.

Buxton dominated for all but the last five minutes and commendably sought throughout to play a passing game yet the lowly home side showed spirited resistance and held out until the 82nd minute.

For the Bucks, goalkeeper and defenders were sound with full-backs Grant Black and Josh Wilde ever eager to get forward, while in midfield Steve Ridley and Neil Stevens were tigerish in taking on the mantle of the injured Scott Maxfield and strikers Mark Reed and Kieran Lugsden were typically both busy and constructive.

With wind and slope in their favour in the first half, the visitors went close to a third minute lead when Lugsden’s hook shot beat keeper Bennett but shaved the far post. Right-back Henson’s long throw posed an early Town threat but Black averted the danger and thereafter the Bucks were in charge.

After 15 minutes, for a second consecutive match, a penalty kick was denied with Lugsden this time being the victim, a challenge from behind grounding him.

Eight minutes later the striker looked to have unlocked the home defence with a short cut-back from the by-line, but left-back Penn made a vital interception.

Under pressure, the Ossett keeper resorted to time-wasting and there was more frustration for the sizeable visiting contingent as several fouls went unpunished. However, just prior to the interval, it took Gregg Anderson’s intervention, close to the Buxton goal-line, to block a goal-bound Sheriffe header and the half finished goalless.

After the interval Ossett had rather more of the game and with Buxton unable to break through, all three substitutions were made within a 20-minute spell. Chris Ovington had an immediate opening, created for him on the right by Ridley and Reed, but his control was lacking.

Then came the best chance so far. Reed’s low drive from the right was parried by Bennett into the path of Michael Towey but, under pressure, he shot narrowly wide and Wilde fastened onto a loose ball but from 15 yards also narrowly missed the target.

In between, a rare Ossett threat saw Scott Hartley punch a long-range effort over the bar but it was the Bucks who eventually scored the decisive goal. Substitute Sam Johnson and Mark Reed did the spade-work on the right and Ovington finished low from close range.

Ossett forged a response and created one clear opening but midfielder Clapham shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post to leave Buxton deserving winners.

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Anderson, Agus, Wilde, Askey (Ovington 60), Towey (Kirkland 81), Stevens, Ridley, Reed, Lugsden (Johnson 77). Unused subs: Moseley. Attendance 172.