Evo-Stik Premier Division: Buxton FC 1, Rushall Olympic 2
‘DAYLIGHT robbery’ was how Buxton manager John Reed described Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat by newly-promoted Rushall Olympic, which left his side still searching for their first win of the new league campaign.
The outcome of this match hinged on a dramatic 30-second period deep into second-half injury time when, with the scores tied at 1-1, Buxton’s newest defender Karl Colley saw a powerful, close-range header instinctively pushed onto the post by Rushall keeper Chris Gemmell and then rebound into his grateful hands.
From the clearance that followed, Chris Morris collected the ball in midfield and released a powerful strike from all of 30 yards which heartbreakingly crept just inside of Hartley’s right-hand post.
But the late drama failed to tell the whole story of a match which saw the hosts largely dominate proceedings and spurn numerous first-half chances before taking the lead on 53 minutes after an equally-powerful, right-footed pile-driver from the edge of the area by captain Scott Maxfield was deflected into the bottom corner.
That lead, however, had lasted only 20 minutes as lively striker Luke Edwards equalised from the spot on 72 minutes after Colley conceded a penalty for the second game in a row after a rash challenge at the ankles of Morris.
It was an unchanged Buxton starting line-up which created the first chance of the game as early as the fifth minute, but Michael Towey mis-directed his attempted lob after Gemmell had spurted out of his area.
The Bucks looked solid in defence, no more so after 12 minutes when a ball over the top caught the home defence cold and gifted Edwards a free run on goal, but he was denied by a brave, last-ditch tackle in the area by Tommy Agus. From the resulting corner, Morris floated in a shot which Hartley saved at full stretch.
At the other end, it was the turn of Sean Platt to deny Kieran Lugsden with a sliding tackle in front of goal, before Michael Towey saw an attempt from nine yards blocked by Gemmell.
Then Colley had a header cleared off the line after Towey flicked on a Steve Ridley corner.
Martin Pembleton and Lugsden twice linked-up well in the closing stages of the first half to create half chances, and Colley was resolute in his defending to deny Edwards after Ridley had uncharacteristically given the ball away.
The second half proved to be a more timid affair, but after Maxfield’s opening goal Buxton seemed to lose their way, the departures of Ridley and Wilde seeming to upset the Bucks’ rhythm ahead of the Rushall equaliser. Still, there was time for Lugsden to glance a header wide before the game reached a breathtaking conclusion.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde (Cross, 62), Agus, Colley, Maxfield (c), Pembleton, Towey, Parry (Hadley, 82), Lugsden, Ridley (Stevens, 58). Subs not used: Taylor, Cardwell. Attendance: 209.