Buxton Town 2, Dove Holes 2 (Dove won 4-3 on penalties)
A LAST-MINUTE equaliser in normal time, followed by a thrilling penalty shoot-out win, saw Dove Holes lift the DCFA Divisional Cup North.
Opponents Buxton Town started the brighter and had the Lion’s share of possession in last Wednesday’s final at New Mills AFC’s Church Lane ground, but it was Dove who opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Charlie Vize was allowed to send in a deep cross which found the unmarked Steven Bentley and his deft header looped over Chris Gartside.
Dove went close again as Aaron Maund picked out Bentley, but this time the striker was stretching and his volley went just wide.
Shaun Doxey proved a handful from set-pieces, but James Mallaband controlled the Town back-four well. At the other end, good defending by captain Jake Burnham and Scott Murcott kept Town at bay, while George Burgess fired a shot wide.
Town deservedly equalised just past the half-hour mark when Matt Clark fed Mark Harris on the left and he sent in an excellent cross that was only headed as far as Colin Moss, who controlled on his chest before firing low into the net past Stuart Lindsay.
Both teams created chances in the second half as the heavy pitch took its toll on the players. Murcott was denied a goal when Town skipper Richard Mirams made an excellent goal-line clearance, while the impressive Moss caused Dove problems.
Town took the lead in the 63rd minute when Mirams sent Moss down the right and he drove at the Dove back-four before picking out Jack Grindey with an inch-perfect pass. Grindey’s first attempt was saved by Lindsay, but his follow-up found the far corner from a tight angle.
Town should have put the game to bed when Jace Broome played the ball into the path of Josh Greaves but he took one touch too many, allowing Burnham to get back and make a tackle.
For Dove, substitute Adam Walker broke clear only to be denied by a great save from Gartside, but it was the introduction of Kyle Brown which gave Dove fresh impetus, and he equalised in the very last minute. Town switched off at a throw-in and Brown’s cross into the box went through a whole crowd of players before nestling into the bottom corner.
With no extra time, the tie was settled on penalties. Gartside made a great save to deny Doxey, Grindey put Town ahead but Moss fired Town’s second kick wide. Vize, Walker, Murcott and Brown all scored for Dove, while Burgess and Ball netted for Town. The tense finale was brought to an end when Lindsay dived to his left to deny Broome.