Evo-Stik Premier Division: Kendal Town 0, Buxton FC 0
GOALLESS draws are rarely welcome, but after the previous week’s FA Cup exit this was an encouraging display and result against a side which performs well at home.
Kendal did create clearer chances overall, but Buxton went closest to scoring when Steve Ridley’s 77th-minute, 25-yard free-kick rattled the bar, even though referee Mulraine allowed Town’s wall the luxury of standing only seven yards away.
The Bucks fielded a new central defensive partnership, giving a debut to 20-year-old Louis Horne alongside the outstanding Curtley Williams.
Horne played soundly and was the organising voice at the back that has been somewhat lacking since the enforced absence of Matt Heywood.
Grant Black returned at right back, allowing the energetic Neil Stevens to move into central midfield, while Ridley on the left gave little scope to attacking right-back Walmsley and produced arguably his best display of the season to date.
Buxton set about their task in good spirit and with an admirable work-rate to stifle virtually all the Cumbrian’s attacking efforts.
Even so, Town created enough openings to win the game. As early as the 11th minute, striker Jackson got on to Leadbetter’s flighted free-kick, but his free header was both weak and wide of goal.
Then seven minutes later, before the Bucks had managed an effort on target, Hartley produced the save of the day with an outstretched left leg. Left-back Wisdom’s mazy run took him into the penalty area and his pass found Jackson close in, but the keeper produced an instinctive save to divert the low shot.
In the second quarter of the match, the visitors developed as an attacking force, with Mark Reed heading over the bar from Pembleton’s cross and there was more than a little doubt about the legality of a tackle in the area on Kieran Lugsden.
Then a Reed downward header set-up his co-striker for a swivel and shot, but the division’s leading scorer couldn’t make a strong contact.
Exchanges continued to be even in the second half. Good work on the right by Reed, then Ridley, set-up Scott Maxfield for a 20-yard shot at keeper Newton, before Williams made a good run down the right but Reed’s powerful drive was blocked.
In defence, Williams was becoming ever more dominant and effectively forced the substitution of both Kendal strikers.
Yet it was left-winger Danny Williams who posed the greatest threat, and there had to be some good Buxton defending in a rare spell of pressure late in the game.
However, with only a minute left, centre-half Winters planted a free header wide of the goal as a long left-flank corner kick reached him. Such generosity will have needed elimination ahead of the visit of promotion favourites Chester FC.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Williams, Horne, Wilde, Pembleton (Towey, 72), Stevens, Maxfield, Ridley, Lugsden, Reed. Unused substitutes: Taylor, S Johnson, Liversidge, Handley. Attendance: 250.