Freeman: plan was to Barcelona them

Clive Freeman, Buxton FC
Clive Freeman, Buxton FC

BUXTON FC’s assistant manager Clive Freeman spoke of his immense pride at his side’s never-say-die attitude after they fought back from a goal down to defeat league leaders FC Halifax Town on Saturday.

Debutant Sam Johnson came off the bench late in the second half to score twice during a vintage 19-minute cameo, after the Bucks had gone behind to a Tom Baker penalty kick.

The result moved the Silverlands side back into the Evo-Stik Premier Division play-off places, and after the match Freeman paid tribute to the young striker’s two-goals.

“Sometimes as a manager you make a substitution and it pays off, and this one paid off,” he said.

“Sam’s come on and wrote himself a little bit of a chapter in Buxton’s history. Before he went on, I said to him ‘go and make a name for yourself son’ and he has done.

“He took his goals great. He must have been nervous, but he looked assured, calm and he’s a big strong boy with a nice touch.

“Maybe me and John should go and buy 100 lottery tickets tonight because it’s worked for us today.”

Local lad Johnson, who had been on the radar of league rivals FC United of Manchester, plays his football in the Hope Valley League with Harpur Hill FC, and came highly recommended by club legend David ‘Bammer’ Bainbridge.

And his two goals in six second half minutes were no more than Buxton deserved after a dominant second half performance.

Freeman said: “The plan was to try and Barcelona them. Everyone saw on Tuesday night how Barcelona tried to close people down. Admittedly we haven’t got the same players as them, but the principle is the same. If you give good players time, they’ll hurt you.

“We told them they had to just keep going, keep asking questions of them, and the effort and the workrate would bring a goal. The best team won today. Gregg gave away a silly penalty and then rectified it with a fantastic clearance.

“Overall, it was a fantastic day. You have high points and low points as a manager and a player, and today was certainly a high point.

“When I see us play like that it fills me full of pride because they were fantastic. We’ve had a few great performances this season, and we’ve had a few duffers too, but it’s all about enjoying this one today.

“If you’ve got a team of players that don’t know when they’re beat, then you know you’ve always got a chance of winning games.”

Freeman also shrugged off FC Halifax Town manager Neil Aspin’s apparent snub at the final whistle: “Aspin had a monk on at the end of the game, as we say in Yorkshire. He wouldn’t shake hands with us for some reason. If he wants to do that then that’s his problem. I’m not really bothered.”