Inability to kill off game again costs Buxton

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Buxton FC 1, Chorley 1

Recent setbacks meant that both clubs desperately needed a victory in last Wednesday’s encounter, but the draw effectively ended the play-off challenge of Buxton and Chorley.

For the home side it was a failing seen on several occasions this season that accounted for the loss of two points, namely an inability to kill-off opponents when a goal up and on top.

After an early snapshot which passed narrowly wide, Lee Morris scored a fortuitous 26th-minute opener. Ash Palmer couldn’t make contact with a Marc Roberts long throw, but Morris’ shot took a massive deflection to wrong-foot ex-Macclesfield keeper Cudworth.

Thereafter until the interval, the Bucks pressed hard at the Railway End and from a Jamie Green corner-kick, the keeper performed a minor miracle to palm the ball from the line when a goal seemed a near-certain outcome to a scramble.

Then a penetrating Grant Black cross produced first a Roberts header and then a Palmer shot, only for a Kieran Lugsden header to be cleared.

After the interval a Sam Duncum shot was blocked and Matt Thornhill fired his follow-up shot wide, but Chorley were much more in contention and just past the hour manager Martin McIntosh introduced the competitive duo of Scott Maxfield and Neil Stevens to stiffen the midfield at the expense of striker Lugsden.

Nonetheless, ex-Bradford City striker Darren Stephenson equalised with a 74th-minute, close-range low drive.

Buxton’s response was to bring on leading scorer Mark Reed, but it was his team-mate Black who came closest to snatching a winner with a screamer of a shot that threatened to emulate his earlier points-earning strikes at North Ferriby and Ashton. Unfortunately for Buxton’s play-off hopes, the piledriving shot passed narrowly wide of goal.

Buxton: Turner, Black, Roberts, Green, Istead, Thornhill (Reed, 78), Towey, Duncum (Maxfield, 63), Morris, Lugsden (Stevens, 63). Unused substitutes: Haggerty, Muller. Attendance: 234.