Evo-Stik Premier Division: Hednesford Town 3, Buxton FC 2
BATTLING Buxton were unlucky to miss out on a share of the spoils from their visit to Hednesford Town on Tuesday night, in a pulsating game with some superb individual performances.
The opening minutes suggested a difficult night for the Bucks, who had adopted a 4-5-1 line-up with Kieran Lugsden the lone striker and Scott Maxfield and Steve Ridley the holding midfield players.
Home striker Quinn was twice left unmarked 20 yards out. Scott Hartley saved his first shot but had no chance with the second as the Pitmen took a sixth-minute lead.
Town’s mobile striker posed a constant threat as their colleagues’ aim was clearly to feed them early, while Buxton generally sought to pass their way through a tall defence and produced several neat moves which came to nothing early on.
However, midway through the half Buxton became more penetrative in attack and a Grant Black-Matt Parry combination set-up Lugsden for a 19-yard shot that passed narrowly wide.
Two minutes later, the striker did find the net. A dangerous Ridley corner wasn’t cleared and a couple of passes gave Lugsden a clear chance for a confident finish from ten yards on 27 minutes.
Hednesford mounted a brief spell of pressure in reply and Hartley saved well from Quinn close in, but the sides went in even at the interval, when Buxton had to replace the injured Sam Liversidge with debutant Karl Colley, who provided some much-needed height at the back.
If the first half had been interesting, the action after the interval was positively pulsating with the Bucks going so very close to earning a deserved draw.
A fine pass by Clements gave striker Danks an opening, but Hartley excelled to keep out the curling shot, and the visitors benefited by taking the lead 12 minutes in.
Once again it was the in-form Lugsden who outmanoeuvred both centre-backs to score low into the corner from 15 yards, and so well were Buxton playing at this stage that a third goal seemed distinctly possible.
Parry’s imaginative through ball was just too long and a curling Maxfield cross narrowly evaded Martin Pembleton, then the diminutive midfielder’s powerful drive brought the best out of keeper Crane.
The Pitmen introduced two more six-foot-plus strikers and the move paid off almost immediately after 73 minutes with a penalty award, dispatched confidently by Clements.
Colley seemed to make a clean tackle on substitute Wellecomme but referee Thornhill saw it as a foul.
Hednesford now pressed hard but Buxton’s workrate was superb and their defending resolute in front of the inspired Hartley.
He made a flying catch from a Robinson header and then, in quick succession, produced three more good saves.
The visitors countered occasionally and looked to have secured a point, but in the 92nd minute, for the second consecutive match, giant ex-Crewe centre-back Dunkley got his head to a long-range free-kick to send Buxton home undeservedly pointless.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Liversidge (Colley, 45), Agus, Wilde, Pembleton, Towey, Maxfield, Ridley, Parry, Lugsden.