Evo-Stik Premier Division
Matlock Town 1, Buxton FC 3
ANOTHER pulsating victory against a leading club, this time on Tuesday evening, has considerably reinvigorated Buxton’s promotion push.
As against FC Halifax Town, it was achieved by a resolute response to adversity and was undeniably fully deserved.
The Bucks had the initial disappointment of being without centre back Matt Heywood, and after dominating the opening half to establish a one-goal lead conceded two penalties within seven minutes, only to reply positively with two more goals to seal what was ultimately a comfortable victory against their old enemy.
The game opened quietly, but by the ten-minute mark Buxton were shading possession and by quarter-time were dominant with Matlock reduced to long balls forward.
Ridley and Agus both went quite close with free kicks before the first goal arrived in the 29th minute.
Reed robbed Featherstone wide on the right before playing Lugsden in with an exquisite pass. Still with much to do, the striker turned well onto his left foot and fired into the roof of Sallitt’s net.
The visitors continued to press; Reed was deemed marginally offside when clear away, Ridley had a goal-bound shot blocked and Josh Wilde weaved his way through only to shoot over from 20 yards.
Matlock’s reply came immediately after the interval. Just three minutes in a through ball put 43-goal marksman Hannah in a one-on-one situation with Black, who at point-blank range blocked the shot but was harshly deemed to have handled. From the spot, Hannah deceived keeper Scott Hartley with a fierce drive down the middle into the roof of the net.
After purposeful attacks at each end, a second penalty award was made only seven minutes after the first but this was entirely legitimate as Ridley fouled former Buxton player Lee Morris.
Words were exchanged between Hannah and Hartley before the kick was taken and perhaps the keeper won the psychological battle as he beat away the effort struck low to his left.
The game had suddenly become a thriller and further controversy was added four minutes later as, from a corner kick, Anderson’s shot was blocked by a defender’s arm, but referee Ward was unmoved.
However, just past the hour Buxton regained the lead. A delicately-weighted Stevens through ball saw the advancing Sollitt, retreating defender Lukic and the on-rushing Lugsden converging. Goalkeeper and defender collided and Lugsden rolled the ball into the gaping goal for his 18th goal of the season.
Matlock fans cursed defensive errors for both of Buxton’s goals, but they had been caused by the selfless, ceaseless running of a pair of strikers ever-prepared to chase seemingly lost causes.
The visitors wrapped up the points in the 67th minute with Michael Towey’s long leg diverting a left flank cross into the goal.
Matlock attempted a response, but with skipper Anderson prominent, the visiting defence held firm and by the end Buxton looked the more likely scorers.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Anderson, Agus, Wilde, Stevens, Towey, Maxfield, Ridley, Reed (Benger, 86), Lugsden (Johnson, 80). Unused subs: Askey, Liversidge, Ovington. Att: 654.