Worksop Parramore 1, Buxton FC 1
A NEW-LOOK Buxton side took to the field for the first time on Saturday, and a small band of followers who watched the entertaining encounter cannot fail to have been impressed by their side’s controlled passing game.
Half-chances galore were created but not converted as shots missed their target or were saved by ex-Worksop Town goalkeeper Stephen Hernandez, yet there was ample cause for encouragement here.
Manager Martin McIntosh’s new signings were all in action, apart from wedding guest David Haggerty, and made a good impression.
Marc Roberts took up where he left off at the end of last spring’s loan spell and the other ex-Worksop player, left-winger Sam Duncum, looked well capable of unlocking defences even though he was on this occasion marked by an accomplished right-back in ex-Boston United’s Lee Thompson.
Jordan Hall, returning after some four years with Alfreton Town, was as mobile as of old and looked an improved player for his experience of Conference soccer, while defender Kevin Sandwith was a composed figure at centre-back and later a prompter of attacks from left-back.
All of last season’s returning players looked fit and in good form, with Grant Black outstanding as he attacked down the right flank.
Four trialists showed their paces, appearing from the substitutes’ bench in the second half, but more will need to be seen of them, while Charlie Johnson again showed promise in a late cameo outing.
The home side, packed with players experienced at NPL level, also adopted a passing game and certainly looked to be a strong NCEL outfit in the making, proving difficult to overcome.
Indeed, after a number of Buxton near-misses, Parramore took a 32nd-minute lead. After an effort rebounded from the bar, striker Lee Whittington, in the colours of Matlock and Frickley last season, drove low into goal.
The second half pattern was little changed as the Bucks enjoyed a clear majority of possession but had to wait until the 73rd minute for an equaliser.
Black had a deep cross fisted away, Duncum’s diagonal ball into the penalty area evaded all to pass narrowly wide of the far post, then Hall saw his fierce goal-bound volley blocked.
Buxton levelled in familiar fashion. Sandwith was the new taker of a corner-kick, but it was Roberts who powered home a header from the penalty spot. Parramore mounted a late flurry and the teenaged Tom Turner had to make a fine, low save.
Buxton: Turner, Black, Roberts, Sandwith, Maxfield, Hall, Towey, Istead, Duncum, Lugsden, Reed. Substitutes: Thompson, Thomas, Wiley, Dixon, C Johnson.