FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round
Arnold Town 2, Buxton 2 aet (Buxton won 4-2 on penalties)
BUXTON’S young charges twice came from behind to set-up a dramatic victory on penalties in their FA Youth Cup tie at Arnold Town on Monday evening.
In a goalless first 45 minutes, both teams began cautiously.
The best chance of the half fell to Josh Bridge when some neat footwork took him past the Arnold defence, however the angle was against him and his shot hit the side netting.
The visitors made a brighter start to the second half, but it was Arnold who made the breakthrough.
A long ball forward was headed away by Ryan Paisley, but his clearance fell to the home striker and John Stanway was powerless to stop him from finding the back of the net.
Buxton kept their heads up, with Dan Gilbride going close to an equaliser. With Arnold being reduced to ten men, and the referee signalling an additional five minutes, the visitors went all out in search of a goal.
Their reward was a stunning goal by Bridge with virtually the last kick in injury time.
As he turned 25 yards from goal, Bridge volleyed an unstoppable shot past the Arnold keeper into the far corner.
The young Bucks found themselves trailing in the first period of extra time after being stunned by a superb solo effort by Arnold’s winger, who raced past the defence and curled the ball into the top far corner from an impossible angle.
John Ollerenshaw was thrown up front in the second period as Jacob Askey and Patrick Smith-Bramley both went close to an equaliser, while captain Cameron Higginbottom found space out wide to cause the home defence problems.
Askey got within an inch of turning a Higginbottom cross into the goal, before Smith-Bramley drifted in unnoticed at the back post to net the vital equaliser and send the cup tie to penalties.
Both teams converted their first two penalties, but after Ollerenshaw netted his it was the turn of Stanway to give Buxton the advantage with a brilliant save, guessing right to save low to the corner.
After Ryan Paisley had calmly smashed his spot-kick home, Stanway produced another impressive save to tip the ball around the post and send Buxton into the next round, where they will host the winner of tonight’s (Wednesday) tie between Matlock Town and St Andrews.