Evo-Stik Premier Division
Stocksbridge Park Steels 1
Buxton FC 4
BUXTON’S recent goal drought of one goal in four games was ended in fine style in Yorkshire on Tuesday evening as a four-goal romp put their promotion push back on track.
The visitors were the hungrier and superior outfit virtually throughout but were grateful for a controversial penalty award after just 11 minutes.
An under-hit back pass gave Mark Reed all the encouragement he needed to accelerate but his challenge was ended by keeper Scott and referee Lawrence ordered a penalty kick. The striker fired home confidently to give his side a lead, at the same time equalling Herbert Daniels’ 79-year-old all-time Buxton record of 189 goals.
The Bucks had already made a purposeful start on a well-grassed, if dry, pitch and by quarter-time had doubled their advantage. Michael Towey outjumped his marker to make contact with a Grant Black free-kick from the halfway line and his powerful header passed over Scott into the roof of the net for the midfielder’s 17th goal of the season.
Apart from an early Muldoon snap shot wide of the target, little was seen of Steels as an attacking force until a right-wing move set up midfielder Dillon but his shot was too weak to trouble Scott Hartley. For the most part, Buxton’s diamond-shaped midfield was dominant with Neil Stevens prominent as the team’s passing game flourished, while Gregg Anderson was outstanding at the back.
After 32 minutes, Kieran Lugsden had a good chance to put the visitors out of reach as Joe Maguire’s diagonal pass found him in the clear close to goal but he lacked control and Scott saved at the expense of a corner. As the interval approached, Stocksbridge at last applied some pressure but Steve Ridley made a vital clearance, then popped up at the other end to apply the finishing touch to a loose ball close to goal to give his team a satisfying 3-0 lead.
Buxton’s start to the second half was less than impressive, however, with Callery wasting an opportunity, Black having to clear from the line and Davies planting a header from a corner against the crossbar but it was a puzzling decision by referee Lawrence that allowed Steels back into the game on the hour. A penalty kick for an undetectable offence was converted by Dillon, yet within two minutes, the Bucks had restored their three-goal superiority.
The already grounded Maguire nonetheless managed to prod past Scott as Ridley’s left-flank corner reached him. Even now the action was not fully spent as chances were made at both ends.
A Reed chip over Scott went narrowly wide, then he again missed the target with a header from a fine Black cross and in between Steels’ substitute Ward took down a long ball superbly and drove powerfully towards goal only to see Hartley make his one save of the evening.
Buxton substitute Chris Ovington made an instant impact on his arrival and came close to scoring as Scott was troubled to save his volley from another excellent Black cross.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Anderson, Agus, Wilde, Stevens, Maguire (Liversidge 85), Towey (Askey 74), Ridley, Reed, Lugsden (Ovington 80). Unused sub: Kirkland. Attendance: 182.