Evo-Stik Premier Division
Northwich Victoria 2
A LATE Mark Reed penalty salvaged a point for Buxton FC in Tuesday night’s league clash at the Silverlands.
The home side played the better football in the first half, passing the ball around well and closing down their opponents, whom many had tipped as promotion contenders at the start of the season.
But sitting on a 1-0 lead at half time, courtesy of a goal from Mark Reed, the Bucks conceded twice in a nine-minute spell after the break, and had to rely on the Bucks striker’s coolness from the spot to level the scores with five minutes remaining.
Buxton went close to opening the scoring in the first ten minutes of the match, with a flurry of corners and a goalmouth scramble.
Then a flowing attacking move saw Steve Ridley do well to pick out Chris Ovington amidst a crowd of players on the right, and the pacy winger’s low cross was dragged agonisingly wide by Reed in front of goal.
Injuries to Northwich captain Steve Woods and Adam Roberts, the latter following an accidental clash of heads with Reed, saw the early introduction of Raphale Evans and Michael Roddy, but the Bucks couldn’t capitalise as the visitors regrouped.
In fact, it was The Vics who went close to scoring on the half-hour mark when Tony Evans broke free of the Bucks back line, but goalkeeper Scott Hartley got down low to save, and Roddy’s follow-up was charged down by Grant Black.
Michael Towey was the architect of Buxton’s opening goal on 32 minutes. The midfielder held up the ball on the edge of the penalty area long enough for support to arrive in the form of Kieran Lugsden.
After trading passes, both players had shots blocked, but the ball eventually fell favourably in the area to Reed, giving keeper Ryan Jones no chance.
The hosts looked good for their half-time lead but, as witnessed against Stocksbridge six days earlier, a different-looking Buxton team came out for the second half, as Northwich sought to get back on level terms.
This they did on the hour mark from the penalty spot, after Andrew Fowler had his ankle clipped by Black in the box. While there seemed to be only minimal contact, the referee was well-placed to award the spot kick, which the striker then buried in the back of the net, sending Hartley the wrong way.
Eight minutes later, things went from bad to worse when The Vics took the lead. Goalscorer Fowler this time turned provider with a low bullet cross from the byline which eluded everyone except David Fitzpatrick at the far post, who finished with aplomb.
The Bucks now looked devoid of ideas, and it was difficult to see where an equaliser would come from, but with five minutes remaining the referee surprised everyone by awarding a second penalty, this time to the home side, for an apparent infringement in the area.
In a carbon copy of Northwich’s goal, Reed sent keeper Jones the wrong way to draw the scores level.
The visitors almost stole the points at the death when Hartley uncharacteristically spilled a set-piece ball into the box and Dominic Collins emphatically skied the follow-up.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Agus, Anderson (c), Maxfield, Ovington (Sanasy, 85), Towey, Reed, Lugsden, Ridley. Subs not used: Askey, Pembleton, Liversidge, Stevens. Attendance: 202.