Skelmersdale 2-3 Buxton - match report

Liam Hardy.
Liam Hardy.

Buxton put in a terrific away-day performance to come away with victory at league leaders Skelmersdale.

Unlike the Nantwich game, the Bucks had first advantage of the conditions and the high intensity of their play in the first period allowed them to come from behind to establish a half-time lead.

At no stage could Skelmersdale match this tempo so the visitors claimed the points to keep them in the hunt for honours.

If the Stamford match had been the match of two goalkeepers, Saturday’s was perhaps one of the centre-back pairings.

Buxton’s Ash Palmer and Greg Young were outstanding in both attack and defence.

Their first half headed goals reversed their team’s fortunes while their counterparts were unable to contain the duo’s aerial threat at set-pieces.

The game was also special for Buxton attacking midfielder Ash Burbeary on his second debut for the club.

He went close to scoring himself and provided assists for two of the goals, just days after joining up from Belper.

The Bucks made an impressive opening in establishing territorial advantage but it was the Merseysiders who threatened first with Mitchley’s shot clearing the bar before McCarthy gave his team a 13th-minute lead with a shot across Arron Jameson into the far side of the net.

Buxton’s response was immediate with Burbeary’s 30-yard drive going close.

The equaliser was not long delayed however.

Up for a set-piece that was half-cleared, Ash Palmer headed home intelligently from Craig King’s diagonal cross.

The Bucks continued to press with Shaun Tuton shooting wide, following a one-two with Derek Niven, before the hosts somehow survived an almighty goal-line scramble.

At the other end, the dangerous McCarthy fired a low shot across the face of goal but was not as threatening after being shown a yellow for a dive.

Four minutes later it was Greg Young’s turn to head home, this time at the near-post from a Burbeary corner.

Soon after, Byrne almost forced an own goal with a fiercely struck cross but the Bucks may have gone in at the interval somewhat disappointed not to have doubled their one-goal advantage.

That however was soon remedied, courtesy of an error by home goalkeeper Paxton which allowed Burbeary to plant a short cross accurately onto the head of Liam Hardy to make it 3-1.

Such comfort lasted only two minutes as Byrne’s foul on substitute Tollitt allowed Mitchley to score from the penalty spot.

This setback provoked the visitors into more convincing attacks as Young went close with a header before Burbeary did likewise with contrasting shots at goal.

Late into the game Jameson was forced into a fine couple of saves as he atoned for his errors during the previous week’s defeat.

The Bucks are now nine points behind Skelmersdale, but crucially have four games in hand on their promotion rivals.

Buxton boss Martin McIntosh: “It was an important game because if they had beaten us then there would have been a lot of points to make up.

“We asked the players to be positive and they certainly were.

“The first goal was disappointing because we had so much of the play and that was their first meaningful attack.

“It was a kick in the teeth.

“I think at times that we were so on top, it was untrue.

“They struggled and we could definitely have had more goals.”

Bucks: Jameson, Byrne, Green, Niven, Palmer, Young, Burbeary, Wilson, Tuton, Hardy (Reed), King.

Unused Subs: Stacey, Doyle, Taylor, Ryan.

Att: 234.