Buxton produced a season’s-best performance last Saturday to earn a deserved victory over championship-chasing FC United of Manchester.
Playing in front of their biggest crowd since the NPL league Cup Final at Maine Road 23 years ago, the Bucks extended their remarkable sequence of consecutive away wins against United to five.
Buxton fielded a team of heroes with several players making outstanding contributions, none more so than the classy Matt Thornhill whose well-struck corner-kick created the visitors’ equaliser in the tenth minute and whose composed finish on the hour mark won the game. .
After an unconvincing opening in which the Bucks conceded a third-minute goal from Tom Greaves, the visiting defence steadily grew in confidence and indeed it was centre-back Sam Brooks, scoring his first goal for the club, who made it 1-1 with a powerful header from ten yards.
Full-backs Stuart Ludlam and Jamie Green hardly put a foot wrong, while centre-back Ash Palmer far outshone his FC United counterparts.
Andy Warrington was another major factor in the success, kicking long consistently and twice punching high balls away from the goalmouth late in the game.
Once the Bucks had levelled the score, they looked the better side throughout most of the rest of proceedings. They could have taken the lead as early as the 27th minute when Neil Stevens headed Warrington’s lengthy clearance into the path of Thornhill. Home keeper Carnell just managed to divert his low, 18-yard, goal-bound drive for a corner.
Green and King were regularly combining well on the left and when they forced a foul, Thornhill’s inswinging free-kick found Brooks, whose first-time header was tipped onto the roof of the net by Carnell.
At the other end Warrington half-cleared a dangerous corner-kick, and from the follow-up shot the veteran keeper saved with his feet.
Immediately after the interval, he had to act similarly when Norton played in Greaves eight yards out.
However, Buxton bounced back and from Green’s inswinging free-kick from the right, Ludlam headed narrowly over the bar before the deciding goal was fashioned.
In typical style Thornhill ghosted onto a superb Stevens pass and calmly made no mistake from nine yards out.
The three immediate, simultaneous home substitutions showed FC United’s anxiety but did produce rather more attacks, urged forward by the massed ranks of their supporters behind the Buxton goal.
When a free-kick was only half-cleared, Neville’s low cross-shot passed wide of the target and Brooks was forced to head a long throw over his own bar.
Warrington twice made decisive interventions to thwart lofted crosses, but the visitor’s goal was not seriously threatened as Buxton held out.
Bucks: Warrington, Ludlam, Green, Istead (Davies, 80), Palmer, Brooks, Stevens, Niven, Morris (Reed, 86), Thornhill, King. Subs not used: Handley, Ryan, Stanway.