FA Carlsberg Trophy First Round Proper
Grimsby Town 0, Buxton FC 0
BATTLING Buxton FC upset the form book by securing a deserved replay in the FA Trophy First Round Proper on Saturday.
A resilient and dogged defensive display was the basis for a hard-working, gutsy team performance at high-flying Grimsby Town.
And while this goalless stalemate was anything but a classic, it will live long in the memory of the small band of travelling Buxton fans who made the trip across to Blundell Park.
Marc Roberts’ dangerous long throws were the Bucks’ main attacking outlet of a scrappy encounter.
Michael Towey headed a Kevin Sandwith free-kick wide inside six minutes, but the Mariners slowly got a foothold in the game, enjoying plenty of possession with Craig Disley ever-present, but lacking the decisive final ball.
Scott Neilson and Andi Thanoj went close for Town, while the dangerous Andy Cook headed straight at Ian Deakin from a good position on 17 minutes.
A similar opportunity at the other end produced an identical result on 20 minutes as Mark Reed headed straight at Greg Fleming after Lee Morris put a Roberts throw back across goal.
Cook demonstrated his strength on the ball as he burst into the Buxton box as the visitors struggled to clear, but Deakin cleaned up the striker’s low shot which lacked power.
Kieran Lugsden skied a shot from the edge of the box from another Roberts throw, while Deakin claimed from a looping Thomas cross into the box.
Cook rattled the woodwork for the Mariners on 28 minutes with a thunderous shot after being played in by Neilson, and minutes later he saw a shot deflected wide after turning in the box.
On the stroke of half-time, Michael Towey dragged a shot wide into the stands after a quick break by Reed.
The Mariners upped the tempo immediately after the restart, with Cook going close with a glancing header and the unmarked Neilson stooping low in the box to head a Marcus Marshall cross into the grateful hands of Deakin.
Another searching Roberts throw-in was the catalyst for two good blocks in quick succession by Fleming in a crowded penalty area.
Buxton produced the best play of the match on the hour mark as a cross-field move involving Reed, Istead and Lugsden resulted in a corner but deserved more. Sandwith’s excellent delivery forced Fleming to punch clear.
Substitutions by both sides prompted changes in formation, further disrupting the flow of play. Grimsby switched to a more recognisable 4-4-2 while the visitors, following the introduction of Sam Duncum, David Haggerty and Neil Stevens, the latter for an injured Reed, changed from 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 system, with Lugsden the sole frontman.
Grimsby continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as crosses from Marshall and Thomas failed to find their man.
On 66 minutes, Stevens marched through the centre of the field before spraying the ball wide for Duncum, who failed to hit the target.
As the game went on, Buxton looked the mostly likely to score and rattled the woodwork on 73 minutes as Towey headed another superb corner delivery from Sandwith onto the post.
Sam Hatton’s low free-kick from 25 yards forced a good save by Deakin down to his right, while Grimsby substitute Michael Rankine, on his debut, failed to trouble the Buxton custodian with a couple of low shots.
At the death, a Grant Black cross was headed behind with Lugsden lurking.
Thomas’ volley high and wide of the target deep into stoppage time summed up Grimsby’s day, as did the boos from the home crowd at the final whistle.
But these were drowned out by the vociferous cheers of the travelling Buxton contingent who celebrated a famous draw and a replay at the Silverlands on Wednesday evening.
Buxton: Deakin, Black, Sandwith, Istead, Keane, Roberts, Lugsden, Towey, Reed, Morris, Maxfield. Substitutes: Duncum, Haggerty, Thornhill, Bradbury, Stevens.
Grimsby: Fleming, Hatton, Thomas, Niven, Pearson, Miller, Disley, Cook, Thanoj, Neilson, Marshall. Substitutes: Pearson, Wood, Southwell, Hannah, Rankine
Attendance: 1,369 (94 away)