FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Stamford 0, Buxton 2
AN EXCELLENT all-round performance earned Buxton a place in Round One of the FA Trophy for the first time in 23 years, as well as maintaining their 100 per cent record at Stamford.
The victory, built on resolute error-free goalkeeping and defending, added to energetic, penetrative attacking, was every bit as convincing as the FA Cup success on the same ground seven weeks ago.
What’s more, the success arose out of adverse circumstances. Originally lacking Sam Duncum, Kallum Keane and Kyle Nix, Buxton soon lost key defender Marc Roberts to a deep cut sustained in an accidental clash of heads.
However, Charlie Johnson, in his first appearance since April, earned considerable credit for his sound positional play and constructive use of the ball from left back as Kevin Sandwith moved inside to partner David Haggerty who had one of his best games so far.
On the day the ever-reliable Mark Reed proved to be Buxton’s principal striker with most of the best chances falling to him.
In the very first minute, as his team started purposefully, he planted a header over the bar as he met a Grant Black lofted cross.
Time and again the right-back advanced up the right to create openings but it was a Sandwith free-kick that presented Reed with his second attempt on goal just after the Roberts injury, an instinctive volley that fizzed into the side-netting.
In between a Neil Stevens header rebounded from the bar and Kieran Lugsden’s follow-up shot drew the save of the tie out of goalkeeper Finlay.
The Bucks continued to hold the initiative and Reed netted a brace inside three minutes just prior to the interval, with in-form Michael Towey playing a part in both.
Firstly his accurate diagonal pass set-up Black for another lofted cross and Reed’s downward header beyond the far post was so firm that it bounced high over Finlay and into the side netting.
Then, before the hosts could recover, Towey was in the action again, playing the ball back to the lurking Reed, who expertly placed a low 18-yard shot beyond the keeper’s reach.
Stamford had rarely threatened in the opening half but after the Bucks began the second period at a good tempo, home striker Miller had a low shot well saved by Ian Deakin.
There followed a spell of supreme Buxton passing soccer with the Daniels struggling to cope and all that was lacking was a decisive third goal.
However, after the hour mark, the Bucks pretty much settled for the lead they had established with Black largely concentrating on his defensive duties as the home side gambled on a four-man front line which produced little to trouble the visitors.
Martin McIntosh introduced as substitutes Jack Bradbury, impressive at training last week, and debutant under-19 product John Ballington. Both did well as the visitors cruised to a remarkable sixth cup-tie victory of the season.
Buxton: Deakin, Black, Haggerty, Roberts (Johnson, 20), Sandwith, Stevens, Istead, Towey, Maxfield (Ballington, 87), Reed, Lugsden (Bradbury, 74). Unused sub: Morris. Attendance: 239.