Jubilant Buxton celebrated only their third win of the East Midlands Men’s Hockey League, First Division season after a seven-goal thriller against Oundle.
Sitting next to bottom in the table after only two wins from 12 league matches, Buxton went into the match desperate for points in their fight to avoid relegation.
But when they played mid-table Oundle in a previous encounter, they suffered only a narrow defeat and so they were convinced they could beat them this time round. Their confidence was not misplaced as they constructed a 4-3 victory, despite falling behind early on.
Buxton played some terrific hockey, which revolved around a strong central midfield, manned by Dom Pathe and man-of-the-match Tom Griffin. Pushing their opponents back, they equalised when Marc Thompson played a fine ball into the path of Max Bartholomew whose first touch rolled the ball neatly into the top of the D before he fired a quick reverse-stick rocket-shot into the net.
Thye goal enabled the home side to take control of the game in the period leading up to half-time. Oundle did win several short corners, but luck was not on their side, and when Buxton forced one of their own, Thompson smashed the ball on to the backboard of the visitors’ goal to end his short-corner goal drought and give his side a 2-1 lead at the interval.
Oundle opened the second half with a superb equaliser. In an inspired piece of play, their winger ran half the length of the pitch, bursting past several home players before drilling the ball square across goal for a waiting forward, who slapped it home.
But feeling sure this was only a temporary setback, Buxton continued to press, and they came within a whisker of restoring the lead in a slick move involving three players, Dan Bedworth, Jim Roe and then Jamie Wilton, who squared the ball from the byline, only for it to be missed by James Whibberley-Cross as he tried to deflect it into the net. Buxton would not be denied, though, and they went 3-2 up when a flick by Joe Uprichard flew into the top corner before Wilton shot between the ‘keeper’s legs to finish a strong attack, led by Louis Forshaw-Perring. Oundle bagged a consolation goal with the final touch of the game.