A year of two halves for Buxton as they turned into title contenders

Action from the clash at Ilkeston in October.
Action from the clash at Ilkeston in October.

It’s fair to say that 2016 began badly for Buxton FC but just kept getting better and better.

After a January set of fixtures that saw them in the midst of an injury crisis, Martin McIntosh’s squad lost five of their six games that month, ending it with a 2-2 draw at home to Sutton Coldfield.

February wasn’t all that much better as defeat at Darlington and then a hammering at Frickley were finally followed up with a win, 3-0 at home to Grantham, although the rest of the month saw the Bucks fail to get another victory.

Three wins during March lifted any lingering fears they could be dragged further down the table, the highlight being a 3-0 success over local rivals Matlock Town, Nicky Walker scoring twice.

A tough season then came to a close in April as Buxton claimed three more wins to end the season in tenth, although they closed the campaign out in disappointing style with a 5-0 battering at Workington.

After a summer that saw McIntosh make relatively few squad changes compared to other sides in the Evo-Stik Premier Division, the Bucks commenced their season in August with a 2-0 win over Halesowen Town and have rarely looked back since.

A defeat at Coalville Town was the only blip as the Bucks won five of their first six league matches.

A disappointing FA Cup exit at Division One South side Witton Albion opened September before two draws and a defeat at Ilkeston saw the league form stutter a little too, although wins over Ashton and Corby steadied the ship.

October began well, a 2-1 win at Hednesford followed by a 3-0 win over then-leaders Whitby Town before a 1-0 loss at Warrington.

The fixture at Frickley Athletic saw Buxton recover from 4-1 down at half-time to draw 4-4, two goals coming in the last five minutes, with a draw against Spennymoor and an FA Trophy win against local rivals Glossop seeing the month out.

November was a mixed month in league and cup, with two league defeats and an FA Trophy exit to King’s Lynn Town equalled by three league wins and a 6-2 hammering of Radcliffe Borough in the League Cup.

December proved perhaps the least successful month of the season so far, although at the end of it McIntosh’s side remained firmly in title contention.

Matlock got their revenge on Boxing Day with a 3-1 win while two successive 0-0 draws, a 1-1 draw with Sutton Coldfield and a Derbyshire Senior Cup win at Clay Cross Town bore the only fruits for Buxton’s labour as they prepare to continue their charge in 2018.