Battling Bucks go out fighting in cup

Alfreton Town v Buxton FC
Alfreton Town v Buxton FC

Derbyshire Senior Cup Third Round

Alfreton Town 3, Buxton FC 2

Buxton FC ultimately lost their grip on the Derbyshire Senior Cup on Tuesday evening, but for much of this excellent tie matched their Conference National opponents blow for blow.

The first 15 minutes saw spells of good passing without any end product from both sides. This changed when a Lee Morris shot was deflected wide. The wind-affected corner found Marc Roberts but his side-foot shot was blocked, resulting in a second corner and a second attempt by Roberts but he headed wide.

On 20 minutes, however, Michael Towey made the Bucks pressure tell. He weaved past two opponents on the edge of the box before sliding his shot past the advancing Barnes.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when Kieran Lugsden was fouled in the area and Morris smashed home the spot-kick.

Alfreton began to even up possession and exert pressure on the Bucks defence. Josh Law fired a 25-yard free-kick over the bar on 26 minutes. Buxton nearly made it three on 35 minutes when Towey’s left foot shot slid just wide of the post.

However the hosts scored next when Worsfold headed home from a right-wing corner in the 35th minute. Worsfold followed his goal by threatening again, beating two men before forcing John Stanway – in goal for the injured Deakin – into a smart save to block his shot.

At half-time Buxton manager Martin McIntosh made two changes – withdrawing Steve Istead and Sam Duncum and sending on Scott Maxfield and Matt Thornhill as their midfield replacements.

Possession continued to be evenly shared, but few clear chances were created until some untidy defending by Buxton resulted in the ball falling to Worsfold some 15 yards out and his fierce shot flashed past Stanway to bring the scores level.

The Bucks made their final change on 76 minutes when Jack Bradbury replaced Lugsden up front. From a Kevin Sandwith corner, the ball dropped to Thornhill and his 20-yard cross-shot fell wide with Barnes beaten.

Alfreton replied when a near-post snap shot from Tomlinson was pushed over by Stanway. Neil Stevens was the next man to go close when his cross-shot from the right edge of the box flew inches wide.

On 85 minutes Bradbury pressured centre-back Kempson and goalkeeper Barnes into a collision but his goal-bound shot was partly blocked by the floored Barnes’ right hand (outside his area but not seen by the assistant referee) and Kempson made up the ground to clear from near the goal-line.

The tie was settled on 89 minutes when Stanway initially blocked a shot in a crowded goalmouth but was unable to hold the ball which fell to Worsfold to tap home to complete his hat-trick and Alfreton’s comeback.

Although ultimately defeated on the night, Buxton gave an excellent account of themselves against opponents from two levels higher up the Pyramid who fielded a full-strength squad, and go into Saturday’s home clash with FC United in continued good form.

Buxton: Stanway, Keane, Sandwith, Istead, Haggerty, Roberts, Stevens, Towey, Morris, Lugsden, Duncum. Substitutes: Bradbury, Thornhill, Maxfield. Attendance: 119.

• A knee injury looks set to keep Buxton FC first-choice goalkeeper Ian Deakin on the sidelines for at least several weeks.

The custodian was absent from last night’s 3-2 Derbyshire Cup defeat at Alfreton Town, with youngster John Stanway deputising between the posts.

Chairman Tony Tomlinson said: “Martin McIntosh is looking for an experienced keeper to fill the gap and is hoping to have one in place in time for Saturday’s match against FC United.”

• The Annual General Meeting of Buxton Football Club will take place at the club on Thursday February 21, at 8pm. The meeting is open to shareholders only.