Best opening home crowd for 49 years enjoy Buxton victory over Curzon Ashton

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In front of Buxton FC's largest season-opener crowd for 49 years, hard work in difficult, hot conditions ensured all three Vanarama National League North points with a 1-0 win against Curzon Ashton, writes Tony Tomlinson.

The game's only goal for the 680 in attendance was a 71st minute penalty by Diego de Girolamo.

Fans were introduced to a host of newcomers making their home debuts, as Bucks busily moved forward at every opportunity and skipper Josh Granite marshalled the defence to ensure that goalkeeper Theo Richardson did not have a save to make.

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Manager Jamie Vermiglio was well satisfied with his first encounter in front of the Buxton faithful, saying: “It wasn't easy, Curzon defended well from the front.

Buxton celebrate their winner against Curzon Ashton.Buxton celebrate their winner against Curzon Ashton.
Buxton celebrate their winner against Curzon Ashton.

“But we put in a positive performance and edged the game, although we should have scored more than once.

“It was good to keep a clean sheet and the excellent crowd enjoyed the leg work put in by the lads.”

For over an hour the Bucks shaded both the possession and openings without being able to convert any of them.

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That scenario ended abruptly in the 71st minute when substitute de Girolamo, on the pitch for just five minutes, netted confidently from the penalty spot.

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The hard-working duo of Connor Kirby and Jack McKay set up a shooting opportunity for Diego and when his shot entered the six-yard box Curzon's Hayhurst fouled Mace Goodridge.

Less than a minute later the latter had a good chance to double the advantage but his 16-yard shot lacked power.

Thereafter the visitors worked hard for an equaliser, offering a goal threat only rarely seen previously and went close on two separate occasions.

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Firstly, Peers hit a post from eight yards and from the rebound substitute Craig Hobson, once a target for former manager Martin McIntosh, thundered his shot from even closer range against the underside of the bar and the well-placed assistant ruled that the ball had not crossed the goal-line.

At the Railway End the Bucks made another opening as full debutant Harry Bunn, at wing-back for the injured Declan Poole, fed Diego with a delightful pass, but keeper Renshaw made a good low save, effectively ending the day's action.

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This thrilling finale provided a most suitable climax to an encounter that earlier had been distinctly watchable but needing a goal.

The Bucks were soon into their attacking stride towards the Ashwood End with Warren Clarke providing a cutting edge on the left but it was Jack McKay who went closest early on, taking advantage of a passing error, yet sending his low, diagonal drive narrowly wide.

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Shortly before half-time Buxton mounted a spell of pressure with Clarke reaching the by-line, McKay's low shot forcing a corner followed by a goalmouth scramble, but the resolute visiting defence held firm. A similar pattern marked the start of the second half with Clarke firing high and wide at the end of an incisive, unchallenged central advance and Sean Newton finding the keeper with a scorching, 30-yard ground shot at the hour mark.

Both managers made substitutions in the attempt to break the deadlock, Buxton's first being Diego and his impact proved to be almost immediate.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​