Evo-Stik Premier Division
North Ferriby United 1, Buxton FC 1
GRANT Black’s thunderous 28-yard strike with virtually the last kick of the game earned Buxton a well-deserved point on last Saturday’s opening day.
A Marc Roberts long throw was only half cleared and the right-back hammered the ball under the angle of post and bar with goalkeeper Nicklin a mere spectator.
After five seasons at the Silverlands and over 200 appearances, this was only the defender’s second goal, but it capped a dominant second-half display by the Bucks who seized the initiative after the Villagers had shaded the first half and led through a header by former Buxton captain Gregg Anderson on the half-hour.
There was an element of controversy about this goal as it resulted from a free-kick awarded by the referee after over-ruling an assistant who had flagged in Buxton’s favour.
Five minutes later there was more as the visitors were denied an equaliser. Kieran Lugsden’s ground shot was hacked away from the goal-line, with the assistant unsighted but with well-placed observers claiming that the ball had indeed crossed the line.
That was the Bucks’ best chance of a first 45 minutes in which neither goalkeeper had been unduly troubled.
The opening quarter was evenly contested with debutant Steve Collis rarely figuring before Ferriby’s trio of strikers began to construct a couple of more promising moves.
Buxton’s response to the Anderson goal was equally promising and the scorer was forced to make a vital tackle as Lugsden was about to shoot.
The home side hit back with Collis making the best save of the match, tipping Fry’s header over the bar as a corner-kick reached him beyond the far post.
Manager Martin McIntosh doubled his team’s strike force with the introduction of Mark Reed, back from holiday, at the interval and from then on the visitors were increasingly dominant, especially after the introduction of attacking substitutes Kyle Nix and Jordan Thewlis, both on their debut.
By contrast, home manager Billy Heath withdrew striker Jack Muldoon in favour of ex-Silverlands midfielder Steve Ridley as the Bucks further tightened the screw.
Roberts headed a Sandwith corner over the angle then Haggerty headed on a left-flank cross but Reed’s effort was blocked.
The substitute was providing his usual aerial challenge but the officials provided little protection for him as defenders responded physically.
Nonetheless Buxton continued to make openings. Steve Istead bested Peat on the right and Michael Towey narrowly failed to make contact with the driven head-high cross, but Lugsden should have done better when, with five minutes of the 90 remaining, a cross from the left presented him with a one-on-one beyond the far post but he lacked composure and dragged his eight-yard shot wide.
As the four minutes of added time was played, this seemed a crucial missed opportunity but that feeling was banished by Black’s magnificent strike.
Buxton: Collis, Black, Roberts, Haggerty, Sandwith, Hall (Reed, 45), Towey, Istead, Maxfield (Nix, 60), Duncum (Thewlis, 70). Substitutes not used: Keane, Turner. Attendance: 163.