Buxton FC 0, Whitby Town 1...................
BUXTON Football Club’s rollercoaster season ended in defeat as visitors Whitby Town completed a ‘Derbyshire double’ to secure their own Evo-Stik Premier Division survival.
The Seasiders, who just two days earlier had put four past Matlock Town on their own turf, ran out narrow 1-0 winners at the Silverlands on Saturday courtesy of Tom Portas’ 11th-minute strike.
The game, having all the hallmarks of a typical end-of-season encounter, was played out on a slippery Silverlands pitch – and failed to live up to the drama of their previous meeting in December at Whitby, when the Bucks were victorious by the odd goal in seven.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 11th minute, the unmarked Portas picking up on a loose ball in the penalty area before shooting on the turn across goalkeeper Scott Hartley and into the back of the net.
The Bucks almost hit back immediately, Peter Davidson releasing Kieran Lugsden but the midfielder dwelt too long on the ball and custodian Nick Liversidge went to ground well to thwart him.
Captain Steve Istead then did well to block a Nathan Mulligan shot from close range, and it was Mulligan again who headed a David McTiernan cross wide.
At the other end, a brave tackle by Mark Robinson denied the lively Lugsden, who minutes later found the palms of Liversidge with a thundering strike from the edge of the area.
Hartley had to be alert to see a 30-yard Mulligan free-kick wide, and minutes later he palmed a shot from the same player away for a corner.
The set-piece was then cleared off the line by Grant Black after being back-headed by Marc Roberts.
There was more goalmouth action after the break with Alex White close to heading into his own net, while a Black corner-kick found the head of Roberts only to see his effort cleared off the line by Ibrahim Hassan.
Buxton continued to press for an equaliser, even as the game entered six minutes of injury time, with Reed unlucky not to make contact with a Neil Stevens cross and later volleying wide in flamboyant style.
Whitby substitute Andy Appleby saw red late on for a challenge on Adrian Hawes - the referee indicating use of an elbow - which resulted in the defender leaving the field with a head injury.
The final whistle brought jubilant scenes from Whitby’s travelling support as their Premier Division future was secured, and rapturous applause from the Silverlands faithful for their side, which had completed their own great escape two games previously.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Istead (c), Hawes (Payne, 90+6), Roberts, Lugsden, Stevens, Reed, Barraclough (Agus, 76), Davidson (Towey, 59). Substitutes not used: Maxfield, Turner. Attendance: 375.