Buxton 1-1 Matlock - match report
The first of two A6 derbies in the space of 13 days ended all square but there was plenty of drama.
Mark Reed climbed off the bench to grab what he thought was the match-winning goal, only for the Gladiators to equalise late on through Martin Foster’s penalty.
That late leveller came in a game scattered with bookings, talking points and a disallowed goal.
Steve Istead set the fiery tone of the game within 30 seconds, when he lunged into a foul close to the byline.
The first opportunity though fell to the visitors when Shaun Tuton’s effort cannoned off the bar.
The ball instantly came to former Bucks loanee Jack Broadhead but his effort from a few yards out was spectacularly saved by Andy Warrington.
That was to prove the first of several chances for Matlock in the first half.
Further efforts saw Tuton blast high and wide after the ball fell kindly to him inside the area before Warrington again pulled off a top save to deny Lavell White’s diving header.
Buxton’s defence was holding firm and was certainly bolstered by the return of Ash Palmer after his ban at Barwell.
The Bucks’ best opportunities in the opening 45 minutes both fell to Lee Morris, after Istead twice picked him out with two well-picked passes.
However the top scorer spurned both efforts, before Matt Thornhill just missed connection with Neil Stevens’ drive towards goal before the interval.
Matlock’s Liam Needham fired in the first effort of the second period, but his daisycutter flashed past a post.
The hosts then went close after an almighty scramble inside the area was cleared desperately by Matlock’s defence.
With the clock ticking down, Oscar Radford missed the best chance of the night when he skied an effort over with the goal at his mercy after a quick counter-attack down the Buxton left flank.
The introduction of Mark Reed and Kieran Lugsden awoke the Bucks, with Reed in particular providing a bright spark.
He won a free-kick on halfway after Foster put in a cynical challenge from behind, just inside the Buxton half.
From the set-piece, Matt Thornhill waltzed into the area and won a corner, from which Lugsden thought he had opened the scoring.
The forgotten man of the Silverlands headed into the net but the referee disallowed the goal to the bewilderment of all inside the ground.
Reed was proving a handful for the visitors and he duly popped up with a leaping header from a left-sided corner just six minutes from time.
That sparked wild scenes amongst the majority of the 531 punters that took advantage of the club’s offer of free entry for the match.
Then, just when Martin McIntosh’s side thought they were destined for three points, Palmer gave away a penalty after the referee deemed he had fouled Broadhead.
The decision looked soft but that didn’t matter to the visitors, as Foster blasted the penalty home to seal a share of the points for Mark Atkins’ side and maintain the seven-point gap between the two sides.
Buxton will get their chance for revenge when the reverse fixture takes place on Easter Monday.
Bucks: Warrington, Ludlam, Palmer, Brooks, Green, Davies (Lugsden 59), Istead, Stevens (Niven 75), King, Thornhill, Morris (Reed 59).
Subs not used: Ryan, Handley.