Buxton were beaten 2-1 by Skelmersdale as their injury nightmare left them without half a team of front-line players
The extent of the problem was shown by Derek Niven, himself out through injury for the past three months, being given a start while there was a starting debut and another as substitute for the Bembo-Leta twins, Fabrice and DJ.
Nonetheless the Bucks were the width of a crossbar from earning a point after having the better of the second half and forcing their hosts into some blatant time-wasting at the end.
At the outset what the Bucks needed was time for their newly-assembled 11 to settle, but Skem didn’t allow it and scored after just five minutes.
A long-struck free -kick was headed on by Almond into the path of co-striker Kinsella who netted confidently past the unprotected Phil Barnes.
Skem are known for their expansive, accurate passing game and it was amply in evidence in the first half as United threatened to double their advantage.
That came to pass in the 36th minute when a home attack on the right seemed to have faltered, but the loose ball fell to midfielder Tom Ince 20 yards out and his drive curled away from Barnes into a corner of the net.
Buxton made a determined response, first forcing a corner-kick then having Bradley Barraclough fire a fierce cross that eluded any colleague.
Just prior to the interval, however, the visitors halved the deficit in a way somewhat similar to Skem’s second goal.
An attack seemed to be going nowhere until Niall Doran seized on a loose ball and drove it low into goal from 20 yards.
The Bucks took the initiative after half-time and went close almost immediately. Doran fed Jamie Green on the left, but keeper Fearon saved with his legs the narrow-angled drive.
Pressing on, Alastair Taylor went on a run into the penalty area but fatally delayed his shot before Green was out of luck again, curling his 20-yard free-kick against the crossbar.
DJ Bembo-Leta joined the fray, showing some promising touches in attack, but it was Alex Wiles who next went close, firing wide from 20 yards.
Skem eventually found some second-half attacking intent with Almond firing his shot against Barnes’ legs, but Buxton had the last word, pressing to the end for an equaliser that couldn’t quite be fashioned.
Buxton: Barnes, Bailey (Bradbury 82), Burrell, Young, Green, Bembo-Leta (F), Taylor, Niven (Bembo-Leta D) 55), Doran, Wiles, Barraclough.
Subs unused - Burbeary, Jameson.