Buxton bounce back to beat bogey side Boston United

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In front of their second highest NLN gate, Buxton returned to winning ways against bogey side Boston United on Easter Monday with a 1-0 win after their 15-match unbeaten run - their equal third best since 1945 - was ended at Kidderminster Harriers on Good Friday, writes Tony Tomlinson.

Connor Kirby's 76th-minute, close-range strike was all that separated the in-form, well-matched teams who hold high positions in any form table and who produced an entertaining encounter of good quality despite atrocious weather.

The Bucks had finally defeated a Pilgrims team at home at the 14th attempt and, in so doing, they managed to score in only the third of these 14 encounters as Boston remain by far and away the most successful of all Buxton's post-war opponents.

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The victory raised Buxton one place to ninth, just three points short of the seventh play-off place.

Connor Kirby - winning goal to finally end Boston United bogey on Monday.Connor Kirby - winning goal to finally end Boston United bogey on Monday.
Connor Kirby - winning goal to finally end Boston United bogey on Monday.

The strong wind blew down-field from the Railway End throughout and the occasional first-half heavy shower became incessant rain after the interval.

Though obviously unclear when the decision was made, Boston may have erred in choosing to have the elements at their backs initially.

The match was unusual in that neither side had a period of dominance as consistently play switched from end to end, with both seeking to penetrate through passing movements but thwarted by very capable defences.

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As ever, Buxton owed much to dominant skipper,Josh Granite, as a Boston outfit, which had won three and drawn three in its last six away matches in climbing clear of the relegation zone, was kept scoreless.

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Corner kicks were conceded throughout, but sound defensive work meant keeper Theo Richardson, on his 99th Buxton appearance, was little troubled by them.

At the Ashwood End, visiting custodian Gregory was rather busier.

In the very first minute he was forced to tip over a testing Sam Osborne chip and at the quarter-hour Max Conway hoisted a long cross from the by-line that was cleared, via a post, with difficulty.

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Shots were blocked amid brief Buxton pressure, then at the other end Granite had to make an excellent intervention to prevent a goal.

Jak McCourt's long-passing ability threatened from time to time and one sumptuous effort sent Osborne racing to the by-line but Diego De Girolamo sent his low pull-back high and wide.

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Then just prior to the interval, after a corner, Connor Brown produced a vital block.

The early second half followed a similarly even pattern.

Ten minutes in, striker Wright arguably missed the Pilgrims' best chance by shooting into the side-netting.

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Buxton then matched that with Brad Jackson, after fastening onto a loose ball on the right, forcing a tip-over save and from the resultant corner-kick the ball was half-cleared via a post for McCourt to shoot wide from 17 yards.

At three-quarter time Boston enjoyed a remarkable escape. Kirby's low cross from the left somehow evaded Jake Hull in front of goal, then Gregory saved Conway's shot at his near post.

Into the last quarter-hour and Buxton at last scored the vital goal, seemingly out of the blue. A run-of-the-mill attack on the right led to Diego's touch for Kirby to force home.

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There was no doubting the Pilgrims' determination to get back on terms.

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Richardson was forced into a fine, 85th-minute save but experienced substitutes, Shaun Brisley and, in particular, Jake Moult, contributed usefully to preserving the lead through five minutes of added time.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​