Evo-Stik Premier Division: Eastwood Town 1, Buxton FC 5
A THREE-GOAL salvo in a mightly-impressive opening 25 minutes on Tuesday evening effectively swept aside Eastwood’s essentially youthful challenge and enabled Buxton to climb a further two places up the league table.
Recent victories for the Badgers at Worksop and Matlock gave the fixture ‘banana skin’ potential, but the Bucks soon proved to have far too much pace, power and intensity for Town to cope with.
Pouring down the slope in a 4-4-1-1 formation, Buxton took a mere six minutes to establish a lead and doubled it on the quarter-hour, with fleet-footed Sam Duncum on the left on both occasions penetrating Town’s rearguard.
He outstripped right-back Raven and his first cross found Steve Istead beyond the far post, with the captain forcing the ball home low off a defender.
His second run produced a higher cross that reached Lee Morris beyond the far post and the striker headed expertly back into goal.
The shell-shocked Badgers simply couldn’t repel Buxton’s attacks which went close to producing more goals even before a third was added in the 25th minute.
A Sandwith corner-kick led to a Roberts header being cleared from the line. Then from Morris’ pass-back, Kallum Keane was not far wide with a venomous 30-yard drive.
However, the score soon advanced to 3-0 as yet another dangerous Sandwith free-kick allowed David Haggerty, in a ruck of players, to bundle the ball over the line.
Eastwood at last produced a response and from a corner-kick Sandwith had to clear from the line, but soon afterwards the full-back was himself nearly a scorer as his powerful hooked shot beat goalkeeper Andrew to clip the top of the angle of post and bar.
Michael Towey went equally close to scoring as the second half opened with a Marc Roberts long throw, but the midfielder’s acute-angled shot passed agonisingly across the face of goal.
For a while the game lost momentum with Eastwood enjoying more possession but posing little threat, then the Bucks scored twice more in the quarter-hour after a double substitution had been made.
Firstly Towey initiated an attack up the right and from Istead’s low cross Mark Reed drove home his fifth goal in six games.
Five minutes later came a goal of stunning simplicity, yet great skill. From a corner-kick on the left Sandwith picked out Towey, ghosting into the penalty area, with a superb grass-cutter of a pass and the midfielder’s first-time shot found the corner of the net inside the near post.
Little was disappointing on a fine night for the Bucks except for Eastwood’s last-minute consolation. A Roberts goal allowed Simmons a 20-yard strike at goal from the corner of the penalty area and his low free-kick defeated Ian Deakin at his near post.
Buxton: Deakin, Black, Roberts, Haggerty, Sandwith, Stevens (Lugsden, 69), Istead (Bradbury, 86), Keane, Duncum, Towey, Morris (Reed, 69). Unused substitutes: Maxfield, Jackson.