On the day when the summit of the national game was rocked by revelation and resignation, the part-timers of Buxton and Corby showed the best of non-league football with a pulsating encounter as Buxton won 1-0.
Manager Martin McIntosh reckoned the narrow victory over the first-time visitors, who had defeated second-placed Blyth last Saturday, was his team’s finest performance to date.
The Bucks enjoyed a majority of possession and certainly of goal-scoring openings despite the very early loss to injury of leading scorer, Bradley Grayson.
The only surprise was that the string of quality crosses into and across the `Steelmen’s’ penalty box didn’t produce more than the 64th-minute netted by lively substitute Jamie Jackson.
He latched onto a sumptuous,defence-splitting through ball from Nicky Walker,waltzed round ‘keeper Grant 20 yards out and made sure of the vital strike by running with the ball into the unguarded net.
After Orenuga’s run and shot over the bar, Buxton went very close as early as the fourth minute when Alastair Taylor,outstanding throughout, played in Walker only for Grant to save with an outstretched leg.
The home side settled into a pattern of inventive attacking that hardly abated, with a Ricky Ravenhill 30-yard power drive being deflected for a corner, while Corby mounted occasional counters,though Jan Budtz didn’t have a first-half save to make.
Before and after Grayson’s departure Buxton’s play was very much directed to the right flank with recent newcomer, Matty Williams, supporting effectively from full-back and in the 36th minute,overlapping, he was on the end of a fine move to fire in a low cross saved by the capable Grant.
In front of him, ex-Silverlands centre-back Brad Gascoigne was dominant in the air but their team was plain lucky when Niall Doran, after receiving from Abbott, hammered a fierce low cross that struck Walker and passed wide rather than into goal.
Jackson then fastened onto Abbott’s penetrative through ball but from a central position shot at Grant.
At the start of the second half,the Buxton substitute made another attempt on goal but his close-range diving header from a Taylor cross,set up Joel’s and Doran’s good work on the right,flashed across the six-yard area.
The pressure on resilient Corby was maintained and the Bucks twice went close in the couple of minutes before the goal.
Firstly Abbott’s fierce shot rebounded off Grant to a defender then,from another right cross,Doran’s shot was deflected for the ‘keeper to catch low on the line.
To their credit Buxton continued to surge forward but without further reward.Grant fumbled Abbott’s left-flank cross yet recovered in front of Jackson, then second substitute Kegan Evrington beat two defenders to reach the by-line but couldn’t produce a telling pass.
In the dying minutes Corby at last mounted a threat and, watched by his future Gateshead manager Neil Aspin, a Danny Burns long leg made a crucial interception to thwart two attackers,then Crawford couldn’t direct a header on target.
However,there was no doubt about which side deserved the points from this highly entertaining contest.