Buxton FC extend unbeaten league run with win at high-flying Basford United
Coming a fortnight after the draw at table-topping South Shields and one week following the 5-1 thrashing of rock-bottom Stafford, Saturday's achievement must surely convince any doubters that Gary Hayward's team has turned a corner, big-style!
The Bucks were superior virtually throughout the first half and their two-goal interval lead could even have been doubled with more ruthless finishing. In this period the Nottingham outfit rarely overcame the 11th-minute loss to injury of captain, playmaker and ex-Silverlander, Matt Thornhill, as the visitors scored early and never looked back.
As early as the ninth minute, from an Alex Brown lofted cross, a Reece King header clipped the top of the bar and just four minutes later the excellent Warren Clarke opened the scoring with a fine individual goal.
He worked his way goalwards past two defenders, then from a tight-enough angle, the power of his ground shot proved too much for soon-to-be-overworked 'keeper Preston. Diego fired a 25-yard effort wide of the target before Basford created their one threatening opening of the half. Grant Shenton produced a splendid low blocking save after a clever diagonal ball had set up a shooting chance for Richards.
That proved only a temporary respite for Basford as Preston was forced to save a Tom Elliott drive with his feet but Buxton maintained the pressure and shots rained in until Diego made the space to fire high into the net from seven yards.
What was remarkable in the half's 12 remaining minutes was that the visitors didn't score again, An Elliott power volley narrowly passed the target then Preston was forced into similar saves at his right-hand top corner, first as Elliott fed Diego then as Clarke broke from half-way following good defensive work by Brown.
Unsurprisingly for such a highly placed team, Basford had a better second half but compact defending and a string of fine saves from ‘keeper Shenton thwarted the hosts.
Just short of the hour Shenton saved well from Watson at the expense of a corner, several of which followed as pressure built towards 3/4 time with the Buxton 'keeper producing an excellent save at close range.
Yet the Bucks twice came close to netting a vital third goal in this period. From an inswinging corner-kick, Nico got a final touch barely a yard out but somehow the ball went over the bar, then following another penetrative, pacy Clarke counter, home defenders thrice diverted goal-bound shots.
Still in contention, United substitute Goldson missed his side's best chance with a free header directly at Shenton, while in the closing minutes, the Buxton 'keeper's half-save set up a goal-line clearance.
BUXTON: Shenton, Curley, Brown, Clarke, N De Girolamo, O’Grady, Chippendale (Chalmers), King, D De Girolamo (Orlando-Young), Elliott, Hardy (Bramall). Unused Subs: Harrison & Lenighan.