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Buxton’s FA Cup exit to Coalville ‘worst performance of the season’ - Paul Phillips

Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Paul Phillips
Buxton FC v Hednesford, joint manager Paul Phillips

Paul Phillips described Buxton FC’s exit from the FA Cup on Tuesday night as their “worst performance of the season”.

The Bucks were beaten 4-1 by Coalville Town in a second round qualifying replay following Saturday’s goalless draw at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium.

The loss brought an end to Buxton’s 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions and looks set to spark some squad changes over the coming days.

Joint-manager Phillips was left far from impressed with his and Steve Halford’s side in both matches against fellow Step 3 opponents Coalville Town.

“It was our worst performance of the season by a long way in what was one of the biggest games,” Phillips told the Advertiser.

“We missed the opportunity in Saturday’s game and started off poorly on Tuesday night and didn’t get much better.

“We missed chances again at crucial times but the better team won on the night and we weren’t at the races.

“There’s no excuse for that.

“The players knew what it meant to the football club and the people around the club.

“The buck stops here with ourselves and our players and I just thought it was the first time this season when it wasn’t acceptable.

“There will be changes.”

The manner of the defeat to Coalville on Tuesday night, rather than the result itself, is what disappointed Phillips.

He said: “We said to the players at the start of the season that we will lose football matches, but what we won’t lose is a fight in the match.

“I thought they outfought us last night. They were more streetwise than us and earned the right to play. They’re a good team.

“I thought we should have got the job done on Saturday. It seems a little bit of complacency came in on Saturday so we’ve got to address that.

“The big players on Saturday and 95 per cent of the players last night let us down and the football club down.”

Buxton had a handful of early chances to get their noses in front in the first game and came closest when Greg Young’s header hit the woodwork.

Phillips felt Saturday, at home, was an opportunity missed to advance in the competition, with the winner taking on St Neots Town in the third round qualifying.

“The game could have been over in the first 20 minutes,” he said.

“We’ve hit the crossbar, their keeper’s made a save, Liam [Hardy] has missed a chance and I thought a 2-0 the game would be a different kettle of fish.

“We could have picked them off on the break. It would have played into our hands. They would have had to come out and look for it.

“We got what we deserved last night in a game we never really got started in. We were outfought in midfield and gone out with a whimper rather than having a go.

“That just can’t happen. That can’t happen for the ambitions of me and Steve, the chairman and the football club - that is not acceptable and the players were told that.”

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Buxton have a chance to bounce back on Saturday when they are at home to bottom side Lancaster City in a return to Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division action.

“It will be a tough game against Lancaster,” said Phillips.

“When we took over the team last year from Martin a lot of the teams we dropped points against were in or around the bottom six.

“Whether that’s psychological, I don’t know, but it’s another must-win game for me on Saturday.”

And added: “We’re hoping to get one or two fresh faces in because certain individuals are not doing the job they were brought in here to do.

“If people don’t start stepping up to the plate and doing what we want them to do then the bigger picture is they won’t be at the football club much longer.”