Buxton title hopes are hit after defeat against Stafford Rangers
Buxton lost ground in the title race following a 3-2 defeat at home to Stafford Rangers, writes Mike Barton.
The Bucks were looking to get back to winning ways following two recent 2-1 league defeats and were hampered by late injuries and positive Covid tests, before the match.
It meant Matt Curley, James Hurst, Jamie Ward, Diego De Girolamo, Ben Turner and new loan recruit Brad Jackson were all missing, while Ben Milnes was only fit enough for the bench.
After a quiet start, with just a Warren Clarke effort of any note, the game burst into life on 20 minutes with the visitors taking the lead through a header from a corner by centre-half James O’Neill.
The Bucks were level just six minutes later when Ash Chambers capitalised on a through ball from Tommy Elliott to fire home.
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Buxton were unlucky not to go into the break in front with Josh Granite having an effort cleared off the line, before fellow centre-half Ben Middleton fired over and Clarke had two chances when through on goal.
Buxton started the second half in determined mood and took the lead on 47 minutes when Chambers scored after a strong five-man break.
Emergency right-back Dom Tear started the move down the right and after the ball had once been whipped over it was returned into the middle for Chambers to bag his 12th goal of the season from only 10 starts.
The Bucks kept pressing and Clarke went close from distance and Jason Gilchrist saw his effort ruled out for offside following more good work from Tear and Chambers. Chambers was unlucky not to complete his hat-trick on 77 minutes when he swivelled and got a snapshot away that just went wide.
The home players tired late on, and Stafford started to take control, mainly through the long throws of former Stourbridge midfielder Tom Tonks.
The leveller for Stafford was from a short corner that was smartly whipped in for Ethan Stewart to head home 85 minutes.
The visitors earned maximum points three minutes later when Jake Charles lobbed Bucks goalkeeper Theo Richardson.
With Tuesday’s match at home to Witton postponed, due to Covid in the Albion squad, the Bucks are next in action on Saturday at Bamber Bridge.