Buxton unlikely to play again until Boxing Day following FA Trophy exit

Buxton are unlikely to play another match before Christmas.

Buxton manager Gary Hayward. Photo: Jason Chadwick.
Buxton manager Gary Hayward. Photo: Jason Chadwick.

The Bucks exited the FA Trophy on Tuesday night following a 2-1 defeat to City of Liverpool, their first match since the 3-1 victory over Stafford Rangers on November 3.

But it appears that will be their only game in six weeks.

The Northern Premier League announced this week that all matches up to and including December 19 have been postponed.

The Trident Leagues - the NPL, Southern League and Isthmian League - voted in favour of continuing to postpone the season due to the Government's new tiering system.

Clubs in tier three - including Buxton - were not allowed to welcome fans back into their stadiums, which would mean operating at a loss.

Concerns about income, and the spread of Covid, saw clubs vote in favour of keeping the campaign on hold.

An Northern Premier League statement read: "Following on from the announcement last week, about the Trident Leagues and its clubs voting to continue the season pause, the NPL confirmed that all league games on December 5 and 12 had been postponed, and this has now been extended until at least December 19.

"However, please note that if in the interim, the Government make any changes to the current tier restrictions that allows the return of fans to all NPL fixtures, the league will approve the reinstatement of any scheduled matches where both clubs are in agreement."

The Bucks were due to travel to Ashton United on Saturday and host Atherton Collieries the following weekend.

But with action looking unlikely to resume until December 26, their next contest could in fact be Boxing Day's derby clash against Matlock Town at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium.

Jack Hazlehurst gave the visitors, currently 14th in the Northern Premier League North West Division, a 20th minute lead on Tuesday.

The attacker slotted home from close range into an unguarded net.Buxton brought themselves back to level terms with just 10 minutes remaining as striker Diego De Girolamo slotted home the leveller for Gary Hayward's side.

But three minutes before the final whistle City of Liverpool netted a winner.

Hazlehurst was again the man to find the net and, with just seconds remaining, the hosts couldn't force their way back into the game a second time.

It was a moment of magic to settle the tie, Hazlehurst smashing home a dipping 25-yard effort as the hosts failed to clear the danger.

With Northern Premier League action on hold, the Bucks still occupy third spot in the Premier Division.

They trail Mickleover and Basford by two points having played one game fewer.

From the start of the campaign, Hayward has stressed the importance of doing the business early on due to the possibility of the season being settled via points by game.

This week the Football Association reiterated their desire to settle promotion and relegation spots this season to help with the impending restructuring of the National League System.