Buxton up to fourth in table after beating Skelmersdale United

Buxton FC v Skelmersdale (red), Warren Burrell
Buxton FC v Skelmersdale (red), Warren Burrell

Another excellent performance on Tuesday evening at a rain-soaked Silverlands saw Buxton topple one of the only two remaining rivals with a 100 per cent record as they climbed to fourth place in the table.

As at Blyth on Saturday this was a closely-fought encounter between two evenly-matched sides that was decided by Liam Hardy’s emphatically-struck penalty kick.

Jamie Green had earned the spot-kick when his rapid thrust up the left was halted by Mooney’s foul.

But by then Buxton had inexplicably been denied a spot-kick when Osebi Abadaki’s run across the penalty area just prior to the interval was ended by a foul.

The score then was 1-1 after an opening half in which the `Bucks’ had taken a 14th minute lead only for `Skem’ to equalise 10 minutes later.

Manager Martin McIntosh restored Abadaki to the right flank and the winger showed his pace early on to leave full-back Holden trailing, before his cross found Hardy who had a shot blocked for a corner.

Soon afterwards new midfielder Warren Burrell opened his scoring account with a firm near-post header from an Ash Burbeary free-kick.

The visitors responded, but their goal came out of the blue with well-rated striker Mitchley beating Phil Barnes from 30 yards.

Four minutes later visiting centre-back McIntosh headed just wide from a dangerous position close to a corner of the penalty box.

The visitors’ accurate passing game ensured them of ample possession either side of half-time, but Buxton’s recently rebuilt defence copred well and `keeper Barnes handled surely despite the wet conditions.

Driving downfield rain made life difficult for the`Bucks’ but the penalty gave them a lead to defend and twice they looked on the verge of doubling their advantage.

Ricky Ravenhill’s ball-winning tackle saw him break forward quickly to play in Hardy, who had strayed marginally offside.

Then in another swift counter substitute Niall Doran also fed Hardy for Fearon to deflect his goal-bound shot with a leg.

Skem pressed hard in the closing minutes but resolute defending ensured full points were won.