Champions Buxton round season off with defeat at Stalybridge Celtic - but celebrations finally get underway

Champions Buxton were unable to extend their 15 game unbeaten run after ending the season with a 1-0 defeat at Stalybridge.

Sunday, 24th April 2022, 10:08 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 11:42 am
Josh Granite lifts the trophy as champions Buxton can finally celebrate.
Josh Granite lifts the trophy as champions Buxton can finally celebrate.

The conditions proved a great leveller for 16th-placed Celtic and even their goal resulted from an understandable defensive error on the very dry, exceptionally bouncy pitch which made ball control an ordeal.

Another factor in the defeat was the addition of the impressive Lindon Meikle to the trio of already injured midfielders.

The Bucks were soon in arrears as a short back-pass was seized upon by Celtic's main striker, the experienced Raul Correia, who accurately lobbed the advancing Theo Richardson with just three minutes played.

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Buxton could only infrequently put their passing game together. A good move down the left saw Nathan Fox work a one-two with Tommy Elliott, before firing a tempting cross that was headed away by home skipper Stephen O'Halloran.

For Celtic, winger Justin Johnson offered a threat but missed the target with an angled shot and on the 34th minute a powerful James Chambers shot suffered the same fate as it found the side netting. Close to the interval, Warren Clarke tried to wriggle through but was outnumbered.

With Grantham leading South Shields from the 52nd minute, there was no chance of a pair of freak results to change the destination of the title, yet Buxton's pride drove them forward throughout the second half, but without reward.

A very early, lengthy scramble in the Celtic goalmouth was a portent as a minute later Ash Chambers's 15-yard low drive was denied by Grant Shenton's one-handed save at full stretch, while there was ample promise as the visitors strung together more passing moves than previously.

Substitute James Hardy curled a shot over the angle and Shenton, one of four ex-Silverlanders in home ranks, parried Jamie Ward's 25-yard power-drive and from a Hardy corner, Elliott's flicked header ran clear from the bar. In added time, Richardson twice tried to advance for corners but the first caused amusement as it was taken too quickly for him to arrive.

James Ward went to ground under challenge from another ex-Silverlander in Steve Brogan but it brought no award from referee Hall.

So Buxton's arguably best-ever season ended in anti-climax but the memories of 2021/22 will be of superb, passing football, a record-equalling, 20-game unbeaten sequence and a thrilling FA Cup run that significantly raised the club's profile.