A last-gasp equaliser by substitute Bradley Grayson earned Buxton a deserved 1-1 draw at home to Stalybridge Celtic in their latest Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Premier Division game at Silverlands on Saturday.
Just when it seemed that Scott Bakkor’s close-range opener for fellow mid-tablers Celtic in the 74th minute would be enough for the visitors to take full points, Grayson struck in the 90th minute.
For the second consecutive Bucks fixture, both sides deserved credit for their efforts in in dreadful conditions of driving downfield wind and rain. They produced an entertaining game, particularly in the first half when play frequently moved rapidly from end to end.
But if ever a match was evenly fought, this was it. Neither side were ever dominant in possession, goalscoring chances and goals were equally shared, as well as strikes against the goal-frame.
In the 41st minute, Celtic’s Michael Howard launched a powerful, wind-assisted 25-yard free-kick that was touched on to the bar and away by Buxton’s debutant ‘keeper Adam Bruce, who is on loan from Burnley. Bruce, a replacement for injured regular ‘keeper, Theo Roberts, showed excellent handling throughout.
Buxton also hit the woodwork just on half-time when striker James Dean planted a firm header flush against the foot of a post.
Other notable efforts for the Bucks came from Bradley Roscoe, who headed over, while the impressive Alex Brown and Scott Sephton both struck 25-yard shots off target, and an accurate, curling drive from Liam Hardy had Celtic ‘keeper Patrick Wharton at full stretch. Two ‘goals’ were also ruled out.
Celtic had their opportunities too, however, especially when a deflected shot from distance wrongfooted Bruce and rolled inches wide.
To underline how little there was between the two sides, both goals were strikingly similar as Bakkor and then Grayson latched on to loose balls after defenders had been unable to clear their lines effectively.
BUXTON LINE-UP -- Bruce/ Roscoe, Brown, De Girolamo N., Dean T. (Meade), Sephton, Chippendale, McGee (Grayson), Dean J., Hardy, Coppin (Oyibo), Unused Subs: Young A., Gee.