Halesowen 2-1 Buxton - report

Greg Young notched a late goal for Buxton but it wasn't quite enough.
Greg Young notched a late goal for Buxton but it wasn't quite enough.

Buxton missed out on the chance to make up ground at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division, after defeat at Halesowen.

With league leaders Skelmersdale unexpectedly losing at home to Stamford, the Bucks missed the chance to make inroads into the Merseysiders’ points advantage by losing on a first visit to the former Southern League outfit.

Goals either side of half-time sealed the visitors’ fate and the Bucks only response was the latest of late consolations.

Even though Halesowen missed several opportunities for a first half lead, the outcome was effectively decided by a five minute spell just prior to the interval.

On a very firm pitch with a slippery surface the Bucks had taken time to settle but enjoyed an intense period of pressure as it became increasingly apparent that the opening goal might well be vital.

After Alastair Taylor and Alex Byrne’s persistence worked an opening on the right the latter’s fierce cross was fisted clear by ‘keeper Sergeant and then a Taylor shot and a Tuton header were both blocked on their way to goal.

Halesowen escaped to force a corner of their own and Haseley fired home from a couple of yards when the lofted cross was knocked down to him.

To concede at such a crucial time was indeed disappointing but the Bucks had survived several earlier threats created by Halesowen’s undiluted direct approach.

Their back five thumped the ball forward with regularity for their dangerous twin strikers, while midfielder Tonks was an added threat with his long throws.

The visitors’ defence was unsettled by such tactics and Town’s attackers duly took advantage.

In only the third minute Christie was in the clear but shot over the angle of post and bar.

Five minutes later the same player fluffed a one-on-one as he fired against a post.

The next clear chance fell to Tonks but he scuffed his shot horribly wide.

By contrast the Bucks, with Derek Niven replacing the departed Craig King, played all the passing football but created fewer chances.

The pick of those was early on was Greg Young’s forward pass to Liam Hardy, but the striker scooped his shot wide.

A change was made early in the second half with Mark Reed introduced to the Buxton attack but on the hour mark it was home striker Christie who found the net.

The experienced striker received a pass from Forde and beat Josh Ollerenshaw with an 18-yard cross-shot into the far corner.

Soon afterwards Town could have made it 3-0 but Hull’s firm header from Ragoli’s cross rebounded from the angle while at the other end Reed’s overhead kick forced Sergeant’s best save of the afternoon.

Ash Palmer then headed against a post from Shaun Tuton’s cross following a half-cleared corner kick as the Bucks pushed for a goal.

The visitors finally got a consolation at the very end of added time when Young’s header found the net, but Martin McIntosh’s men couldn’t quite muster an equaliser.

Buxton: Ollerenshaw, Byrne, Green, Niven (Reed), Palmer, Young, Taylor, Wilson, Tuton, King, Stevens.

Unused Subs: Doyle, Ryan, Jameson.

Att: 507.