Halford calls for consistency after Buxton exit FA Trophy to Stalybridge

Buxton FC joint manager Steve Halford
Buxton FC joint manager Steve Halford

Buxton FC joint boss Steve Halford has told his players that standards need to improve.

The Bucks were dumped out of the FA Trophy in a second qualifying round replay against Stalybridge Celtic at Silverlands on Tuesday night.

Though taking the lead through Nico De Girolamo, Buxton conceded just before the break and Celtic struck again in the second half for a 2-1 win.

It followed a goalless draw between the two sides on Saturday in a game which saw Buxton name 11 fit players due to injuries and suspensions.

And Halford said Tuesday night’s performance exemplified their season so far.

“We get on top in games, don’t finish chances off and concede sloppy goals. It’s been the story of our season,” he said.

“We’re not far away but if we want to improve we need to cut out these mistakes at both ends of the pitch.”

Diego De Girolamo struck the crossbar with a free-kick early on, minutes before his brother Nico gave Buxton the breakthrough.

It was an advantage they didn’t hold for long as Celtic levelled just prior to the half time interval through Liam Tongue.

Diego forced a good save from the opposing goalkeeper when he cut inside and got his shot off as the hosts looked the regain the lead.

But it was Celtic who were next to score through Chris Sharp and his goal 14 minutes from time proved to be the winner.

“We played some decent stuff in the first half, scored one goal from a set piece, but conceded a sloppy goal when we were on top.

“We can’t legislate for how it happened. We lost a header from a long ball and the midfielder didn’t track his man’s run.

“Second half we were a bit cagey, it always was going to be, and they’ve produced one more moment than what we had.

“We had half chances, didn’t take them, and they’ve delivered the killer blow,” he added.

Buxton’s attentions quickly return to Evo-Stik NPL Northern Premier action with the visit of third-from-bottom Witton Albion.

Witton had a blank midweek due to Farsley Celtic’s involvement in the FA Trophy, having won their own tie against AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Saturday.

Halford added: “We’ve struggled against teams towards the bottom of the table. We’ve had some good results against teams towards the top.

“That says to me the concentration level from the boys and the mentality needs to change.

“The consistency levels need to improve if we want to do anything this season. We’ve shown we can do it.”