Evo-Stik Premier Division
Buxton 1, Matlock Town 3
MATLOCK striker Ross Hannah broke Buxton hearts on Monday as his two late goals crushed the home side’s hopes of securing a play-off spot.
After a series of draws, the Bucks went into the game needing to win, and for play-off rivals North Ferriby United to drop points, but Hannah’s goals in the dying minutes, plus a victory for Ferriby, meant any hopes of making the play-offs were lost.
Games between Buxton and Matlock are always tempestuous affairs and despite the visitors having nothing left to play for, this end of season clash was certainly no different, as Matlock were reduced to ten men shortly into the second half and the Bucks were denied a penalty.
The home side were the better team throughout and created a number of decent openings, the first with just four minutes gone though Mark Reed’s shot from a Michael Towey cross was high and wide.
The club’s top scorer continued to press forward, seeing another attempt on goal thwarted by visiting keeper Nick Buxton’s point-blank save.
Towey’s header from a Grant Black free kick hit the crossbar on 18 minutes and the home side couldn’t capitalise on the resulting scramble. The visitors, however, were more fortunate when they took the lead against the run of play immediately after. Hannah rounded two Buxton defenders and keeper Scott Hartley to score with the visitors’ first, and only, shot of the half.
The Bucks were, deservedly, level within minutes though, courtesy of Josh Wilde tapping in a Black cross from a tight angle.
Good work from Buxton seven minutes after the restart saw the onrushing Reed denied a shooting opportunity by keeper Buxton before Matlock’s free kick after a Towey challenge on Hannah failed to trouble the home side.
With 54 minutes on the clock, Reed’s through ball found Kieran Lugsden who was denied by some good defensive work, before Lugsden was at the centre of some controversy a minute later when a shoulder barge on him in the area went unpunished despite strong calls for a penalty.
With just under an hour gone, the visitors were reduced to ten men when Kris Bowler received a straight red for comments he made to the referee.
The Buxton contingent were up in arms shortly after when Adam Yates received only a yellow card for punching Reed in retaliation for an earlier challenge by the prolific striker.
As the game drew to a close, Matlock created some pressure and after being denied by a fantastic Scott Hartley save, took the lead through Hannah with just minutes left on the clock.
The Bucks tried to respond immediately through Reed but his shot went wide.
As the game reached injury time the home side were awarded a corner with even goalkeeper Hartley running up to try and level things for his side but this then presented the visitors with a golden opportunity to increase their lead. Matlock, seeing the Buxton goal unmarked, went on the counter attack and Hannah simply needed to walk the ball home into the empty net to bag his hat-trick and round off the visitors’ thoroughly undeserved victory.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Agus (Maguire 38), Liversidge, Maxfield, Stevens (Ovington 54), Towey, Reed, Lugsden, Ridley (Johnson 77). Att: 595.