Hardy strikes late to seal FA Trophy comeback for Buxton

A 96th-minute goal by leading scorer Liam Hardy sealed Buxton FC a dramatic 3-2 win over Hyde United in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy.

The home team battled back from 2-1 down with just five minutes of normal time left to overcome Hyde in front of 360 in attendance at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium.

It was cruel on Hyde that the winning goal put the Bucks ahead for the only time as the visitors had the better of the second half after an evenly-contested first period.

United had scored early and late in the first half with the De Girolamo brothers in each half providing the equalisers to set up the dramatic conclusion.

Despite being unchanged, only rarely did Buxton find the drive and fluency in their attacking play that had marked last Saturday’s impressive defeat of Witton, with several players below their best, though never lacking in effort.

The teams traded early goals with Hyde’s opener in the 11th minute simply fashioned. Ex-Port Vale striker Dan Turner made space on the right for a curling low cross and the centrally-placed Tom Pratt stabbed the ball home. Seven minutes later Nico equalised. A wayward defensive header saw ‘keeper Mewitt just beating Jude Oyibo to it, but from the resulting Diego corner-kick a free header by Aaron Chalmers was driven home at close range.

Buxton could feel hard-done-by to have seen the officials award Hyde a penalty just before the break for a similar incident to one the hosts appealed for moments before in the opposing box. Paddy Lane comfortably netted for a 2-1 lead.

At this point home fans could be excused for a feeling of déjà-vu as a similar scenario had unfolded in the club’s August encounter.

The Bucks were unable to break through in the second half until Diego netted a second equaliser. A free-kick 21 yards out was taken short and the striker’s shot found the net inside the far post but the assistant’s flag was raised.

A brief consultation resulted in the referee over-ruling him on the grounds that the offside Hardy had not obscured the ‘keeper’s view.

Buxton pressed hard and in the last minute of added time Hardy somehow squeezed home a shot through a forest of legs from a corner.

Team: Shenton, Harrison, Brown (Roscoe), N De Girolamo, O’Grady, Wilson, Whitham (Dwyer), Chalmers, D De Girolamo, Hardy, Oyibo. Unused Subs: Jennings, Kilner & Phillips