Hardy strikes to earn Buxton three crucial points at Grantham Town

Buxton matchwinner Liam Hardy.
Buxton matchwinner Liam Hardy.

Liam Hardy’s goal on the hour secured all three vital points for play-off chasing Buxton in their 1-0 victory at windswept Grantham Town on Saturday.

The Bucks had to overcome all manner of adversity to claim this victory which made it all the more sweet.

The visitors had five players missing or less than fully fit and spent the first half up against possibly the strongest wind the players had ever encountered in their careers.

But they stood firm,against another side recently rebuilt, like Marine and Hednesford, but this time the likes of Kern Miller, the debutant ex-Silverlander and Town’s best defender, and recently-recruited substitute, Jamie Jackson, could not half the Bucks.

The visitors had constant superiority on an afternoon in which the corner-to-corner gale and the dry, bobbly pitch proved a great leveller.

Just shy of the hour, a short kick by the home keeper and then a ricochet put Hardy in the clear on the right. He expertly rounded the keeper and fired home low and accurately from 15 yards.

Thereafter ‘the Bucks’ continued to control the game and were little troubled, even in the unexpected six minutes of added time, keeping a ‘clean sheet’ for the 15th time this season.

Hardy twice went close to a second. In the 74th minute he sensibly used the gale to assist a 40-yard free-kick that narrowly cleared the bar and only a minute later he went closer still.

Diego De Girolamo’s first touch as substitute was a well-judged pass that freed Hardy for a diagonal low drive flush against the far post.

Diego De Girolamo himself soon afterwards might have doubled the lead but totally missed connection in front of goal.

Hardy, the recalled James Dean and Jude Oyibo, who was ill in the week, all did useful work in defence.

Grantham’s clearest chance of a goal came early.

A free-kick, virtually a short corner, was driven low by Town’s best player, loanee midfielder, Dawson, but Adebayo-Smith miscued close in before Roberts dropped on the ball.

BUXTON: T. Roberts, Freeman, Brown, N. De Girolamo, Roscoe, J. Roberts (D. De Girolamo), Chippendale, A. Young, J. Dean, Hardy, Oyibo (Pritchard). Unused Subs: Meade, Kilner, Bruce.