John Pritchard strike seals Buxton FC victory over Gainsborough Trinity and reignites play-off charge

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.
Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.

Buxton FC’s play-off hopes were given a healthy shot in the arm after they beat fellow contenders Gainsborough Trinity 1-0 in Saturday’s ‘six-pointer’ showdown at Silverlands.

What a potentially significant victory this was for Buxton in the six-pointer versus rival play-off candidates - now only six points adrift of Trinity with two fixtures in hand.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Brad Grayson's first half charge is halted by Simon Russell.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Brad Grayson's first half charge is halted by Simon Russell.

This third double of the campaign, after Stafford and Mickleover - and the first over Trinity since 1986/87, was anything but comfortable as for the 13th time this season a one-goal lead was established but not developed.

However, a coincidental 13th clean sheet meant that six of the previous 13 have been won and four drawn to keep play-off hopes alive.

Trinity had a comfortable majority of possession, particularly in the second half, but the resilient home defence limited their clear openings to a pittance. Trinity would count themselves unlucky to have a goal ruled out for a foul, Ash Worsfold shot over, a dangerous cross in front of goal wasn’t met and a glorious Alex Byrne curling cross narrowly missed everyone.

Meanwhile, the Bucks created more goal-scoring chances, with the lively Brad Grayson thrice being unfortunate. Only five minutes had passed when he chipped narrowly wide to end a sustained attack, then four minutes later he was in the act of racing clear of the visiting defence when he was fouled by then yellow-carded midfielder Russell. Finally, on the stroke of half-time, he struck the outside of the goal-frame’s angle with a firm, 18-yard strike.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Joe McGee sends the ball forward under pressure from Ashley Worsfold.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Joe McGee sends the ball forward under pressure from Ashley Worsfold.

By then Buxton had led for 25 minutes, courtesy of a fine drive by John Pritchard, who seized on a loose ball more than 20 yards out to drill home a low shot beyond Stewart’s reach. In the second half home attacking highlights were few but an imaginative Liam Hardy chested pass stood out before the striker couldn’t profit from Tom Dean, outstanding in defence, making a downward header from a long free-kick aimed into the six-yard box.Buxton countered late on but couldn’t add to their tally, sub Josh Meade saw red for a high tackle having lost possession, and Diego De Girolamo chipped on to the roof of the net.

Victory lifted the Bucks to seventh in the table.

But it was a disappointing day for Trinity’s six ex-Silverlanders, none more so than for former manager, John Reed, and ‘keeper-coach, Charlie Cresswell.

BUXTON: Bruce, Roscoe, Brown, N De Girolamo, T Dean, McGee (Coppin), Chippendale, Gee, Grayson (Meade), Hardy (D De Girolamo), Pritchard. Unused Subs: Oyibo & T Roberts.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough's Damien Reeves gives Nico De Girolamo the slip in the first half.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough's Damien Reeves gives Nico De Girolamo the slip in the first half.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.'John Pritchard takes a first half free kick.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.'John Pritchard takes a first half free kick.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough's Damien Reeves is shadowed by Tom Dean.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough's Damien Reeves is shadowed by Tom Dean.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.'John Pritchard puts Buxton ahead in the first half.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity.'John Pritchard puts Buxton ahead in the first half.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'John Pritchard celebrates his first half goal.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'John Pritchard celebrates his first half goal.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough pile on the pressure in the Buxton penaly area.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Gainsborough pile on the pressure in the Buxton penaly area.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Brad Grayson gets the ball under control before firing off a first half shot.

Buxton v Gainsborough Trinity. 'Brad Grayson gets the ball under control before firing off a first half shot.