Lacklustre individual performances as Bucks exit cup

Evo-Stik League Cup

Skelmersdale United 6

Buxton FC 1

BUXTON exited the Evo-Stik League Cup after a comprehensive defeat at Skelmersdale United on Tuesday night.

Although fixture congestion threatens the league campaign, the margin of defeat was due in part to some lacklustre performances from individuals and excellent play from a free-scoring Skelmersdale forward line.

The Bucks got off to a dream start, Mark Reed finishing smartly when a Neil Stevens pass presented him with a one-on-one with keeper Brocklehurst in only the third minute.

Brocklehurst rescued Skem’ four minutes later when Kieran Lugsden again got beyond the home back line.

This save proved significant as, in the eighth minute, Almond connected with a right-wing cross to level the scores. Stevens shot narrowly over the bar from 20 yards as the open start to the match continued.

Ex-Marine forward Karl O’Donnell then replied by hitting the Bucks’ crossbar from similar range.

Skem’ took the lead in the 22nd minute when Ryan Wade, on loan from Everton, was on hand to fire past Scott Hartley from another fine cross in behind the Bucks defence.

Reed saw his goalbound header deflected for a corner off Akrigg, and Lugsden saw a cross shot narrowly pass the post following another pass in behind the home backline by Michael Towey as Buxton continued to press.

On 33 minutes though, disaster struck. Under pressure, and following a poorly-judged backpass, Hartley’s miss-kicked clearance presented Wade with a tap-in for his second goal. In the 41st minute Gregg Anderson headed inches wide from a Grant Black free kick – which proved to be a fateful miss as on 44 minutes Wade, again in behind the Bucks backline, completed his hat-trick with a shot past Hartley.

The home side began the second half in the same vein. Hartley made an excellent triple save from close range shots, and O’Donnell was then denied when Ridley headed over his own bar as the Bucks struggled to create chances for their forwards.

The pressure told, and in the 55th minute Almond fired home from ten yards to end the contest.

O’Donnell scored the last of the night when more excellent wing play ended with a pass to the striker, which he swept home from the edge of the six-yard box in the 69th minute.

Buxton maintained their effort but Reed’s far post header, resulting in a good save from Brocklehurst on 77 minutes, proved to be their last chance of the night.

The Bucks will hope that the cobwebs have been blown away before their away league clash with Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Agus, Anderson, Maxfield, Stevens, Towey, Reed, Lugsden, Ridley. Substitutes: White, Askey, Kirkland, Congreave. Attendance 113.