Evo-Stik Premier Division
Frickley Athletic 1, Buxton FC 1
BUXTON led for most of the match in West Yorkshire on Tuesday evening, but an event at either end in the last ten minutes cost them full points.
Firstly, a through ball from Mark Reed down the centre set Kieran Lugsden off on a race with centre-back Mark Gray, whom he robbed, but the striker saw his goalbound shot blocked by the body of advancing keeper Billard.
Then, with the Bucks looking increasingly likely to hold their lead, a solitary mistake cost them victory. From a throw-in deep in visiting territory, Gray, on loan from Gainsborough Trinity, eluded his marker and when the ball reached him on the edge of the penalty area his powerful drive gave teenage debutant keeper Adam Reid no chance.
While Frickley had pressed for an equaliser for much of the second half, the Bucks defended resolutely and solidly to deny them any other clear chances, and it was Buxton who dominated the first half with a convincing brand of passing soccer.
Nonetheless, the home team created an early opportunity, forcing Reid to save with his legs from Ryan’s shot, but the Bucks soon settled and took only seven minutes to score.
All evening Scott Maxfield troubled Billard with well-flighted corner kicks, and from his first Mark Reed netted with a deft near-post header.
On this big pitch, Buxton passed the ball accurately and effectively and five minutes later, from Michael Towey’s cross, Reed’s firm header forced Billard into a good low save.
Frickely’s experienced front pairing of Knox and Ryan threatened from time to time, and the former went close from 20 yards. Then Grant Black made a vital interception after Ashmore had advanced to the by-line, before Reid saved bravely at Ryan’s feet.
It was Buxton who finished the half off impressively with several effective passing moves, and Towey’s ball passed untouched across the face of goal.
Early in the second half, Louis Horne conceded possession to set up a Frickley attack ended by a poorly-directed Callery shot, but at the other end the centre-back soon threatened to double his side’s advantage with a header, narrowly over the bar, from Maxfield’s cross. Generally though, it was Athletic forcing the pace, as the Bucks lost their passing game for the most part.
Injury forced the substitution of Maxfield for Ridley and, after a Neil Stevens snapshot had passed narrowly wide, the diminutive midfielder crossed from the left but the ball passed over the well-placed Reed.
Then came Lugsden’s opportunity and the Frickley equaliser that cost Buxton so dearly. Nonetheless, this was a mostly encouraging performance, with the midfield trio of Maxfield, Stevens and Towey particularly effective.
Buxton: Reid, Black, Agus, Horne, Wilde, Stevens, Towey, Maxfield (Ridley, 65), Williams, Reed, Lugsden. Unused subs: Pembleton, Taylor, Liversidge, Bradbury. Attendance: 228.