Penalty miss sets up frantic finish as unbeaten run goes on

Alastair Taylor (blue) won a penalty for Buxton.
Alastair Taylor (blue) won a penalty for Buxton.

Second-placed Buxton stretched their unbeaten home run to 11 matches, but missed a penalty, as they were held to a goalless draw by second-bottom Skelmersdale United.

The Merseysiders, including five of the team that won as table-toppers at the Silverlands two years ago, passed the ball quickly and accurately, and created the clearer scoring chances.

However, it wasn’t difficult to understand their lowly league position, with an average of only one goal per game, as they again lacked a cutting edge against the Bucks, whose dogged defending earned an eighth home clean sheet.

The match was always absorbing and, for the last 10 minutes, became a thriller packed with bizarre incidents.

Both teams were still urgently seeking a winner when referee Watson awarded Buxton a penalty for a Holden foul on Alastair Taylor as a long, left-wing cross reached him.

But Bradley Grayson, who recently netted confidently from the spot against Nantwich, blazed high and wide into the Railway End stand.

The miss led to frantic action at both ends. Grayson couldn’t profit from a penetrative pass by substitute Jamie Jackson and Jamie Green’s free-kick was too deep, while Davies fired wide for the visitors after a free kick.

Then Jan Budtz’s uncharacteristic handling error presented visiting striker Wall with a great chance, but he remarkably missed.

Kegan Everington’s clever back-heel almost created a home winner, while Buxton defenders twice in quick succession cleared from the goalline.

The match began surprisingly with a succession of openings carved by the visitors. In the eighth minute ex-Southport striker Almond rounded Budtz but, from a narrow angle, fired into the side netting as two home defenders covered the goal.

Four minutes later, Wall ran along the 18-yard line to blast a shot against the bar as the visitors continued to press forward. Then following a corner, a low ball across the face of goal narrowly eluded Mooney.

Taylor proved to be Buxton’s most threatening outlet with several strong runs along the right and Green’s 20-yard effort passed over the angle.

Everington and Taylor also created an opening that Grayson couldn’t convert.

In the third quarter of the match scoring chances were evenly shared with Wylie’s fine tackle denying Grayson after Joel and Brad Abbott’s work had played him in, and then Joel’s glancing header from Green’s cross went wide.

At the other end Strickland’s rocket shot was blocked while Joel’s tackle on Mooney ended another opportunity.

Taylor again threatened but was fouled, leading to one of the five yellow cards seen by visiting defenders before the late penalty.

Budtz; Williams (Jackson 66), Burns, Young, Green; Doran (Walker 57), Everington, Abbott, Taylor; Bembo-Leta (J); Grayson. Unused substitutes: Bembo-Leta (F), Wilkinson, Barlow.

Attendance 321.