REPORT/GALLERY: Hardy reaches his century for Bucks in Hednesford draw

Buxton FC v Hednesford, Liam Hardy scores his first goal
Buxton FC v Hednesford, Liam Hardy scores his first goal

Liam Hardy scored his 100th Buxton goal as they secured a 2-2 draw at home to Hednesford Town on Saturday.

Hardy struck twice in the second-half, his century reached thanks to his second goal in the 73rd minute, but two goals from Danny Glover earned the visitors a point as new managers Paul Phillips and Steve Halford maintained their unbeaten start to life at the Silverlands after four games in charge.

Having been on the pitch only 40 hours earlier against Ashton United in a 1-0 win, the match was always going to be trying for the Bucks, especially as the Pitmen had last played on Tuesday, while the turf was soft and energy-sapping after overnight rain.

As a result the visitors pressed strongly late on and secured an 87th-minute equaliser when substitute Graham played in Glover to score his second of the afternoon.

The healthy-sized, appreciative crowd from the outset enjoyed a hard-fought, even contest with Buxton soon settling into an attractive style of accurate, passing soccer with in-form strikers Ant Wilson and Hardy posing a genuine threat.

The first-half, however, proved goal-less with the efforts closest to scoring coming near to the interval.

Hardy at the near post met Josh Meade’s low cross but his close-range flick found ‘keeper Wren, whose counterpart Jan Budtz then had to push away another close-in effort at the expense of a corner.

Early in the second-half ‘the Bucks’ thrice threatened as centre-back Oji’s foot only just thwarted Hardy, who then beat Bailey but had his narrow-angled shot saved by Wren before the ‘keeper made a good low stop from Joe McGee’s 20-yard drive.

However, fortune favoured the visitors in the 52nd minute when, six yards out, the ball ricocheted between Ricky Ravenhill and Nico DeGirolamo to present Glover with a chance he couldn’t miss.

Undaunted, ‘the Bucks’ pressed forward and the newly-arrived substitute, Jude Oyibo, made a promising mazy run but it was Luke Hinsley’s raking pass from the centre-spot out to Hardy on the left flank that created the equaliser.

The striker cut in and scored memorably with a sweetly-struck,20-yard,angled drive into the far corner of Wren’s goal.

Thereafter both sides mounted attacks but it was Hardy who made the break-through with the goal that claimed his place in club history.

McGee’s well-placed corner-kick was superbly headed on by Wilson for Hardy, showing his true goal-poacher’s instinct, to nod in at the far post.

Ten minutes later there was a chance to make it 3-1 but Alastair Taylor’s shot from a central position cleared the bar and it was to be ‘the Pitmen’ who scored the fourth and final goal.

Buxton: Budtz, Meade (Oyibo), McWilliams, Maguire, Degirolamo, Ravenhill (Taylor), McGee, Hinsley, Wilson (Broadhead), Hardy, Baker. Unused Subs: Doran, Grayson

*Just two days earlier, the Bucks had secured a 1-0 win over Ashton United.

In a thriller packed with incident and goalmouth action, the only surprise, was that only one goal should be registered and that was contributed by home debutant, Callum Chippendale, in the 35th minute, but his evening was marred by a spectacular hamstring injury just as he was leading a rapid counter-attack in the 67th minute.

Liam Hardy shot wide early on for Buxton while Ashton’s Mooney drove wide from 25 yards out.

Jude Oyibo was also wide of the target after making room for himself, then after Chippendale had netted the winner, Alastair Taylor had a one-on-one opportunity but keeper Carnell pushed his effort out to Oyibo, who inexplicably could only roll the ball back to the ‘keeper.

The second-half saw Ashton respond well although Niall Doran put a free-kick over the top for Buxton and then forced Carnell into a late save, Carnell also saving twice from Joe McGee in one-on-one situations as the score remained at 1-0.

Buxton: Budtz, Meade, McWilliams, Maguire, Degirolamo, Ravenhill. Oyibo, Hinsley, Chippendale (McGee), Hardy (Wilson), Taylor (Doran)