Scott Boden strikes late on at Scarborough Athletic to keep Buxton's play-off hopes alive

A vital victory - the 17th win or draw in the last 18 fixtures - in a classic six-pointer at Scarborough Athletic maintained Buxton's interest in the end-of-season play-offs as a late 1-0 win means only goal difference is now keeping the club out of the crucial seventh place, writes Tony Tomlinson.
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Victory was secured despite the absence of three key players: the already injured duo of Warren Clarke, who had a successful knee operation on Friday, and play-maker Tommy Elliott, plus centre-half Jake Hull, who suffered a reaction to the tackle which should have resulted in a penalty award versus Boston.

Yet the strength of the Buxton squad was shown by the contributions of three players, none of whom had started a match for over a month.

In an always very sound defence, Shaun Brisley was the uncrowned man-of-the-match as he won virtually every header, while substitutes Jordan Barnett and Scott Boden combined in the 89th minute,with the latter flicking home at the near post from the former's accurate pass.

Scott Boden - late matchwinner at Scarborough last weekend.Scott Boden - late matchwinner at Scarborough last weekend.
Scott Boden - late matchwinner at Scarborough last weekend.

In the seaside sunshine this was another disciplined, well-organised display versus the fourth-placed Sea Dogs and there was very little to separate the sides until the closing minutes when the Bucks proved to be the stronger side, with Barnett firing over the bar and Boden forcing a corner-kick before the goal arrived in the 89th minute.

Yet the visitors could well have led at the interval as they made and missed rather the better of the half-chances.

In the 11th minute an inventive Jak McCourt corner-kick on the left produced a low squared pass but Diego De Girolamo miskicked from a promising central position.

Then at the half-hour a penetrative cross by Brad Jackson found Connor Kirby at the far post but his header passed narrowly wide as the midfielder hit the 3G surface.

The best of the three openings fell to Sam Osborne in the 40th minute. A McCourt free-kick set him up but, close to a post, he couldn't force the ball home.

The hosts were dominant early on without piercing the composed Buxton rearguard, marshalled so effectively as ever by Brisley's central partner, skipper Josh Granite.

Ex-FCU midfielder Kieran Glynn produced a fine turn but fired over from 20 yards, while Theo Richardson saved low from the same player.

Just past the half-hour, Scaborough forced two corners and home captain Coulson delivered a fierce drive saved low by Richardson, but was injured in the process, to be replaced by former Buxton loanee, Dom Tear.

Ten minutes into the second half, the diving Tear's header grazed the outside of a post but generally the exchanges were even and on the hour home keeper, Cracknell (ex-Harrogate Town), did just enough to keep out Jackson's fine shot on the run in the inside-left channel.

Manager Craig Elliott's substitutions, made between 63 and 82 minutes, proved very effective as the visitors looked the more threatening in the vital closing minutes.

After the goal, the hosts unsurprisingly grew ever more desperate in what became seven added minutes, but the action ended most appropriately.

Richardson, the more impressive of the two keepers, on his 86th consecutive league appearance and 100th in all, advanced 17 yards from his line to leap, claim and catch Maloney's long-struck, lofted free-kick.

That secured Buxton's first success, at the fourth attempt, at the Flamingo Land Stadium.