Evo-Stik Premier Division
Buxton FC 1, Hednesford Town 3
STRUGGLING Buxton FC slipped to their tenth league defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 3-1 against high-flying Hednesford Town.
Defensive frailties and the odd questionable refereeing decision proved costly, although by large this was an improved Bucks performance.
The game started at a breathtaking pace, with end-to-end action creating chances for both sides.
Hednesford’s long-ball tactic was immediately evident as Gary Hay headed on a long punt upfield from Hednesford keeper Dan Crane into the path of Nick Wellecomme, who fired narrowly over.
At the other end, Mark Reed saw a low shot blocked, before Kieran Lugsden headed wide of an open goal after Steve Ridley’s corner kick was headed on at the near post by Michael Towey. Then Ridley played the ball inside for Scott Maxfield but his pass across goal couldn’t find the boot of a Buxton player.
Scott Hartley got down well to palm away a Jamey Osbourne volley, but from the resulting set-piece the ball came out to Darren Campion and his left-footed volley from around 25 yards bounced over the diving keeper to give Hednesford the lead after half an hour.
Campion turned provider six minutes later when his header found the unmarked Wellecomme, who was gifted all the time in the world to pick his spot past a helpless Hartley.
As in the first 45 minutes, Buxton made a similarly encouraging start to the second half, and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Neil Stevens was blatantly barged off the ball.
Then, after good work on the left by Towey, Josh Wilde fired in a cross for Reed which was pawed away impressively by Crane with a reflex, one-handed save.
With an hour gone, Buxton were finally rewarded for their dominance when Stevens met a pinpoint Reed cross with an equally accurate diving header.
However, any hopes of a comeback were immediately quashed when Hay dispossessed Grant Black on the edge of his own area. His pass across goal was cleared, but fell kindly to the unmarked Cristopher Clements.
Then followed late drama as Buxton had a second penalty appeal turned down when Kieran Lugsden was felled by Cheyenne Dunkley, although the defender looked to claim the ball.
Towey hit the woodwork late on in the match, while goalscorer Stevens was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for comments alleged to have been made towards a linesman.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Wilde, Williams, Horne (Agus, 45), Maxfield (c), Stevens, Towey, Reed, Lugsden, Ridley (Pembleton, 68). Subs not used: Johnson, Taylor, Liversidge. Attendance: 305.