Evo-Stik Premier Division
Hucknall Town 0, Buxton FC 1
A LONE second half goal by Michael Towey, his 50th for the club, earned Buxton a first win in six games to climb to sixth place in the table last Wednesday.
With Matt Heywood fit again, manager John Reed opted for a 3-5-2 formation in a bid to create more goal-scoring opportunities through the full-backs playing in advanced positions.
However, Hucknall, in free-fall after no league victory since mid-November, countered with a negative set-up featuring just one attacker.
The result was an undistinguished opening 55 minutes until the Bucks scored, but thereafter, with Town introducing three forwards in a vain bid to equalise, the game improved considerably as a spectacle.
The early promise was provided by Hucknall’s attempt to play a passing game but their attacks foundered on the impressive trio of visiting centre-backs.
Buxton were soon dominating possession, though it took 17 minutes for any semblance of a fluent move to be constructed. Five minutes later, Towey headed directly at keeper Whalin following a free-kick, then Town offered virtually their only first-half threat with two dangerous low diagonal thrusts into the penalty area but the visiting defence held firm.
A Neil Stevens shot over the bar and a miscued Heywood effort wide of goal were just about all the Bucks had to show for their dominance.
However, ten minutes into the second period Buxton scored the vital goal from a well-constructed move begun on the right by Mark Reed and Kieran Lugsden. The ball was switched to the left, Tommy Agus delivered powerfully and Towey touched the ball home.
Hucknall’s response was both immediate and remarkable. Two additional forwards were introduced and the initiative was seized to make a mockery of their previous approach.
Burge shot wide from 20 yards and then Graham missed Town’s best chance. He chested down a Whitman cross but hit his drive too well, clearing the bar from ten yards out.
For Buxton, Lugsden’s good work produced a cross that Whalin dropped, Towey rounded him but found his goal-bound shot blocked.
Graham was replaced by Gill but fellow substitute Nightingale was equally profligate, firing high over the bar after Hucknall pounced on a half-clearance by Anderson.
So the Bucks took full points less than impressively, while Hucknall dropped into the relegation places.
Buxton: Hartley, Black, Anderson, Heywood, Agus, Wilde, Towey, Maxfield, Stevens, Reed, Lugsden (Benger, 84). Subs: Askey, Liversidge, Ovington, Pembleton. Attendance: 186.