Travelling Bucks miss their chance

Evo-Stik Premier Division

Grantham Town 0

Buxton 0

ON TUESDAY evening’s goalless draw in Lincolnshire, Buxton’s verdict must surely be one of two points lost rather than of one gained.

Grantham could pass the ball about accurately enough and enjoyed at least 50 per cent of the possession but their huffing and puffing in Buxton’s half failed to force a save from Ian Deakin all evening as the visitors’ sound defence comfortably kept Town at bay. Therefore, for much of the match it seemed as if one Buxton goal would be enough to secure full points but that proved elusive.

Kevin Sandwith provided the usual opportunities from his set-piece deliveries, notably in the 44th minute when Marc Roberts converted his deep free-kick only to be given marginally offside and late in the encounter when another free-kick somehow evaded several attackers.

Centre-back Roberts was a danger to Grantham throughout with his exceptionally long throw-ins and here was an occasion when he was able to show the great variety of his repertoire as the surrounding running track allowed him a full run-up prior to the launch of his missiles.

Remarkably, the home defenders survived all assaults. These set-piece opportunities came at regular intervals but in open play the Bucks were very much out of sorts in the first half.

With the midfield unable to develop a passing game, the strikers were left to feed unsuccessfully off scraps as the long ball dominated Buxton attempts to attack.

However, the introduction of Mark Reed, named as substitute after a three-hour journey, coincided with a much improved Buxton method and the striker, operating on the right, twice created gilt-edged openings that should have won the match but both were spurned, having fallen to Kieran Lugsden in prime positions.

In the 65th minute Reed’s superb low curling pass found his team-mate only two yards out but he miscued in front of goal and six minutes later Reed repeated the offering only for Lugsden to shoot wide from 12 yards.

By this stage the game had opened up after a first half best forgotten. In that period Buxton went closest to scoring as a result of a Grant Black long ball down the middle. Michael Towey nudged it over keeper Martin but the pace of two recovering defenders thwarted him.

Grantham responded with a decent passing move, but left-back Potts blazed high over the bar and in the last ten minutes the home side’s hopes of a win were dashed when fussy referee Hutchinson reduced them to ten men but they hung on and the points were shared.

Buxton: Deakin, Black, Haggerty, Roberts, Sandwith, Istead, Towey, Keane, Maxfield (Griffiths-Junior 53), Morris (Reed 53), Lugsden (Stevens 90). Attendance: 177.