Unstoppable Hawley half-volley condemns Buxton to home loss

Karl Hawley, pictured playing for Alfreton, scored for Sutton Coldfield
Karl Hawley, pictured playing for Alfreton, scored for Sutton Coldfield

A spectacular half-volley from veteran striker Karl Hawley was all that separated Buxton and visitors Sutton Coldfield Town in the Evo-Stik Premier on Saturday.

Hawley, the division’s golden boot winner with Stourbridge just two years ago, wowed the Silverlands spectators with a fine finish in the 67th-minute, worthy of winning any game.

And it was all that was needed for an already relegated Sutton Coldfield side, with organisation and spirit, to take three points off Buxton - playing their ninth fixture in 22 days.

What’s more, the Bucks had played twice since their opponent’s previous match a week ago. Nonetheless they created enough clear openings to have won full points, even in second-half added time alone.

Though the home defence was unchanged, the joint-managers freshened up the midfield with the recall of Doran, McGee and Ravenhill while Wilson re-claimed the No. 9 shirt at the expense of Grayson.

The visitors made a positive start up the slope and a neat combination set up Telford loanee, Louis McGrory, for a curling shot wide of goal.

Buxton’s best chances of the first half fell to Liam Hardy, whose 19-yard free-kick in the ninth minute brought a flying save out of ‘keeper Jono Brown, and to Joe McGee in the 36th with a shot over the bar after Ant Wilson had successfully chased a seeming lost cause.

Ex-Coalville ‘keeper, Matt Coton, replaced the injured Brown for the second half and seven minutes in saw a Nico header, from a McGee pass, strike the bar on its way out of play.

On the hour Coton made a fine low save to deny McGee’s drive, the midfielder having worked an opening for himself. Seven minutes later came the only goal that was good enough to decide any game with Hawley displaying the game’s outstanding piece of skill.

In response ‘the Bucks’ continued to create chances and even netted through substitute Callum Chippendale in the 81st minute but Wilson’s pull-back was deemed to have first passed out of play.

Even in the five minutes of added time they made further openings, the grounded Chippendale firing over from six yards then heading directly at Coton before Hardy, the league’s leading scorer, shot over the bar from Greg Young’s chest-down.

So 134 years of Buxton first-teams playing on the Silverlands turf has most likely come to an end.

However, the loss of the turf will surely be felt less by many when considering the number of weather postponements this winter, the resulting overloaded fixture list and the difficult, weather-related playing conditions of Saturday.

Buxton: Budtz, Meade, McWilliams, Degirolamo, Young, Ravenhill, Hinsley (Chippendale), McGee, Wilson, Hardy, Doran (Oyibo). Subs not used: Baker, Broadhead, Needham.