Buxton gave boss Martin McIntosh the positive response he requested following their FA Cup exit but couldn’t break down Barwell on Saturday in a 0-0 draw at the Silverlands.
Visiting keeper Max Smith-Varnam was the Barwell player mostly responsible for the top-of the table Bucks dropping two points,making several vital saves and being mistake-proof throughout.
Keeping a clean sheet for the fifth time in seven league games, the Bucks enjoyed a majority of possession and goal-scoring chances but a combination of resilient defending and fine goalkeeping kept them at bay
The Bucks played well enough at both ends of the pitch with the visitors limited to just a few openings, two of which came early with Joel Bembo-Leta recovering to concede a corner, then Brad Abbott blocked loanee Shorthouse’s shot.
The Bucks soon produced a spell of pressure for a far-post Alastair Taylor header from an Abbott cross to miss the target.
Nicky Walker’s shot was blocked following a Bradley Grayson pull back, while the visiting ‘keeper smothered Niall Doran’s low cross under pressure.
Grayson had a goal ruled out for offside on the half-hour but the striker then shot wide from a favourable position when set up by Walker before he also had a shot blocked after receiving Taylor’s cross. For Barwell, defender Niall Rowe put a speculative shot over the bar.
Buxton’s pressure continued into the second-half but more gritty defending thwarted the attacks, with Walker’s shot blocked and Grayson hitting the side netting.
Sub Jamie Jackson was added but he too had a shot blocked close to goal while Grayson did more good work to set himself up for a power drive that passed a yard wide.
Buxton’s last attempt of note was a spectacular screamer of a Walker shot that was tipped over the bar by the flying keeper and Barwell’s resilience to the end earned a hard-won point.