Report by Phil Castiaux
In association with:
Alan McLean FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Evo-Stik Premier League
Saturday 11th March 2017
BUXTON 2 – 2 BLYTH SPARTANS
An enthralling game saw fourth place Buxton take a two-goal lead over the league leaders Blyth before the Spartans mounted a spirited come back to claim a worthy draw.
The visitors were first out of the blocks when Daniel Maguire put Luke Armstrong through but Buxton goalkeeper Jan Budtz was swiftly out to collect. But it was Buxton who fashioned the first clear cut chance when Joe McGee fired in a dangerous low cross which narrowly eluded the stretching Liam Hardy and Paul Woolston, in the Blyth goal, was able to pounce on the ball.
Buxton were starting to dictate play and Spartans’ defender Richard Pell was called on, several times, to clear the danger as was his fellow defender Jordan Watson when Joe McGee looked to be about to head towards goal but the Northern Irishman was on hand and got to the ball first.
At the other end, it took a last ditch and well-timed, tackle from Buxton’s Greg Young to halt a penetrative run in to the penalty box by Blyth’s Adam Wrightson. From the resulting corner Pell somewhat scuffed his shot which went two yards wide of Budtz’s goal.
The Bucks took the lead after 18 minutes when a neat one-two put Liam Hardy through on goal and he wasted no time in firing low past Woolston’s right hand. Blyth could have equalised within minutes but a pass from Luke Armstrong appeared to hit the standing foot of Sean Reid, who was attempting to shoot from six yards out, and the ball was cleared.
The home side were causing problems for the Blyth defence with their pacey passing and clever movement. Their possession paid off after 25 minutes when they extended their lead. Jordan Watson was adjudged to have fouled Joe McGee 20 yards out. Fullback Jamie Green took the free-kick which sailed over keeper Woolston and the head of Sean Reid and nestled in the very top corner of the Blyth net.
The Spartans did try to respond to this further setback. Reid headed narrowly passed the post before another dynamic Wrightson run saw him cut in from the right but his left foot attempt was wide. A Robbie Dale free kick was well held by Budtz before Blyth got what they deserved for their efforts when a Dale free-kick fell to Maguire who smartly stabbed the ball home from three yards to make it 2-1 at the break.
Blyth resumed in more determined fashion after half time.
Following another Dale free-kick a Reid shot rebounded to Maguire but the rangy Budtz was quick to smother his shot. Reid was then able to round the Buxton keeper but Danny Burns was well positioned to clear his effort. On 60 minutes a lovely through ball by Jordan Laidler found Maguire whose first touch was exquisite but his shot was then cleared as Blyth were beginning to find an extra gear.
A Reid snap-shot was tipped over the bar by Budtz before a first-time volley by Maguire was well held by the diving keeper. However, Maguire was not going to be denied for long and on 65 minutes he equalised for the Spartans, poking the ball home following precise interplay with Armstrong.
Buxton responded positively to the set-back and created four half chances within as many minutes. First they claimed Reid had handled the ball in the penalty area following a shot by Brad Abbott but the referee waved away their protestations. Brad Grayson then shot wide twice before he forced Woolston into an excellent save.
As the game ebbed and flowed it was Blyth who went on to wrest back the initiative. A low Andrew Cartwright cross was met by the on-rushing Armstrong and his shot skimmed only just wide of the post. David McTiernan nearly got his head on a Dale cross before Maguire smashed in a shot which eluded the target.
The game finished 2-2 with both sides probably thinking a draw was a fair result.
Buxton: Budtz, Williams, Green, Ravenhill, Burns, Young, McGee, Abbott, Hinsley (Grayson 67), Hardy (Jackson 70), Doran.
Subs not used: Walker, Bembo-Leta, Jameson.
Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Cartwright, Watson, Laidler, Pell (McTiernan 75), Buddle (Liddle 28), Wrightson, Reid, Maguire, Armstrong, Dale
Unused subs: Pattison, Hutchinson, Bell.
Referee: Ben Speedie
Spartans Man of the Match: Jordan Watson