Matlock Town 1-1 Buxton
Oscar Radford’s 89th minute equalizer, his first goal of the season, earned Matlock a deserved point against ten man Buxton.
The Bucks scorer, a former Gladiators striker in Lee Morris, had been sent off for a 63rd minute second bookable offence, three minutes after nodding the visitors in front.
But Radford popped unto level late on to give Matlock the least they deserved from a disappointing affair which was halted constantly by referee Dave Plowright’s whistle, with both sides needing to take extra care going forward by not conceding possession needlessly in the final third.
Matlock had the better of the first half and while Buxton outscored the hosts on the corner count, they never troubled home goalkeeper Jon Kennedy.
In a half devoid of clear scoring chances, it would have needed something special to break the deadlock. But that extra quality was in short supply although Matlock came close on 12 minutes when the game’s best striker, Danny Holland, chased a seemingly lost cause down the right to cross low for midffielder Cecil Nyoni who stabbed wide from eight yards.
The next chance of a stale half did not come until the 40th minute when Holland turned sweetly on the edge of the penalty box to fiercely lash a low shot narrowly wide of the far post.
I between those chances Buxton forced four corners all comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Jon Kennedy and the Matlock defence in which Jack Broadhead, on loan to Buxton from Chesterfield earlier in the campaign, made outstanding interceptions.
Soon after the break Shaun Tuton turned sharply out on the right to fire across the face of the goal from a narrow angle before the Bucks had their best spell culminating in their goal.
Kennedy did well to push aside Craig King’s low free kick and from the corner the goalkeeper did equally well to turn away Matt Thornhill’s header.
But on the hour MORRIS steered a header from substitute James Handley’s cross low past Kennedy to edge the Bucks in front.
That proved to be his last contribution though for three minutes later he obstructed Laim Needham twenty yards from the Buxton goal and off he went for first use of the shower. In the first half Morris’ voice earned him a first yellow card from referee Plowright.
James Ashmore’s tame free kick was easily held by veteran goalkeeper
From then on Matlock struggled to make their extra man count. Substitute Corey Gregory headed a Radford cross over the bar in the 74th minute and with time running out, it looked as if Buxton would hold out.
But Warrington spilled a well struck shot from substitute Massiah McDonald and RADFORD, up supporting his colleagues from full back, slammed in the loose ball to set up what could have been a tense finale when five minutes of added time were played.
Buxton had named a strong starting line up, but could only show two substitutes and when defender Tim Ryan replaced prolific scorer Mark Reed in stoppage time, their intentions were loud and clear.
They held on without further alarm, but it meant that bragging rights in Derbyshire would go to Matlock as the highest placed club in the county. The draw meant that Matlock would hold a five point lead over the Bucks with one game left and Ilkeston further behind in the pecking order.
MATLOCK TOWN: 1 Jon Kennedy 2 Micky Harcourt ( 15 Corey Gregory 61) 3 Jack Broadhead 4 Martin Foster ( 14 Massiah McDonald 57) 5 Oscar Radford 6 Adam Yates 7 Liam Needham 8 James Ashmore 9 Danny Holland 10 Shaun Tuton 11 Cecil Nyoni (12 Daryll Thomas 75) Other subs: 16 Alex Bradshaw 17 Matty Leese
BUXTON: 1 Andy Warrington 2 Neil Stevens 3 Jamie Green (12 James Handley 49) 4 Josh Davies 5 Ash Palmer 6 Sam Brooks 7 Matt Thornhill 8 Derek Niven 9 Mark Reed (14 Tim Ryan 90), 10 Lee Morris 11 Craig King
REFEREE: D Plowright (Clipstone) ATTENDANCE: 434 BEST GLADIATOR: Jack Broadhead BEST BUCK: Ash Palmer