Match Reports

Buxton 3-0 Steels

Stocksbridge Park Steels continued their pre-season warm-up with a 3-0 win against Buxton FC.

The match was hastily organised due to Stocksbridge’s match against Parkgate being cancelled with Buxton also having their game against Stalybridge Celtic called off. Both teams’ officials worked hard in order to ensure a pre-season friendly between the two sides was able to take place. Fans were rewarded with a fun run out between the two sides amid a pleasant Derbyshire evening.

Buxton took the lead after 15 minutes when they caught Stocksbridge unaware with a quick free kick allowing Diego De Girolamo to finish. Just before the half ended, good play allowed a trialist to score for Buxton. In the second, a quick throw-in caught out Stocksbridge and allowed Jason Gilchrist to finish.

The Bucks started off as the better side, showing why they won the Northern Premier League last season. They came very close to drawing first blood from a corner. Sean Newton was completely unmarked in the box when the outswinger was sent in and he headed it just wide, giving Harrison Davison-Hale an early scare. Not long after, De Girolamo showed his threat by hitting the side netting from close range.

De Girolamo soon found his goal. Buxton got a free kick around 40 yards out. Instead of the traditional boot into the box, they went quick and completely caught out the Stocksbridge defence who weren’t expecting it. This allowed De Girolamo an acre of space and he duly finished to give Buxton the lead.

Buxton continued to press as they looked to double their lead. It was actually the trialists looking to get a contract with the newly minted Conference side impressing, with one run ending with a shot going over the bar while another forced a good save from Davison-Hale.

At the other end, Stocksbridge did show the odd bit of a threat though they struggled to break through the back five of Buxton. The closest Stocksbridge came was when a trialist broke out of a two-man press at the corner flag to get into the box but he could only hit it into the side netting.

Buxton would double their lead before the end of the first half. De Girolamo and a trialist played good football between each other and this allowed the trialist to break into the box with space. His shot wasn’t the most powerful in the world with Davison-Hale getting a leg to it and Mitch Langton almost clearing it on the line, but it did eventually get into the back of the net. This meant Buxton had a two goal leading going into half time.

Like the game at Handsworth, Stocksbridge would completely change their team at half time. The only play to stay on was Langton, who moved from central defence to central midfield. He’d later be replaced by Kurtis Turner, returning to the game after also playing in the first half.

The Steels did show more attacking intent in the second half. Langton got Stocksbridge’s first shot on target when he was able to get his foot around a throw-in from outside of the box. It was a powerful effort and it forced Buxton’s trialist goalkeeper into a diving save. Clark Greaves, making his return to the first team after a long lay-off with injury, showed some pace and trickery to get into the box but there was a crucial tackle to stop him from getting a clear shot at goal.

While Stocksbridge were growing into the game and looking like they could score, it would be Buxton who’d strike next. It was from a quick throw-in, taken before the Steels defence even realised it was in play. This allowed the ball to be played to Gilchrist in space who finished the game off as a contest.

As the game continued, Stocksbridge did show plenty of bright moments that will give fans plenty of optimism for the new season. Good play from the Steels allowed the trialist to fire a shot just wide while they came closest when a Stocksbridge player’s bullet header went just wide. This didn’t meant defensive duties were ignored as the travelling side did have to clear one off the line, but it did show that Stocksbridge could get at a side who’ll be competing with the likes of Scarborough Athletic and Kettering Town this season.

In the end, Stocksbridge couldn’t get the goal some of their hard work deserved and their tough warm-up match against Buxton would end in a 3-0 defeat.

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