Buxton win A6 derby to put themselves on the brink of title glory

Defender Dan Cowan struck the decisive blow on 17 minutes to win the A6 derby and virtually clinch the league title for Buxton in front of a massive 2,456 crowd (writes Ian Richardson)

By Mark Duffy
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 9:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 10:06 am

Only an impossible-looking capitulation from the Bucks on the final day at Stalybridge and an emphatic South Shields win at foot of the table Grantham can prevent Steve Cunningham’s men promotion as champions.

As far as Matlock are concerned, it’s going to be a nerve-filled last day, the defeat seeing them slip to fifth behind Scarborough and Warrington, both winners on the day and ahead, just, of Bamber Bridge who have hit form at just the right time, their latest success being a 1-0 win at Lancaster City.

If Matlock can equal Bamber Bridge’s last day result, they will clinch a play-off place but it is now ‘squeaky bum time’ for the Gladiators who looked home and dry a month earlier.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Osebi Abadaki tries to close down Lindon Meikle in Monday's derby. Photo by Jason Chadwick.

Matlock made the brighter start, Liam Hughes rising to head narrowly wide from a corner. Then Bucks midfielder Tommy Elliott was well-placed to block Osebi Abadaki’s shot before Buxton’s first meaningful foray forward saw |Reece Kendall make a fine block to clear an effort from Lindon Meikle.

Buxton increased the tempo and made the breakthrough when a corner was recycled and Cowan headed firmly past Paul Cooper from six yards.

Matlock were then happy to see a Dan Newton free-kick narrowly clear the bar, quickly followed by a long-range blast from Warren Clarke which suffered a similar fate.

Looking to double their advantage, the Bucks threatened again when the evergreen Jamie Ward’s ambitious effort from distance was too high before on 36 minutes, Ash Chambers wriggled free to fire a diagonal drive which was deflected behind.

Matlock held out until the interval with two fine blocks from successive strikes by Diego de Girolamo and Elliott.

Matlock had a great chance to draw level four minutes after the restart, Danny Greenfield finding himself with a clear shot at goal which goalkeeper Theo Richardson did well to parry.

Kendall headed wide from a corner before Buxton came back strongly with Cooper glad to see Clarke’s shot fall wide before he tipped another Clarke shot over the bar. Cooper would then make a fine save to his right to keep out a De Girolamo shot as the game reached its climax.

A huge cheer erupted when the crowd realised Whitby had overturned a half-time deficit to lead at South Shields. The title was in the hosts’ grasp but they were lucky to survive late on when Richardson pulled off a stunning save from a Hughes header and from the corner, it appeared that another Hughes header would go in but it was narrowly and desperately wide.

The final whistle then blew and it was celebrations all round afterwards for Buxton, their title victory will be confirmed at the weekend barring a disaster.

Matlock will be hoping they can find the goals to qualify for the play-offs and ultimately join them in National League North next term.

For a match action gallery from Monday’s game CLICK HERE.

For a gallery featuring Buxton celebrations CLICK HERE.