Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Frickley Athletic 1 v Buxton 1 - Evo-Stik Premier Division

Left click image to enlarge

Tuesday 1st November 2011
at the Tech 5 Stadium, Westfield Lane, South Elmsall
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, Premier Division
Frickley Athletic (0) 1
Mark Gray 88
Buxton (1) 1
Mark Reed 7
Admission £8, Programme £1.50, Attendance 228
Tonight's match referee Matt Walsh back in his playing days

I think either of these sides would have been entitled to feel justifiably aggrieved if they hadn't got anything out of this evenly balanced game. So in the end, even though Frickley left it very late to get their equalising goal, a draw was probably a fair result.
On the back of getting a point away at high flying Chester at the weekend (the first point Chester had dropped at home since 13th August), maybe some of the Blues faithful had this one down as a home banker tonight, but Buxton were a tough nut to crack and I don't see them still struggling in the relegation places, near the foot of the table as the season reaches the make or break Easter period.
This season, Mark Reed is averaging a goal every other game for Buxton and he kept up his record by heading home the opening goal on 7 minutes.
Peter Knox and Ollie Ryan were playing up front for Frickley, it looks like a promising combination that the Blues will be hoping they can use more often, now that Ryan is coming back from injury.
Hopefully Knox's work commitments will allow the partnership to flourish and he'll be available more often over the coming months.
Mark Gray, a 19 year old central defender on loan from Gainsborough Trinity, started alongside Lincoln Adams in the middle of defence, while Stuart Ludlam, the Frickley captain since Michael Simpkins left the club 'by mutual consent' this week, moved out to left back.
There was a lot of conjecture and rumour about Simpkins departure flying around, but I think it would be fair to say that his move to Belper Town, where he will team up again with his former manager from when he was at Retford United, Peter Duffield, is best for all concerned.
I've always liked Simpkins' no nonsense, take no prisoners style, but it's not really been happening for him at Frickley this season ... and a verbal disagreement with a couple of critical supporters, combined with an invitation to escalate that disagreement in the car park, at the end of a recent home defeat to FC United of Manchester, probably marked the end of the line for the big centre half at Westfield Lane.
His 'alleged' remarks that he better get picked when he was fit again after his recent injury, or he was leaving, in spite of Adams and Ludlam playing well together at the back through an impressive spell, spread like wildfire, as bad news generally does, be it fact or fiction ... and that was probably what stirred up the people who criticised him after the FCUM defeat.
Either way, young Mark Gray has fitted in to the defence immediately and looked very impressive alongside Lincoln Adams tonight. It remains to be seen if he stays at Frickley or returns to Trinity, but either way, he looks like a great prospect.
Buxton shaded the first half, possession wise, but both Pete Knox and Ryan Mallon also came close for the home side, while Ollie Ryan was making a nuisance of himself around the visitors box.
Kieran Lugsden and Mark Reed, the front pair for the visitors tonight, look like and handful for any defence at this level.
In the first minute of the second half Ollie Ryan had a goal struck off for being offside.
Buxton then had a spell where they put the Blues under pressure, but a succession of corner kicks amounted to nothing more than Louis Horne finding the side netting with a header.
Then play switched the other way again and Adam Reid the visitors keep had a busy time of it for a while, keeping out Knox twice and then Gray, who had found the space to get his head on an Alex Callery corner.
Frickley substitute Brad Grayson, on for Danny Walsh in the 75th minute, then had an effort cleared off the line and it looked as if time was running out for the home side.
Buxton then counter attacked and almost gave themselves a two goal cushion, but Kieran Lugsden's shot was well saved by Adam Billard. With just ten minutes left on the clock, it was a vital intervention from Billard, who kept his side in the game.
With two minutes left on the clock, Frickley's desire and determination was rewarded when Mark Gray equalled Mark Reed's goal every other game ratio (well it was his second game for Frickley Athletic) and smashed the ball home from just inside the area.
Buxton must've been gutted to have conceded a goal so late, after keeping Frickley's attack at bay right until the very end of the game, but the home side deserved a point out of the game at the very least, that said, both sides did.
At times it wasn't exactly what the purists would call an aesthetically pretty game to watch, but you couldn't fault either side for effort and in my humble opinion, a goal and a point apiece was a fair outcome.

Open letter to the Ministry of Transport:
Listen you lot!
I appreciate that it causes less disruption if you carry out vital maintenance work on the A1 southbound at night, but isn't 10PM a bit early to be closing the road and diverting everybody through Doncaster town centre?
Especially when Donny Rovers have been playing at home to a well supported team.
Don't do it again, Grr!!!
Next up - Tomorrow I will be at the NMU19L game between Harworth Colliery Institute and Southwell City.