Buxton boost play-off hopes after controversial derby win at Matlock

Matlock v Buxton.'Buxton's Liam Hardy gets to the ball ahead of Laurie Wilson.
Matlock v Buxton.'Buxton's Liam Hardy gets to the ball ahead of Laurie Wilson.

Buxton gave their play-off hopes a boost after coming from behind to beat ten man Matlock in a Boxing Day derby filled with controversy.

Craig Nelthorpe’s fine strike gave the Gladiators a 23rd minute lead with Buxton replying through the league’s top scorer Liam Hardy ten minutes later.

Matlock v Buxton.'Liam Needham flies in to meet an incoming ball meant for Warren Burrell.

Matlock v Buxton.'Liam Needham flies in to meet an incoming ball meant for Warren Burrell.

Matlock skipper Ted Cribley was sent off for a 51st minute altercation with Jamie Green, which left the Matlock officials feeling referee Sean Richardson was not up to the job in refereeing a derby of such intensity.

Buxton took full advantage and Bradley Barraclough won all three points for the visitors six minutes from time.

Buxton were unfortunate not to go in front early on when from a right wing corner Joel Bembo Leta’s goalward header found the slightest of deflections off Micky Harcourt’s studs to roll against the post before being hacked clear.

Matlock replied with Niall McManus finding space to see a powerful shot blocked by Glen Belezika.

Laurie Wilson’s free-kick then found Joel Purkiss whose cross fizzed across the Bucks’ penalty box, before Matlock took the lead in fine style in the 23rd minute.

Cribley was the creator as he found Nelthorpe on the left with an inch perfect diagonal pass and the winger took the ball in his stride to ling low cross drive past Phil Barnes into the opposite corner.

The Bucks came roaring back and Hardy added to his goal tally by chipping into an emty net from the edge of the box.

Nicky Travis was hacked down by Burrell which saw just a yellow card issued when many referees would have issued a straight red.

A teasing free kick from Nelthorpe on the stroke of half time might have brought joy as just a touch could have seen Matlock regain the lead.

They came out positively in the second half with Nelthorpe releasing Purkiss on the left whose cross was well cut out by Bembo-Leta.

But Cribley’s sending off rocked Matlock after he had reacted to what he saw as a stamp from an opponent.

Ironically Matlock then created the next two chances and were unfortunate on both occasions with McManus and Purkiss going close.

Buxton increased the tempo towards the end, with a fine last ditch challenge from Wilson denying Barraclough.

But Barraclough made the headlines when he swept in a cross from the left to give Buxton’s play off hopes increased momentum.

There was still time for substitute Dan Cockerline to cut in and fire wide from distance and then McManus to head a Nelthorpe cross narrowly too high before the referee blew for full-time.