Oh what might have been

Buxton 2
Marine 1

Evostik Premier Division

Last season, you could barely keep me away from Silverlands. This season, I have managed to get to new Years Day before treking over to the capital of the Peak District. I think the problem is that the Evostik Premier no longer holds any appeal for me. Who ever knew that such a fixture could be too glamorous for me?

He was never so flash at Retford
Truth be told, it was the promise of seeing one-time Retford hero Neil Harvey ply his trade for Marine that really sold this game to me. That, and a visit to the Old Sun public house for pre-match cocktails. As it happened, only one of those lived up to the promise. But it could have been such a different story. He says, enticing the reader to read on...

I thought we had seen the back of the snow, but, this being Buxton, I guess I should have known better. In the short walk to the ground (having passed up my complimentary parking space, thanks anyway Mr Yates) it started to snow yet again, and I had cause, yet again, to be thankful for the man who invented thermal underwear. They may make you look like a special needs case when you strip off, but by jimminy they are a God send when hopping at the highest football ground in England.

A pint in the clubhouse, including a graphic re-enactment of the barmaid's efforts on her new Wii which would make a docker blush, and I was ready to brave the masses. Hardened drinkers will be delighted that Buxton continue to play silly beggars with league rulings regarding pich-side drinking. Me, I was happy to keep my hands in my pockets, which should go some way to explaining the paucity of photos to accompany this post.

"Lads, I reckon we've got a chance here"
Buxton were getting no end of joy by playing the ball between the visiting centre halves, and down the flanks. But both sides struggled to understand the concpet of boggy pitch holding up the ball. In a bizarre twist, both teams seemed insistant that they needed to play the ball on the floor whenever possible. Marine scrambled one off the goal line which got stuck in the mud, before finally getting the breakthrough. Industrious work by Mark Reed, who is another of those strikers you can't help but think has at least another division in him (see also Matlock's Ross Hannah, and Marine's Neil Harvey, amongst others) eventually saw Lugsden tap home from a yard out. Cue heated exchange in the Marine defence.

The inner sanctum
Moments later, Jamie Rainford hit the Buxton bar with what would have been my goal of the season, had it dropped in.  A long punt forward was lobbed forward on the volley from fully 45 yards out, and looped ever so agonisingly over the keeper. Then, the lauded (by me, granted) Harvey beat the home offside trap, but was thwarted as the home keeper dived at his feet. If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.

But Buxton did not push on, and Marine made them pay. Rainford had a punt from outside the box, and on the boggy surface, the ball squeezed under the home keeper to the joy of the fans behind the goal, and the discontent of the rest of the ground. Or did it? Subsequent discussion of the game on Twitter revealed the posibility the ball snuck in through the side of the netting....

So, one all at half time, and whilst the managers threw some tea cups, I spent 15 pleasant minutes in some VERY learn-ed company. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr Proctor.

The second half continued in much the same vein. Buxton had the bulk of the possession, but Marine were making the better chances. Harvey was again foiled by a last gasp save from the keeper, and there were half-hearted calls for a penalty as the impressive Brown side footed one goal-ward, only for it to be deflected wide.

Remember when it mattered this much?
Down the other end, Reed and Lugsden never stopped running which, given the state of the pitch, was no mean feat. That their colleagues saw them both as being a good four or five inches taller than they were did not seem to dishearten them too greatly. Although the onlooking fans certainly seemed to have had enough of it.

Apparently, Buxton got the winner with about 15 minutes to go. I have no recollection of this at all. Sorry.

I do recall Rainford trying to claim a penalty near the end, when it would have been simpler to pull it back to one of his colleagues. The boy is good, make no mistake. But very selfish, and, on this showing, very moody. There is a reason Lionel Messi is so widely acclaimed.

With full time came news of a really rather rubbish day in "proper" football. Only for things to be spiced up a little on the journey home with the news Stimpson had been sacked at Barnet. I like to think this majestic peice of artwork played in a part in the decision.

Your taxes at work
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