Profligate Mansfield threw away a 21-10 lead in a half-hour spell that gifted a hard-earned victory to Buxton in a hugely entertaining Midlands League game.
Buoyed by their first win of the Division Three East (North) season the previous week, Mansfield looked well on their way to another when gaining a seemingly unassailable advantage just after half-time.
But the hosts side battled back to edge ahead 22-21, and Mansfield’s despair intensified in the dying minutes when a penalty-kick bounced agonisingly off the upright, much to the delight of the home support.
Buxton duly rubbed salt into the wounds and went up the other end to cross the line again and complete a 29-21 victory to lift them to third in the table and leave Mansfield seventh.
The home side had also struck the opening points of the match with a penalty. But Mansfield’s quick recovery was inspired by Alex Miles, playing his first rugby for a year. Miles slipped the ball inside for Joe Ducker, who sidestepped two defenders before dotting down under the posts, and then he kicked the conversion.
Buxton replied with a try of their own to lead 10-7 before the blue-and-whites surged ahead 14-10 by the break as veteran hooker Lee Kirk emerged from a pile of bodies to score. And the lead was extended early in the second period when young winger Jack Sibecko intercepted and left everyone in his wake en route to the posts. Miles again converted.
To Buxton’s credit, they refused to panic and played a simple but effective game to claw their way back.
This Saturday (2.30 pm), Mansfield host Burntwood in the National Provincial Cup.