North Notts Hockey Club seal smash and grab win at Buxton

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North Notts produced a smash a grab result on Saturday when they travelled to Buxton and came away with all three points after Allen Butler scored his 13th of the season.

It was a relief for boss Jason Faulker who admitted his side had ridden their luck.

“A big three points for us today, were aware that that we have ridden our luck,” he said.

“We also feel that we’ve made our own luck and some stellar performances today from Paul Unwin, Matt Cooper and Josh Singleton have carried us through.

“Last season we were on the end of so many defeats by the odd goal so at last it’s nice to be on the right side of these results.

“But next week we face title favourites Boots who will be a very hard challenge even at Manor Park they will be expecting to take all three points”.

Notts welcomed back Joshua Singleton, but were without South African William Butler who was suffering with a hamstring injury.

With Josh Singleton on the bench it was left to Nathan Smith to control the game in the midfield during the early stages.

Both sides went close early on and it was apparent that Buxton would be happy to try to counter any North Notts breaks using their young pacey forward to test the Notts back line.

On 20 minutes Buxton broke though the Notts defensive line only for Goalkeeper Paul Unwin to make a fine save.

Unwin’s heroics seemed to spur Notts into life and, after a series of sustained attacks, Notts finally took the lead when Allen Butler netted on 25 minutes. Notts nearly increased the lead two minutes later when James Latta hit the post after he was found open at the top of the “D.”

With half-time a minute away Notts had the ball in the net through Reginald Anthony only to have it ruled out due to the pass finding him being adjudged to be dangerous.

Buxton had a penalty corner goal ruled out on the stroke of half-time after the umpire spoted an infringement.

Notts were buoyant at half-time and determined to take all three points utilising the flaws identified in the home side’s formation.

Notts began to create more and more chances in the second half and Buxton were again reliant on the counter attack.

On one such attack Buxton bared down on the Notts goal with a two against one.

As the Buxton forward tried to find his counterpart a sprawling Matt Cooper manager to intercept the ball sending it over the baseline.

With the ball deliberately played over the base line the umpire had no hesitation in awarding a penalty corner.

From the resulting corner Notts were again indebted to goalkeeper Paul Unwin who saved.

With the game moving into the last quarter Notts fitness was beginning to show as they were beginning to get to the 50-50 balls in midfield first.

Both sides then lost players to green cards for rash challenges as the umpires tried to keep decisions consistent.

Fortunately for Notts it was looking like it would be their day as Buxton repeatedly failed to find the goal they needed as several chances were squandered in front of the Notts goal.

Buxton had the last clear cut chance after another goalmouth scramble, but again it was apparent this was Notts day as the ball drifted wide of the Notts goal.