FA TROPHY HOLDERS 2015 & NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH PLAY-OFF CHAMPIONS 2016

Buxton 2 NFU 0 (Evo Prem)

Buxton 2-0 North Ferriby United

North Ferriby held on to top spot by a single point in spite of tasting only their third away league defeat of the season at Buxton, who also dumped the Villagers out of the FA Trophy back in October.

The game saw winger Chris White make his first appearance in a Ferriby shirt since May 2011 having spent the entirety of last season out with injury.

The opening exchange were beset with slips and trips from both sets of players as they acclimatised to the slick Silverlands surface, and it was a while before either side threatened a goal, the hosts drawing first blood when Adam Nicklin held onto Neil Stevens' dipping lob.

At the other end, Nicklin's opposite number Ian Deakin had to be alert to thwart Ferriby skipper Chris Bolder from close range.

Before the half was out, Nicklin made another smart save to deny Kieran Lugsden as he looked to head home Grant Black's cross, and Lugsden was again frustrated when he burst into the box and let fly only for Mark Gray to get in a crucial block.

Buxton began the second half apace, stringing together flowing attacking moves that belied their mid-table position. Nicklin did well to smother the spinning, slippery ball as it was met at the far post by the head of David Haggerty, but could to nothing about the home side's breakthrough on 51 minutes.

Stevens, who had a brief spell at Ferriby at the start of this season, ran to the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner with a precise low drive. Stevens tried his luck from further out soon afterwards, but this time Nicklin was equal to his 20-yarder.

After Gray cleared Kevin Sandwith's free kick off the line, Ferriby pushed forwards in search of an equaliser, with Ryan Kendall's effort on the break parried by Deakin.

However, with the game moving into its final ten minutes, the hosts gave themselves some breathing space when Black's free kick ballooned upwards off the Ferriby wall and after initially looking to be on its way out of play, dropped awkwardly in Nicklin's goalmouth where the keeper was beaten to the punch by the head of substitute Mark Reed.

Ferriby were far from out of the game, however, and Buxton had Deakin to thank for ensuring the Villagers went home empty-handed. First Dean Lisles' header from a Ryan Williams cross nearly curled around the home custodian and into the bottom corner, but a last-minute adjustment allowed him to gather low.

Danny Clarke's scissor kick was then expertly parried, and Ryan Williams' follow-up blocked, before Kendall found space in the box only to fire fractionally wide in added time.

Ferriby hope to maintain their perch atop the Evo Stik League when they welcome play-off hopefuls AFC Fylde to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium next Saturday.

Man of the Match: Ian Deakin (Buxton)

Attendance: 196

Ferriby: Adam Nicklin, Dean Lisles, Nathan Peat, Liam King, Gregg Anderson, Mark Gray, Danny Clarke, Russell Fry (Jack Muldoon, 58), Ryan Kendall, Chris White (Ryan Williams, 62) Subs not used: Paul Foot, Steve Ridley, Antoni Pecora

Buxton: Ian Deakin, Grant Black, Kevin Sandwith, Steve Istead, David Haggerty, Marc Roberts, Kieran Lugsden, Neil Stevens, Lee Morris (Mark Reed, 74), Scott Maxfield (Kallum Keane, 69), Sam Duncum Subs not used: Kyle Nix, Michael Towey, Jack Bradbury

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