Report: Winning Start for Champion Dollies
If there was any doubt that the Dolly Blues wouldn't be able to hold their own in their new surroundings...
... they were erased with a hard fought victory at promotion chasing Buxton.
With the added achievement of overturning an early goal for the hosts to seal a comeback victory, the first victory for Phil Brown's side in the Premier Division felt like business as usual for the Division 1 North Champions.
In a game that was few on chances with defences on top, the visitors were understandably cautious and nervy in the opening stages whilst the Bucks came flying out the traps. It took just 4 minutes to open the scoring when forward Alistair Taylor ran at the Dollies' defence before laying the ball off for Niall Doran to hit a powerful drive low into the bottom right corner.
The home side enjoyed most of the possession and territory in the opening half and in the early stages it looked as though it may be a long game for their newly promoted opponents. As the game progressed however, City grew into the game and fought back before levelling ten minutes before the interval thanks to a slice of good fortune
As a Lancaster corner was cleared the ball fell to Sam Bailey 25 yards from goal. With a quick touch to bring the ball down the midfielder hit a swerving shot that flew straight through keeper Jan Budtz's gloves to hand City the equaliser.
The second half was an almost complete reversal of the first. With the wind and gentle slope on the pitch on their side the Dolly Blues took the game to the Bucks, with winger Scott Harries putting in a particularly impressive display on the right flank. Despite dominating the half chances were next to none existent. Billy Akrigg's header from range was easily saved whilst Ryan Winder had a tame shot saved as the Dollies, playing with a sole striker, looked a little blunt up front.
It took a moment of real quality from Winder to set up the winner that on the balance of play was completely deserved. On the counter attack after the City defence cleared a Bucks corner the midfielder took the ball down halfway inside his own half, turned, and ran and the retreating Buxton backline.
Winder beat his man and carried the ball all the way to the box before squaring for striker Oliver Wood to calmly take a touch before hitting a deflected strike into the left corner of the net.
The final ten minutes of the game was a classic case of the proverbial kitchen sink from Buxton and a solid defensive holdout from the visitors. There was almost time for an injury time goal for Lancaster as substitute Tom Kilifin was hacked down with just the keeper to beat, but referee Rob Eley pointed for a corner, despite City's claims that there was no contact on the ball.
At the other end, no matter how many long balls or extra forwards Buxton threw into the box in the final minutes the Dollies' defence held firm to claim all three points and get the season off to a perfect start.