5:25pm Saturday 19th October 2013
By Craig Stoddart
Final Score: Buxton 1 Darlington 1
Stephen Thompson saw an injury time penalty saved meaning Darlington face a replay on Wednesday against Buxton after being held to a 1-1 draw in Derbyshire.
The forward was tripped in the 92nd minute, but his effort from the spot - placed instead of powerful was saved by Andy Warrington who also stopped David Dowson’s follow-up.
A win would have been fair as Darlington put in an excellent performance against a side that are seventh in the division above.
They were on top for the most part, especially during the first half when they missed more than enough chances to win.
But the display was particularly admirable given that manager Martin Gray had to make two changes to his line-up after players withdrew from the team in the warm-up.
Chris Moore fell ill while Amar Purewal suffered recurrence of the groin strain he sustained on Monday at Curzon Ashton, so that meant a reshuffle and in came Jonny Davis and Steven Johnson, who had been expecting to be substitutes.
The tinkering meant Darlington had to make five positional changes, among them Leon Scott moving to left-back, Terry Galbraith to left-midfield and Thompson to right midfield.
And it was Thompson who had Darlington's first two shots from outside the penalty area, but seeing Warrington deny him on each occasion while from a corner, one of nine Darlington won before the break, Alan White had a close-range shot cleared off the line.
Between those chances, Buxton made a rare foray that saw Lee Morris out-jump White and head into Neil Stevens’ path, but the Buxton midfielder volleyed over from inside the six yard box.
A Thompson long ball that David Dowson chased saw the forward take a couple of touches before looking up and picking out Davis who put everything behind his first-time shot, but the effort was too central and Warrington saved.
Warrington was Quakers’ nemesis again when Curtis Edwards had a left-footed shot that was parried wide for a corner.
It was a more even contest in the second half that got off to a low-key start, until Thompson thundered the ball past Warrington.
From a central position outside the penalty area he blasted the ball with his weaker left foot past the keeper – it was the only way Darlington were going to beat the former Doncaster man.
But nine minutes later the hosts levelled in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
Right-back Grant Black pinged a cross-cum-shot into the penalty area that Matt Thornhill instinctively got his head to and diverted the ball beyond Mark Bell.
Just before the equaliser, Dowson had a shot inside the penalty area saved by Warrington, who gathered the follow-up Steven Johnson could pounce and the visitors continued to create chances in the closing stages.
They piled on the pressure, but a Thompson free-kick was just wide and a Dowson shot struck the outside of the post, before the moment in injury time that looked like handing Darlington the game.
Edwards’ ball forward was taken down by Thompson and his sharp turn was stopped by left-back Jamie Green, but Warrington again denied Darlington meaning the sides meet again on Wednesday.
Goals: Thompson (60, 0-1); Thornhill (69, 1-1)
Bookings: Istead (7, foul), Green (37, foul)
Referee: Thomas Bramall
Buxton: Warrington, Black, Green, Istead, Palmer, Ryan, Thornhill, Stevens (Lugsden 56), Morris, Osborne (Broadhead 90), King. Subs (not used): Johnson, Stanway (gk)
Darlington (4-4-2): Bell; Pilatos, Hunter, White, Scott; Thompson, Davis, Edwards, Galbraith (J Robinson 64), Johnson, Dowson. Subs (not used): Jameson (gk), P Robinson
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