Like the Napoleonic armies prior to reaching the gates of Moscow, Buxton had been unbeaten on their travels so far this season but found themselves similarly repelled at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium, returning home disheveled, disheartened and thoroughly defeated.

The scoreline did not reflect the Rams superiority over the full 90 minutes or a performance that was almost complete and perfect in its execution.

For a few weeks there has been signs of the brewing storm which swept Buxton away; the odd thunderous attack and lightning strike in the area.  On Saturday, all the elements came together as the Rams gave a sustained display of solid defence, control in midfield and accurate passing at pace in attack.

The win was based on three partnerships; Steve Howson, firm and resolute, and Cedric Krou all languid elegance in interception and distribution, denying Buxton sight of never mind an effort on goal; Scott Burton and Gary Stopforth, whose return to full match fitness is no coincidence with the teams uplift in form providing a firm base to allow Grant Spencer to roam and torment at will and not least Joel Pilkington and Phil Dean down the left.

For 45 minutes there was an intriguing tussle between Dean and Steve Istead, the Buxton right full back.  It was matador against bull, Dean attacking at pace with feint and dummy, Istead lunging in, turned in and out, sticking to his task bravely but with building desperation and by half time having been booked only one mistimed tackle away from a red card.

Buxton, sensing that dilemma, substituted him at half time – but what false economy.  The first touch of his replacement, Stuart Ludlum, was a push into Phil Dean’s back, clear in the area just two minutes into the second half.  Red card not having touched the ball!  Osebi Abadaki ripped the penalty high into the roof of the net.

Jordan Hulme had a chance to double the lead moments later only to skew wide but it was just a matter of time before the Rams scored again with a goal of beauty in its construction and finish.  On 69 minutes, a double exchange at pace and with precision between Hulme and Spencer carved out yards of space for Dean on the corner of the box.  Dean with the cold eyed calmness of the matador delivering the final thrust, steadied himself, touched the ball forward and sent a shot screaming past a bewildered goalkeeper into the far corner.  Quite superb.

A flurry of substitutions took some heat out of the Rams attack but there was still time for Tom Williams to show the virtue of the early, well delivered ball from wide into the box and Nelson Mota, contriving to walk around the keeper twice in the same movement but not find the net from inside the 6 yard box.

There are tough matches ahead but momentum and belief is growing that this just might be another extraordinary season.

RAMSBOTTOM UNITED team: Grant Shenton, Dominic Smalley, Joel Pilkington, Gary Stopforth, Steven Howson, Cedric Krou, Osebi Abadaki, Scott Burton, Jordan Hulme, Grant Spencer, Phil Dean.  Subs: Tom Williams (for Abadaki 77mins), Nelson Mota (for Dean 77mins), Malachi Slaven, Jon Robinson (for Spencer 80mins), Lee Pugh.


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