Buxton v FC United of Manchester, Saturday 18th December 2021, 3pm

I’ve no recollection of ever having been to Buxton before but having noticed that Richard Hawley was playing there we decided to pop down for the weekend. It’s a decent place for a mooch about and on the edge of the Peak District so ideal for doing some walking. The weather was poor though and so Jen and I did no more than wander around town.

Buxton seems to provide a lot of the mineral water that you see on supermarket shelves and if you live there you can drink it fresh from the ground. I had a couple of handfuls from a tap in town and it was warmer than I’d expected, although not as warm as the near scalding stuff that I sampled in Spain a few years ago.

The Hawley gig was at the Opera House. It’s an interesting building and about one hundred and twenty years old. We had seats in the front row of the fourth-tier gallery which I was happy with as it kept us out of the way of most of the rest of the audience.

The Opera House could do with more functional bars, although if I ever went back I might just save some lengthy queuing and a bit of cash by taking a few drinks of my own in.

Richard Hawley was ok. I’m not a massive fan but liked his Coles Corner album. I don’t think I’ve listened to anything else since though. We hung around for an hour of the set and then cleared off. He’d played his hit and so I was happy enough with that.

Next day, Buxton were at home to FC United of Manchester in the seventh tier Northern Premier League Premier Division. It’s the division that Scarborough and Whitby both play in and one up from Stockton’s current position in the pyramid.

Before heading for the game, I watched the Boro’s early kick-off in the Queen’s Head. We look as if we are improving match by match under Chris Wilder and I think a play-off place could well be within reach.

It was a tenner in at the Tarmac Silverlands Stadium. I’m sure I read somewhere that it’s the highest stadium in England. Or maybe the Opera House was the highest Edwardian music hall. Or perhaps I’ve just made it up. Who knows?

The fans were generally segregated which is rare at this level. I know FC United pride themselves on doing a lot of singing but it seems astonishing that they would be up for a scrap. We went in the Buxton half of the ground on the basis that I’m happy to sit in as quiet an area as possible.

We ended up in the main stand which gave a reasonable view between the stanchions. People were spacing themselves out although not many were wearing masks. There was drizzle in the air and so I was glad of the roof.

There were more Buxton fans in a covered stand to our right with the FC United fans occupying a covered standing section opposite and the open area behind the goal to our left.

The most notable aspect of the game was the fog. It cleared at times in the first half but there were periods of play where the only thing I could see reasonably well on the opposite touchline was the lino’s luminous flag. The FC United goalie was in a grey kit that rendered him virtually invisible.

The game was niggly from the start and it all kicked off when someone appeared to be deliberately stood on. A dozen or so players got stuck into each other with the remainder being far enough away not to be able to see the fracas through the fog.

Buxton were the better side in that first half and took the lead through a well-planted header. They went into the game top of the table with FC United just about in the top half.

In the second half the visibility got worse. When the ball went over to the corner flag to my left, I couldn’t see any action at all. The visitors coped just fine with the fog though and scored twice to take a well-deserved win. As Mr. Hawley so nearly said, ‘Tonight The Streets Were Theirs’.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: