For Buckley Town this game did not even start until the substitutions were made in the second half. They changed both the attitude and the desire to get something out of the game after falling 2-0 down by half time.
One of those subs Connor Littler reduced that lead to 2-1 after 78 minutes and Buckley then put Ruthin under sustained pressure. Lewis Hone had a great header ruled out by the linesman which would have made it 2-2 and also had two other great chances thwarted by Ruthin keeper Ryan Goldston to pull the difference back before Ruthin broke away to score a third after Joe Makaruk brought down a Ruthin forward to prevent him scoring. Unfortunately, he could not stop the ensuing penalty, and Ruthin made it 3-1 on the day.
Buckley’s performance and the availability of all players in the squad need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a relegation battle this season and that battle commences with a home game against the club 3rd bottom Llanfair United next Saturday where 3 points will pretty much be a necessity.
As we enter the last third of the season it will be interesting to see what our young side has learnt from the season so far.
The away game at Ruthin Town was a good test of that thought, as playing a side just above them in the league at his point in the season, would tend to suggest that both sides would be well matched. This was the case but Buckley Town looked the more likely of the two sides to break the deadlock as most of the play took place in the Ruthin Town half with Buckley keeper Joe Makaruk only being tested once throughout the game whilst Ryan Goldstones at the other end kept Buckley at bay with a string of saves throughout the game that would earn him Ruthin’s man of the match tag.
The sides went into half time in deadlock at 0-0 but Buckley came out in the second half at a pace forcing corner after corner and set plays that put Ruthin under significant pressure. It was from one of these corners that Buckley took the lead.
Aled Bellis delivered his usual accuracy from the set play with a left sided corner that was swung into the back-post area where Luke Blizard was waiting to side foot a shot in on goal. He pushed the ball into the ground meaning the Ruthin keeper Ryan Goldstones could only parry the ball back into Blizard’s path and he stooped down to head the ball past the full back on the post.
Buckley should have had the opportunity to make it two from the penalty spot when second half sub Phill Molyneux challenged keeper and defender in the air for the ball. The ball ricocheted off the players, bounced and hit a Ruthin defender outstretched arm. No foul had occurred and play went on, so it seemed a straightforward decision but one of Ruthin’s players had been injured in the collision. The referee then stopped the game to get the player attention but then bizarrely restarted the game with a drop ball on the edge of the box, denying Buckley the goal scoring opportunity.
So back to my original thought on what the side have learnt so far this season. It had to be how pleasing it was to see our side show maturity in closing out the game for the victory. Despite having Ruthin on the back foot for most of the second half, the second goal that would have killed the game proved elusive. It did not phase the Buckley side and they balanced the desire to grab another goal with running the game down well and ensured the team took all three points.
For manager Dan Moore the most pleasing aspect of the game was how the team closed it out, a lesson that had been learnt as recently as the away trip to Conwy Borough where 3 points should have been earnt but only one was taken. This time the side did not give their opponents the opportunity to level the game. They dictated the outcome which at this level you have to do given the competitive nature of the league we play in. A great effort and a great result. Now let’s see if we can match that under the lights at Holywell Town next Friday night.