by Peter Scherer
There were plenty of goals to keep the 700+ crowd entertained at the Don Amott Arena, with Mickleover holding aspiring champion neighbours Buxton to a 3-3 draw.
Starting line-up: 1-Jonathan Hedge 2-Elliott Walker 3-Rhys Dolan 4-Ethan Mann 5-Phil Watt 6-Kemy Agustien 7-Ben Radcliffe 8-Liam Ravenhill 9-Andy Dales 10-Stuart Beavon 11-George Milner, Subs Kai Moore, Andrew Wright, Jahvan Davidson-Miller, Joe Bateman, James Butler.
After a fairly quiet opening few minutes Curley had the first shot for Buxton after eight minutes, which failed to trouble Hedge in the Mickleover goal.
But far from being overcome by the title contenders, Mickleover started to create their own chances, with Dolan receiving a 21st minute Radcliffe pass but his volley was straight into Buxton keeper Richardson’s arms.
Only two minutes later Radcliffe got a header in too from a Dales chip.
Buxton’s top scorer Di Girolamo was then on the end of a break, but Newton’s header was straight at Hedge as it remained 0-0.
But the deadlock was soon broken when Ravenhill picked his spot from well out and left Richardson well beaten 1-0.
As Buxton pushed for the equaliser, Watt and Mann looked solid at the heart of the Mickleover defence, but with five minutes left in the first half, Hedge made a brilliant diving save low to his right, to keep a Clarke effort out.
The following corner did catch the defence out however and allowed Chambers to fire it home for the equaliser 1-1 after 41 mins.
Buxton went close again after chaos in the defence following another corner, but almost on half time Radcliffe struck with another long shot to send Mickleover in at half time 2-1 up.
The visitors started the second half strongly and after 52 mins had made it 2-2, with Clarke completing a gradual build up on the left, to beat Hedge in his far corner.
Clarke nearly had a second after 67 mins, with his long shot barely inches away from the top corner, but two minutes later Buxton had the lead for the first time 2-3, after a Walker push gave away a penalty for Di Girolamo to convert.
It was still far from over though, when after going close with a header from a Dolan cross after 84 mins, Beavon cut inside from the left and fired it passed Richardson on his near post only three minutes later 3-3.
Butler came on for Dales in closing minutes, but Mickleover once again proved themselves a match for any of the top teams in the NPL.