Blues hang on for a point

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RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION

Bury Town 0, Lowestoft Town 0

by Mark Williams at Ram Meadow

ONLY time will tell how precious this hard-fought point will prove for Bury Town.

While workmanlike and dogged, the Blues, for the first time in a long time, looked predictable and laboured.

Only a string of decent saves by goalkeeper Marcus Garnham prevented the Trawler Boys from claiming what would have been a deserved three points and with it, Suffolk derby bragging rights.

What the visitors did however was shout loud and clear that they remain strong contenders in the race for promotion.

A tepid first half almost sprung into life after 22 minutes when James Scowcroft’s looping header was expertly cleared off the line by Andrew Cave-Brown.

But thereafter, it was case of when, not if, Lowestoft would open the scoring. After Scott Mitchell’s cross-cum-shot had Garnham scrambling, the lively Joe Francis should have done better than drilling a left-foot drive wide when well-placed inside the area.

Everytime Bury threatened to move up in gears, so their final ball – normally so swift and precise – went missing.

Scowcroft did at least go close with another header, before brothers Lee and Sam Reed combined – only for the latter to blaze over.

If the seasiders edged the first period, they certainly commanded proceedings after the break.

Striker Matt Nolan swivelled and fired towards goal, only to be denied by Garnham’s low stop. Minutes later, the home custodian had fortune on his side when he palmed a low Francis cross into an inviting position, but luckily the ball squirmed free of any player in white.

Finally, Bury produced their move of the match on 63 minutes. Scowcroft’s flick found Kieran Leabon on the right, whose instant cross on the half-volley was headed just wide of target by the onrushing Neil Andrews.

At the other end, the pressure mounted on Garnham’s goal. Mitchell’s drive was bravely blocked by skipper Tom Bullard, before Francis peeled off at the back post to screw the ball wide.

Ironically, it was the hosts who went closest to breaking the stalemate after 73 minutes. Another incohesive move dropped to Andrews 20 yards out and his fierce strike rattled the crossbar.

The visitors swarmed forward in the dying moments. Nolan’s snapshot was well saved by goalkeeper Garnham, before the latter left his best save until right at the death.

Substitute Adrian Forbes’ strike took a wicked deflection and, as a collective draw of breath lingered around Ram Meadow when the ball looped towards the far corner, Garnham somehow scrambled across his line to palm the ball wide – earning his side what could yet prove to be a critical point.

n Doug Mott, from Stanningfield, won the VIP experience prize for the Lowestoft Town game. The competition, sponsored by First Stop Travel, raised £400 for the club.