FIRST QUALIFYING ROUND
Bury Town 0
Richard Wilkins admitted his side’s season hit a new low as they were upset by lower-league outfit Thurrock in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Bury Town manager — whose side play in the Ryman League Premier Division — were undone by two goals from Charlie Stimson to guide Ryman One North club Thurrock into the second qualifying round of the world’s oldest and most famous domestic cup competition.
Wilkins admitted there would be ‘repercussions’ with regards to the playing budget and went as far to admit his own job may be in danger after a fifth consecutive home match without victory this season.
“If you are going through a bad period at home, you roll up your sleeves and play, but there were quite a few boys that looked frightened,” said Wilkins, who is in his 14th season at the club.
He added: “I will have to sit down and see where I go because there is something wrong with a team that’s unbeaten away but has just one win at home.
“If I thought it was me, I would resign, but I don’t think it’s me at all and at the end of the day I’ll have to sit down with the powers that be and see what they all think because I want this team to do well but our home form is killing us in the league and in the cup.
“It wasn’t an easy draw, but a good draw for us, and if I had paid my money I wouldn’t have been pleased.”
Adam Bailey-Dennis (knee) was ruled out on the day so Joe Whight remained at centre-half alongside Tom Bullard, while new signing Shane Tolley was preferred to Richard Logan up front.
It took Thurrock just five minutes to take the lead as they caught Bury on the break, splitting the Blues’ defence wide open, and Stimson got the better of Whight to fire beyond Marcus Garnham.
Billy Clark hit the outside of the near post direct from a left-wing corner, but Bury failed to create anything of note, while Thurrock were only stopped from doubling their lead by the assistant referee’s flag after Stimson had found the net again.
John Sands was static in attack, which did not help a midfield struggling to find a way through, and the defence remained nervy and stretched.
Seb Dunbar limped off with a thigh problem half an hour in and Bury went to a 3-5-2 formation, but it did not improve their fortunes.
Callum Ibe sidefooted wide and Whight — who is struggling to deal with the rigours of senior men’s football since his summer switch from Ipswich Town, where he was playing reserve and academy football — was beaten in the air by Stimson, but the visiting striker could only head the ball straight at Garnham.
There was to be no lucky break for Bury as Sands’ header from a corner was blocked and began a goalmouth scramble that saw several touches made within two yards of the goal, but the ball somehow stay out.
Sands — last season’s top scorer in the Ryman Premier — called his side’s display ‘embarrassing’ as he stomped into the dressing room and slammed the door at half-time and he got no happier during the second period.
The second goal arrived for Thurrock just past the hour-mark when Ibe got away from Whight and crossed for Stimson to sidefoot a volley home from close range.
All Bury could muster in reply was a shot straight at goalkeeper Reece Ottley from substitute Logan as a meagre crowd of 234 went home unhappy and the Suffolk side missed out on the £3,000 prize money and a place in the second qualifying round.
Bury Town will be looking to keep up their unbeaten start on the road in the Ryman Premier when they travel to Met Police tomorrow (3pm) and Grays Athletic on Wednesday (7.45pm).
Bailey-Dennis is suspended after accumulating five bookings, but full-back Taylor Nathaniel should come into the side.
Left-back Seb Dunbar (thigh), who limped off on Saturday, has been rated as 50/50.
Manager Richard Wilkins has been attempting to avoid off-the-field distractions and said: “My biggest job is to make sure we get back on track at Met Police on Saturday and try to get some good points.”