Blues have lost pre-cup form

RYMAN LEAGUE

PREMIER DIVISION

Bury Town 2 Wingate & Finchley 2

MIDFIELDER Lee Smith described Bury Town’s performance as ‘lethargic’ as they slumped to their second disappointing draw since winning the Ryman League Cup.

The Blues are yet to rediscover the form that saw them enter the cup final on a back of a good run and then totally dominate East Thurrock.

They looked set to snatch a slightly undeserved victory over Wingate and Finchley at Ram Meadow on Tuesday night until the visitors’ David Laird headed in a dramatic 92nd-minute leveller from close range.

Ex-Histon man Lee Smith, who fired Bury into a 2-1 lead a minute before the break, said: “We took the performance from Saturday into Tuesday night – it was lethargic.

“There have been a lot of games recently and I think it has shown with heavy legs.”

He added: “It’s still a point. We could have lost and it would have been five points we would have dropped over the last two games instead of four.

“Easter weekend will be interesting and we are looking for four or six points to help secure a play-off place.”

Bury made two changes to the side that drew with Wealdstone, with Sam Nunn and John Kennedy returning in place of the suspended Roscoe Hipperson and injured Callum Kearns, respectively.

Nunn had a fourth-minute header ruled out for a foul, but when his tackle went straight to Max Mitchell, the Wingate winger crossed for Laird to head the visitors into the lead.

Bury were struggling to get their passing game flowing on a pitch made heavy by a pre-match downpour and Marcus Garnham had to be alert to keep out the dangerous Laird.

However, the Blues broke from the resultant corner and Sam Reed exchanged passes with brother Lee before seeing his shot parried into the path of John Sands.

Although Wingate goalkeeper Bobby Smith recovered to keep out Sands’ first effort, the striker slammed the ball home to level the scores.

Garnham again denied Laird before John Kennedy rifled a low 20-yard shot that was tipped round the post.

Bury went into the break in the lead when Lee Smith drilled the loose ball into the net after Bobby Smith had clawed away Tom Bullard’s header.

Neither side really got going after half-time, but Wingate had the better chances with Bobby Aisien completely miscuing a volley before Leon Smith barrelled his way through the Bury defence, only to be denied by Garnham as he prepared to shoot.

The Blues’ custodian made another good save to keep out Kieran Street in the final minute of normal time and deny Laird on the line.

That may have cemented his second man-of-the-match award of the week, but he was unable to prevent Laird snatching a point at the death.

Wingate’s corner may have been well outside of the quadrant, but Bury failed to deal with it and Laird capitalised after the ball had pinballed around the area.

Bury: GARNHAM 8, Short 7, Coulson 6, Kennedy 7, Nunn 5, Bullard 6, Smith 6, Sands 6 (Leabon 70, 6), S Reed 6 (Kearns 79, 6), L Reed 6, Cunningham 6 (Clark 90, 6). Sub not used: Hall.

MATCH STATS

BURY W&F

Shots on target 7 9

Shots off target 4 7

Woodwork 0 0

Corners 7 6

Offsides 1 1

FK conceded 13 12

Bookings: Bury: Cunningham (foul). Wingate: Laird (persistent infringement).

Red cards: None.

Referee: Mr A Rayner. Attendance: 310.