RYMAN LEAGUE CUP
Bury Town 2 Lowestoft Town 0
BURY Town stunned Suffolk rivals Lowestoft Town to advance to the final of the Alan Boon Ryman League Cup.
The Blues will face Ryman Premier rivals East Thurrock United at Staines Town’s Wheatsheaf Park on Tuesday, March 28, after Danny Cunningham and Sam Reed fired the Blues through.
And goalscorer Reed — who has now netted 10 times this season — cannot wait to try and repeat the trick against the Rocks after helping erase the memories of Bury’s ill-tempered Boxing Day defeat to Lowestoft in Tuesday night’s semi-final.
“It’s always nice to get through to a cup final, no matter who you are playing,” said the striker. “The Boxing Day game was always in the back of our minds as well though and we desperately didn’t want to lose.
“Credit must go to the referee, who I thought was outstanding. He got on top of any moaning that might have happened — he stamped that out and let us get on with the game.
“We came out firing, wanted the early goal and then we just kept playing very well — it was a joy to be out there.”
The game came to life less than 120 seconds after kick-off when referee Shon Meale spotted a foul in the Lowestoft penalty area and awarded a spot-kick to the Blues.
Cunningham — who had delivered a free-kick into the box when the offence was committed — duly stepped up and struck home past Andy Reynolds into the bottom right corner of the net.
Although a match of real quality rarely threatened to break out, both teams went for it with gusto, resulting in a total booking count of nine — three to Bury, six to Lowestoft — and the visitors’ Stuart Ainsley and Adrian Forbes were perhaps fortunate not to see red during the 90 minutes.
Lee Smith blazed over from John Sands’ fabulous pass when well placed in the 17th minute, but it was not until stoppage time at the end of the opening period that the Blues doubled their lead.
Cunningham chased down what appeared to be a lost cause, forcing Reynolds to come out of his penalty area and kick wildly.
Smith seized on the ball in midfield, drove at the heart of the visitors’ defence before slipping it to Sam Reed, who slotted it into the net despite the best efforts of a recovering Lowestoft defender.
It was not until six minutes into the second half that the Trawler Boys finally troubled home custodian Marcus Garnham with Sam Gaughran – the apparent offender for the Blues’ spot-kick – forcing the shot stopper into a fine one-handed save.
Visiting striker Matt Nolan missed a glorious chance when well placed, but the home defence continued to look solid and Tom Bullard was only denied extending Bury’s lead by the outstretched arm of Reynolds from Cunningham’s free-kick.
Ex-Bury winger Chris Henderson, who otherwise endured a miserable evening, shot straight at Garnham while Lowestoft appealed for a penalty after Andrew Fisk went down.
But even the introduction of Joe Francis — for Henderson — and Lubomir Guentchev failed to spark the visitors and Garnham’s recovery save from Michael Frew was the final action of a satisfactory night’s work for Bury.