Connor Hall has challenged Bury Town to build on their first win of the season after overcoming Canvey Island in a morale-boosting 1-0 success.
In a controlled and organised performance on Monday, the Blues sealed all three points courtesy of Steve Holder’s brilliantly-improvised 30th-minute finish, deflecting Phil Weaver’s long-range effort over the head of custodian Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton.
And as well as being delighted to have won a personal battle against friend and former Blues striker in the form of returning John Sands, Hall has urged his teammates to maintain the momentum of a maiden victory.
“It’s great to get our first win,” he said.“We built on Saturday’s unfortunate defeat, had the same approach, managed to nick a goal and I think deservedly won the game.
“John is a good lad and we’ve remained good mates and so it’s nice to come up against him.
“I told him he would be in my back pocket and of course he was.
“We’re up-and-running and we have to build on that now.
“People don’t realise how much of a transition this club has gone through and times are different.
“It is a building process but we haven’t done badly and we will keep improving as a squad.
“A lot of it is about confidence and everyone is buzzing after this win and we will push on.”
With the adverse conditions hampering the efforts of both sides, it was the visitors who started the brightest with Tambeson Eyong calling Marcus Garnham into action in the seventh minute to smartly parry the defender’s strike away.
Weavers sent a speculative 30-yard effort well wide after 22 minutes, while at the other end Garnham again had to be alert to hold on to Anthony Thomas’ low drilled strike after being teed-up by Marion Agyawka.
However, it was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 30th minute, following a brilliant piece of improvisation from Holder.
Weaver again let fly from distance, and with the effort looking seemingly like a comfortable save for St Louis-Hamilton, Holder instinctively diverted the ball with his head over the stranded goalkeeper, who could not quite stop the effort ending up in the back of the net.
With Bury defending stoutly at the other end, Holder went close to doubling his and the hosts’ tally but could only guide his header from Ross Bailey’s cross wide of the mark.
There was just enough time for Garnham to be called upon again as he reacted smartly to tip Thomas’ driven free-kick through the Bury wall around the post, keeping the home side’s advantage intact at the interval.
The Blues started strongly after the break and came inches away to doubling their advantage after 52 minutes.
Jack Brame broke from his own half, beating three men on his way to the edge of Canvey’s area before laying the ball off to the onrushing Callum Bennett, who could only watch on as his first time curling shot came crashing back off the right upright.
Just five minutes later Bury’s hopes of sealing all three points were handed a major boost as the visitor’s Thomas was shown a red card for a second bookable offence, having being cautioned just moments before half-time.
The returning Sands was presented with an opportunity to make his mark against his former employers in the 62nd minute but could only fire his 25-yard free-kick straight into Bury’s wall as the hosts’ defence stood firm.
And with the numerical advantage, Bury came agonisingly close to adding a second just a minute later.
Again it was the lively Brame who broke away, before releasing the marauding Hall into the area who rounded St Louis-Hamilton but could not beat Rob Bartley who raced back to clear the ball off the line and away for a corner.
Bury introduced Remi Garrett to the proceedings for Brame in the 74th minute with the former Hadleigh United striker making an immediate impact.
The striker bullied his way past John Easterford into the area but could not capitalise as he fired tamely at the Canvey goalkeeper.
Despite being a man down, it was the visitors who finished the encounter the stronger as Bury began to fall deeper and deeper into their own half.
Substitute Victor Osobu saw a 25-yard free-kick deflected narrowly over before the winger’s corner from the right-hand side was only narrowly headed wide by Mike Jones after 86 minutes.
Another Osobu corner a minute later caused problems in Bury’s defence with Sands heading wide before he spurned another opportunity from a free-kick, again firing straight into the wall.
However, Bury’s defence stood firm as they had the whole game to see out the remaining minutes and seal a welcome victory.