Bury Town recorded just their third win in 22 matches in all competitions this season to lift themselves out of the Ryman League Premier Division relegation zone with a 2-1 triumph over Tonbridge Angels at Ram Meadow this afternoon.
Although Tom Parkinson headed the Angels into the lead at the end of a dominant opening half an hour, Bury were the better side for the remainder of the match and levelled through Jack Willbye before Connor Hall smashed home the winner midway through the second half.
Tonbridge’s Chris Piper fired the first warning shot when his blockbuster left-footed strike from almost 40 yards was tipped around the post by Steve Fenner.
That marked the start of a good period of pressure from the Angels and last-ditch blocks from centre-half Miles Smith and goalkeeper in quick succession prevented the visitors from taking the lead through Tommy Whitnell and Ben King.
Charlie Slocombe shaved the Blues’ crossbar and it was no surprise when Tonbridge took the lead on the half-hour-mark.
King was level with the edge of the centre circle in Bury’s half on Tonbridge’s left touchline when he delivered a pinpoint pass to beyond the far post where Parkinson looped a header over the stranded Fenner and into the net.
Whitnell was afforded far too much between Bury’s defence and midfield, which allowed him to drive a low shot just past the foot of the left post, but Bury — who had shown much more attacking intent than in recent weeks — levelled nine minutes before the break.
New signing Chris Benjamin touched Jordan Patrick’s cross goalwards, goalkeeper James Steel saved, but the ball broke for Willbye — back on loan at Ram Meadow from Ipswich Town — steered the loose ball into the net.
Hall made two crucial tackles in his own penalty area, the second of which raised a penalty appeal from the away team for handball, but referee Mark Potkins waved play on.
Substitute Alex Teniola, on for Piper early in the second period, should have put Tonbridge back in front with his first touch, but headed over the top from eight yards.
After that, Bury were in almost complete control and had a huge shout for a penalty themselves when Willbye mugged Laurence Ball on the edge of the Angels’ penalty area and was brought down by the defender.
Although Potkins did whistle on this occasion, he indicated for a free-kick, not a spot-kick, much to the anger of the Blues’ supporters behind the goal and manager Ben Chenery.
Chris Benjamin — whose namesake Joe, a former Tonbridge striker — limped off in the first half tested Steel with a low shot and, at the other end, Billy Medlock backheeled the ball at Fenner from close range.
They merely preceded the winning goal, which arrived from the boot of Hall in the 68th minute to take the defender level with Remi Garrett as Bury’s leading scorer this season with three goals.
Hall met Willbye’s corner from the left with a header that Steel kept out, but the left-footed player followed up to thrash the ball into the roof of the net.
Bury sat a little too deep, but kept Tonbridge at arm’s length for the remainder of the encounter and Whitnell’s tame flicked header into the hands of Fenner was all they had to offer.