Bury Town 3
Harrow Borough 2
Bury Town assistant manager Ben Chenery believes there could be no stopping the Blues if they put a run together in the league.
The Ram Meadow-based outfit defeated Harrow Borough 3-2 on Tuesday as new signing Adam Bailey-Dennis headed in and John Sands bagged a brace to settle the match in favour of the Suffolk side, who beat their visitors for the first time in seven attempts since promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division in 2010.
With full-back Taylor Nathaniel also bolstering Bury’s ranks by joining last Friday on dual registration terms with Bishop’s Stortford, Chenery is confident the Blues are well set for the season.
“We had to make sure we got the right players in and I think we’ve done that,” he said. “Once we have a full squad functioning with everybody fit, we’ll take some stopping.”
Marcus Garnham — who replaced Stephen Fenner in goal — was called into action within three minutes of his return from holiday as he tipped Simeon Akinola’s powerful low shot on to both posts.
But it was the hosts who took the lead in the ninth minute when Billy Clark delivered a corner from the left and towering centre-half Bailey-Dennis rose highest to head in his second goal in as many matches for his new club.
Within 60 seconds of falling behind, Harrow had the chance to pull level when Tom Bullard was controversially adjudged to have brought down Christopher Benjamin, even though it looked like he got a foot on the ball.
However, Griffiths’ low strike down the centre was kept out by Garnham, who kept his foot stretched out while diving to his left to divert the ball away.
The visitors were awarded a second dubious spot-kick — this time given by an assistant referee — in the 21st minute when the ball was flicked into Bailey-Dennis’ arm from no more than a yard away and Shaun Lucien converted from 12 yards.
Sands was denied by goalkeeper Max Oberschmidt from close range, but last season’s leading goalscorer in the Ryman League Premier Division had more success from further out as he fired Bury into the lead with an astonishing strike.
Logan flicked the ball on to the former Mildenhall Town front man, who chested the ball on to his right foot, swivelled as quick as a flash and fired a dipping 25-yard volley over Oberschmidt and into the net for a goal that is unlikely to be bettered this season.
Sands tested Oberschmidt on the turn within seconds of the start of the second half and then stretched Bury’s lead when he rose to head in another Clark corner in the 55th minute.
The centre-forward hit the crossbar as he hunted for his hat-trick, but Bury were unhappy when a soft free-kick was awarded against Nathaniel for a push on the edge of the penalty area and Lucien bent the resultant set piece around the wall and in via Garnham’s left-hand post.
The Blues were rocked by the decision and threatened to lose their composure, but Bullard’s thundering goal-saving tackle on Griffiths inside the six-yard box and Garnham’s diving save to keep out Lucien from range preserved the points for Richard Wilkins’ charges.
Ryan Semple was denied by Oberschmidt and Clark went close to extending Bury’s lead, but three goals proved to be just enough.
Chenery said: “It’s important to get our first three points on the board and also at home because last season our home form wasn’t what we expected or what we wanted.”
Reflecting on Sands’ spectacular strike, Bury’s assistant added: “It was an unbelievable strike and that’s what John is capable of — it was straight out of the top drawer.”