RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Bury Town 1 Maldon & Tiptree 2
Bury Town boss Ben Chenery was left bemoaning a lack of cutting edge as his dominant side were undone by former Needham Market striker Sam Newson’s first-half brace this afternoon (Saturday, Janaury 23).
The Blues chief had gone into the game, with Bury on a miserable run of only one win in eight going back to the end of November, saying his side can bridge the 10 point gap to the play-offs.
But their task, ahead of travelling to bottom side Witham Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) looks an even taller order after suffering back-to-back defeats.
The first ever league meeting between the sides burst into life with a goal capable of gracing any stage giving the Essex visitors the lead.
Newson, Bury’s Suffolk rival’s leading all-time scorer before departing the club in early December, as manager Mark Morsley said he no longer fitted into their style of play, took on an audacious attempt from a bouncing ball on the right wing that flew into the top corner from all of 40 yards. Desperate Neil O’Sullivan had found himself cast in the role of David Seaman back in 1995 with Newson his Nayim nemesis.
It sparked wild scenes from the Maldon & Tiptree players, who were joined by their bench in celebrating one of the best individual strikes a Ram Meadow crowd has surely ever witnessed.
It could have left Bury shellshocked and licking their wounds, but Chenery’s side showed nothing of the sort, hitting level within two minutes.
After forcing a corner, their second of the game, James Paterson’s delivery was only headed back out to him and from the better angled cross, Ollie Hughes rose highest at the far post to divert nimbly beyound James Bransgrove.
Bury began to take the game to their opponents with Noel Aitkens firing over before some in the ground thought South African defender Justin Miller had put the Blues into the lead after his header rolled down the head, but having gone over the crossbar first after a Paterson corner.
Josh Mayhew, the recent signing from Brightlingsea Regent who had endeared himself to the home faithful with a hat-trick on his debut the other week, saw a shot blocked by former Bury loannee Billy Roast, while Bransgrove was called into action to punch clear a dangerous Tevan Allen cross.
A combination of Ollie Canfer and Phil Weavers got free with the former sending a stooping header at the near post inches away from the desired target, while Hughes sent another header just wide as the home side continued to hammer on the door.
Maldon & Tiptree, who were being watched by Colchester United representatives including former Ipswich Town players John McGreal and Wayne Brown as part of the Sky Bet League One club’s link-up with the Ryman League side, were looking dangerous on the break and almost regained the lead when former Tottenham Hotspur and Ipswich Town youngster Darren McQueen was played in, only to be denied by a good low hand from O’Sullivan, sending his effort just behyond the far post.
But the warning sign was not heeded as from another swift counter-attack McQueen was instrumental in putting his side back ahead.
With 43 minutes on the clock it was his cross from which Newson provided a controlled header to beat O’Sullivan and gave his side a 2-1 lead, very much against the run of play.
Just before the break, there were shouts from Mayhew that Bransgrove had carried the ball out of his penalty area as the tall striker chased a throughball, but the referee was not interested. The look on the man filming the game in the stands appeared to be telling.
The second half saw Bury pick up where they had left off with Mayhew wasting a golden chance when he scooped an Allen cross over the bar when well placed.
The ball soon became caught up in a midfield battle as a boggy pitch began to play on tired legs.
Bury were still seeing more of the attacking play but were unable to fashion a proper chance from it and started to look like they were running out of ideas.
At the other end, Maldon still looked dangerous with only some smart reading of the situation from wise owl Miller preventing them getting in on goal for the chance of extending their lead, while O’Sullivan provide his own quick-thinking solution to head clear and prevent substitute Darren Mills a clear sight of goal.
Miller was shifted into midfield by Chernery as Darcy De’ath made his latest comeback from injury, replacing Connor Hall.
Mayhew spurned another decent opportunity to score his fourth Ram Meadow goal in two games when he lifted an effort well over after Canfer’s shot broke loose in the penalty area.
But just when it looked like a late Bury rally could yield an equaliser, their day seemed to be dead in the water when a jinking run from substitute Auarkhia saw him taken out by a trailing leg by Remi Garrett, having cut back inside.
Newson stepped up to the spot in a bid to claim his hat-trick and the match ball, but his effort lacked power and O’Sullivan made the ground quick enough to palm away down low to his left.
It enabled Bury to launch a late onslaught, but, despite a later Paterson free-kick that was won in the air by Hughes, it was not to be the ending the home fans were desperate for as Bransgrove gathered ahead of the lurking Garrett.
Bury: O’Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Kennedy, Miller, Weavers, Canger, Hall (De’ath 76), Hughes, Mayhew, Aitkens (Garrett 55). Unused subs: Hammett, Nurse.
Referee: Nathan Walker.
Attendance: 318 (third highest in the league this season).
Free Press Man of The Match: Justin Miller. Made his mark in both boxes and showed a coolness of thought that Bury do not seem to have enough of right now.
* For video reaction from Blues boss Ben Chenery, log back onto this website on Monday from 1pm.