Bury Town 2 Canvey Island 0
by Derek Bish at Ram Meadow
CRAIG Nurse hailed Bury Town’s change in tactics as the Blues produced a superb performance to complete the double over Canvey Island.
The visiting Gulls could not muster a shot on target while Nurse was the pick of the bunch in a Bury attack that threatened to run riot, only to be denied by a string of fine saves from goalkeeper James Russell, the woodwork and two goalline clearances.
Danny Cunningham and Nurse did manage to force the ball beyond the visiting custodian, much to the delight of the latter.
The 21-year-old midfielder said: “We came here knowing the pitch was going to be boggy and obviously had to change the way we played a bit by turning them.
“I was pleased from the team’s point of view because over the last few weeks we’ve been getting back to how we should be playing and can play.
“It was an ideal result against a good team. Canvey are usually strong, so to score two goals and keep a clean sheet was very pleasing.”
The Blues made two changes to the starting XI that lost 2-0 at Cray Wanderers last week, with Sam Nunn and Cunningham returning from work commitments and injury, respectively, to replace Daniel Hitching and the suspended Billy Clark.
Canvey made a strong start and Tom Bullard had to be at his best to cut out Alex Rhodes’ dangerous low cross before Marcus Garnham’s poor kick resulted in Jay Curran directing the ball back over the goalkeeper’s head, but wide of the left post.
However, Bury seized the initiative in the best way possible — by taking the lead.
Lee Reed whipped a wonderful pass through the defence for Cunningham to run on to and strike early from the edge of the penalty area past visiting custodian James Russell, who had left a large gap at his near post.
Sam Reed had a shot from range that stung Russell’s hands, while Steve Shehan headed over at the other end under pressure from Garnham.
A five-minute spell of serious pressure failed to provide a second goal, with Russell making a fine double save from Sam Reed and John Sands, the latter seeing his header cleared off the line before Nurse thumped a header against the crossbar from Cunningham’s cross.
Too often this season, Bury have failed to make their pressure count with goals, but they refused to give in and got their just reward eight minutes before half-time when Sam Reed mugged Canvey defender John Easterford and slid the ball across the penalty area to Nurse, who finished with aplomb into the roof of the net.
Nurse continued to take the game to the visitors, exchanging passes with Sands before flashing his drive across the face of goal and narrowly past the far left-hand post.
Although the Blues did not attack with the same vigour after the break, they performed professionally to make sure there was no way back for their fellow play-off chasers.
Sam Reed shot across the face of goal from Lee Smith’s through ball before Lee Reed played a one-two with brother Sam before forcing Russell into a superb one-handed save low to his right.
Nunn also saw a header cleared off the line by Ashley Dumas, but there would be no deserved third goal in one of Bury’s best displays of the season that saw them keep their first clean sheet since October 22 — a run of 12 matches.