RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Kingstonian 0 Bury Town 0: Phill Weavers admitted he is relishing his new lease of life as a holding midfield player after impressing in his side’s goalless draw at Kingstonian.
The Blues battled managed to contained high-flying hosts on Monday night — with goalkeeper Marcus Garnham the star man behind a solid back seven who are building the foundations of Bury’s 2014/15 campaign.
Little more than 12 months ago — after a horror show at centre-half in a pre-season friendly against Walsham-le-Willows — former Team Bury captain Weavers seemed destined never to make Bury Town’s starting line-up, but he is now at the heart of that defensive midfield unit and recorded his seventh start from eight matches in the draw at Kingsmeadow Stadium.
“The first couple of years didn’t work out for me, but Cheners (Bury manager Ben Chenery) has shown a lot of faith in me,” said Weavers, who has lived in Bury St Edmunds for eight years. “He took the time to come and see me at the start of the season and told me I would get my chance in pre-season if I worked hard, so I got my head down and seven starts later here we are.
“I joined Team Bury as a central midfielder and I played the first couple of games there, but due to injury I ended up filling in at centre-half and ended playing there for two years.
“Wilks (former boss Richard Wilkins) thought I was a centre-half — he didn’t think I was a central midfielder — but Cheners said he saw me as a holding midfielder, so I’ve worked at it and I feel great.
“I feel fit and in good shape so I’m really enjoying it — I just love being involved.
“With the quality we’ve got in the squad, I never expected to be where I am now — it’s a dream come true to play for my local team.”
The Blues — who did not arrive at the ground until 7.29pm because of heavy traffic, forcing a delay to kick-off of 15 minutes — made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 at home to Bognor Regis Town on Saturday.
Russell Short returned in place of Ross Bailey and Joe Whight stood in at left-back for captain Seb Dunbar, who was sidelined as a precaution with a tight hamstring.
Despite their disrupted pre-match plans, the visitors started brightly and Liam Wales was the first to test either goalkeeper, but the fifth-placed hosts looked dangerous when the ball went in behind Nathan Clarke and Connor Hall.
It required the combination of Clarke and Garnham to keep Nathaniel Pinney’s initial effort out before Garnham flung himself at the feet of Alex Addai to block the winger’s follow-up.
Callum Bennett wasted the Blues’ best chance when he blazed the ball out of the ground from 15 yards after Wales had nodded down Short’s delicate cross, before Joe Whight tried his luck from almost the edge of the centre circle, only to find the hands of goalkeeper Rob Tolfrey.
Bury moved the ball around smartly on the slick playing surface at the ground Sky Bet League Two outfit AFC Wimbledon also call home.
However, they tired as they half went on and Garnham saved one-on-one from Andre McCollin.
The only time Kingstonian beat Garnham was three minutes after the break, but McCollin struck the foot of the goalkeeper’s left-hand post with his first-time shot from Pinney’s throughball.
At the other end, Weavers and Bennett were wild with their shooting from the edge of the penalty area, but the K’s continued to look the more likely to break through and only some desperate blocks kept them at bay.
With the game becoming more end-to-end as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, Garnham made his best save of the night when plunging low to his left to keep out Steve Laidler’s strike that was destined for the bottom corner.
There was one final attack from the hosts, only for the tireless Short to make great strides back into his own area in stoppage time and snuff out Pinney’s breakaway.
“A point against Kingstonian is a great result for us,” added Weavers. “Our form away from home hasn’t been the best, so it was all about getting a result and I thought we were well worth a draw, maybe even a little bit more.”
n Bury Town SuperDraw week 14: £1,000 Mrs Young; £150 K Edwards; £100 David Taylor; £75 Thelma Powell; £50 David Jones, D Howells; £25 Linda Smith, C Lunn, Neil Carrier, K Clair. Birth date drawn: 07/03/78 — matched by Tim Smith, who won £100 jackpot.