Russell Short is enjoying going back to his roots after starring at the heart of Bury Town’s midfield in their victory on Tuesday.
The Blues overcame Wingate and Finchley 2-0 to close the gap between themselves and the Ryman League Premier Division play-off places to nine points, having played a game more than fifth-placed Dulwich Hamlet.
Ola Williams’ first-half own goal was added to by Shane Tolley’s close-range finish 18 minutes from time to seal a deserved three points for the Ram Meadow-based outfit, much to the delight of Short.
“We were quite dominant in the first half and missed a lot of chances,” he said. “Wingate changed it, but I think we defended well — not only the back four, but the whole team.”
Reflecting on his own display, Short added: “I enjoy it in midfield and I played there when I was younger, so it’s not brand new to me.”
The Blues were on top from the start with Ryan Semple smashing well over in the second minute.
Semple — who gave Wingate all sorts of headaches with his pace and trickery down the right-hand side — had a tap-in ruled out for offside before supplying a dangerous cross that Tolley could not touch home.
More opportunities went begging, while visiting goalkeeper Cain Davies also did his best to keep the Suffolk side at bay, brilliantly denying Tolley and Jordan Patrick before palming over another wicked left-footed set piece from Joe Whight.
When Tolley missed the target again and Dunbar was kept out by Davies, it was clear Bury needed a helping hand in putting the ball in the net and Wingate right-back Williams duly delivered three minutes before the break.
Billy Clark’s left-wing corner caused chaos in the Wingate penalty area, Tolley forced the ball goalwards and Williams got his feet in a muddle before inadvertently sending it into his own net.
The Blues never regained their dominance after the interval and they did not look comfortable in a scrappy second half until another left-wing Clark corner found its way to Tolley at the far post and the former King’s Lynn striker forced the ball home.
Bury: Garnham 6, Smith 6, Dunbar 6, SHORT 7, Bailey-Dennis 7, Bullard 7, Semple 7 (Bailey 90+2, 6), Whight 6 (Cunningham 73, 6), Tolley 6 (Roulston 88, 6), Clark 6, Patrick 6.
Referee: Jairo Marin