RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION: Russell Short believes Bury Town will only get stronger after the Blues secured their first point of the new season in a draw with Witham Town.
In a rather forgettable encounter at Ram Meadow, neither Bury or their newly-promoted opponents really did enough to deserve all three points from a tense and hard-fought match.
But for Short, who played in a less-than-familiar role behind lone striker Ryan Taylor, a first point was a satisfying outcome that gives the club going through a transition a platform to build on.
“I’m pretty pleased but the only thing missing was that goal, we had control of the game but we just could not break them down,” he said.
“It is definitely a bit of a transition at the club from before but it is a very fresh one and very positive.
“There is a lot of talent in the squad and they are all willing to learn which makes me really positive.
“It is a transitional season but everything looks good and all the young players are buying into what is needed.
“We are only two games into the season and we will only get stronger and better, there are no negatives yet from us.
“Maybe some will feel we may have a point to prove but we are confident we are doing the right thing and the best is still yet to come.
“We just needed that platform to build on and we have that now.
“It is a point on the board and we can kick on from here.
“We improved from Saturday’s defeat at Hendon and that is pleasing.
“We are home again on Saturday against Enfield Town and that gives us a good chance to dominate proceedings and really get a positive result.”
With strikers Jack Brame recovering from a broken cheekbone and Remi Garrett still absent, Taylor once again spearheaded a youthful Bury side as a distinct lack of striking options once again proved pivotal with the Blues drawing a second successive blank.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and created the first real opening after nine minutes.
Daniel Emmanuel was released into the area but he failed to trouble Bury goalkeeper Marcus Garnham, firing tamely at the custodian.
With both sides resorting to long balls, clear-cut chances proved at a premium in the opening 45 minutes.
The only other opportunity the visitors could muster was a long-range effort over from Lewis Gobold, while Nathan Clarke shot wide from a near-post corner routine and a Connor Hall headed effort wide of the mark were the closest the home side came as the half drew to a close.
The second-half started in a much brighter fashion with Phil Weavers calling Witham custodian Martyn Guest into action as he held the midfielder’s stinging 25-yard strike well.
The visitors then responded with a flowing move from left to right involving Tom Wraight and Josh Mayhew, releasing Paul Burnett into the area, but again Garnham was not tested as his tame effort was easily collected.
Another lull in action then proceeded before Short was presented with the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock.
Midfield partner John Kennedy picked out Taylor in the Witham area who teed the floated ball back to Short, who could drag his left-footed effort wide of the goal.
The visitors then crafted a similar move as Gobold set up substitute John Watson on the edge of the area, but just as Short had before him, he failed to capitalise, drilling the ball harmlessly over the bar.
That brought on a period of Witham dominance who came close to breaking the deadlock twice in as many minutes.
The first chance saw Wraight release lively substitute Shamido Pedulu down the left hand side, whose blistering pace saw him beat Nathan Clarke into the area where he faced the onrushing Garnham.
However his low left-footed effort beat the custodian but also the far post as the ball ran across the goalmouth and agonisingly wide.
The same player went even closer to finding a breakthrough just a minute later.
Bury captain Seb Dunbar carelessly gave the ball away inside the area gifting the striker a clear sight on goal.
But with just Garnham to beat, the goalkeeper somehow managed to divert Pedulu’s low driven effort on to the near-right post before it was scrambled away to safety.
Garnham was again called into action with five minutes remaining as he did well to hold on to another long-range effort from Watson.
And that proved the final piece of action as the match drew to a close leaving both sides to settle for a share of the spoils.
n Bury Town Football Club SuperDraw Week 11: £1,000 Mrs A Bakewell, £150 Mrs A Howell, £100 Mrs D Blakeway, £75 Mr G Maxwell, £50 Mrs Hayes, £50 Mrs A Osmond, £25 Mr M Craddock, £25 Mrs A Humphries, £25 Ms A Hogan, £25 Mr N Richards.
Birth date drawn 28/12/15-no winners. Next week’s prize £400.