SECOND QUALIFYING ROUND
Bury Town 2
Chatham Town 1
Liam Wales hopes his important goal for Bury Town on Saturday will help to improve his chances of more action in the first team.
The teenager – introduced as a first-half substitute in place of the injured Joe Whight – netted a brilliant second goal for the Blues to help them overcome lower-league Chatham Town and reach the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.
After a dire first half, Billy Clark and Wales put Bury in charge in the second period, but the hosts had to hang on when Lee Hales’ late free-kick found the top corner.
“I was happy with my goal, but I didn’t have the best of times out there with my miss early in the second half,” said Wales. “I thought we did well as a team.
“We were strong in the second half, but we were hanging on in the end.
“I’m trying to work my way up into the team regularly and the goal gave me a lot of confidence – it really helped me build into the game.”
Bury made two enforced changes to the side that won 3-1 at Cray Wanderers the previous Saturday, with John Kennedy and debutant Cameron Mawer in for suspended duo Russell Short and Adam Bailey-Dennis.
Playing into the wind, the Blues really struggled during the opening period with just one effort towards goal to show for their efforts.
That came from the first attempt in the 26th minute when Anthony Roulston’s left-wing cross was headed over the top by Clark from eight yards.
Bury were fortunate to see Alfie May’s header ruled out for offside three minutes later before Billy Bennett fired wide and then curled the ball into the hands of Marcus Garnham.
The second half was a huge improvement on the opening 45 minutes, but Wales wasted a glorious chance to put the hosts ahead 22 seconds in when he seemed to get his feet muddled up when one-on-one.
But the opener did follow in the 51st minute when Roulston looped a cross in from the right corner of the penalty area, which was picked up by Jordan Patrick on the left and clipped across to David Bridges, who nodded the ball into the middle of the six-yard box for a determined Clark to nip in and guide it home with his forehead.
Garnham kept out a tame effort from Austin Gacheru and Seb Dunbar fired over after a wonderful exchange of passes with Clark before the Blues doubled their lead with a wonderful goal by Wales.
Tom Bullard’s long ball out of defence was superbly brought down by the youngster, who then touched the ball past the goalkeeper and steered it into the net past two covering defenders on the line.
Bury threatened to put the game out of sight when Clark stung the hands of visiting custodian Jack Bradshaw on the turn before David Lampshire almost forced in the rebound
However, with the shrill of the referee’s whistle becoming more and more incessant, BUry failed to kill the game off with a third goal and the Chats – threatened by relegation in Ryman One North – nearly staged a remarkable comeback.
Mawer slipped and allowed May through on goal, but Garnham got a hand to the ball as the visiting forward attempted to round him before finding his feet again to block the follow-up from the same player.
Chatham pulled a goal back four minutes from time when substitute Hales found the top corner with a 25-yard free-kick that Garnham got a fingertip to but could not keep out.
There were more nervy moments, but the Blues held on to set up a third qualifying round tie at home to Grays Athletic on November 16.