Weekend round-up: Blues go bottom, Bury rugby off the top

Chris Benjamin
Chris Benjamin

Chris Benjamin had an injury-time penalty saved as Bury Town pushed high-flying Hendon all the way before slipping to the bottom of the Ryman League Premier Division.

Leon Smith powered home Andre da Costa’s cross with his head to give the third-placed visitors the lead, but Russell Short coolly completed a wonderful Bury move to equalise 11 minutes before the break.

They did not go into the interval on level terms though as Kezie Ibe fortunately diverted Lee O’Leary’s off-target effort over Alex Archer and into the net.

The Blues piled on the pressure in the second half and also survived a couple of scares themselves, but they seemed set to snatch a point when man-of-the-match Joe Benjamin was felled in the box in the final minute.

However, namesake Chris Benjamin’s spot-kick was too weak and turn round the post by ben McNamara before Ibe broke away to seal Bury’s fate.

Needham Market had their lead at the top of Ryman One North slashed to three points after failing to hold on to a two-goal lead at Great Wakering Rovers.

Ryan Crisp and Rhys Henry put Needham in charge, but a pair of second-half strikes meant they left Essex with just a point.

Second-placed Harlow Town, who have three games in hand, beat Redbridge 4-0 to cut the Marketmen’s advantage.

Walsham-le-Willows moved up to 15th in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division after thrashing second-bottom Ely City 5-0, while Thetford Town secured an excellent point at sixth-placed Felixstowe and Walton United.

Mildenhall Town’s miserable run continued as they lost 2-1 at Haverhill Rovers.

In the First Division, Team Bury won 4-1 at Needham Market Reserves and Stowmarket Town overcame Braintree Town Reserves by the same scoreline.

Ipswich Town twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with fellow promotion-chasers AFC Bournemouth in the Sky Bet Championship, while faltering Norwich City drew 3-3 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

In rugby, Bury St Edmunds were brought back down to earth as they lost their grip on the top of the table following a 18-7 defeat to East Grinstead.

The hosts were aiming to head into a scheduled break by extending their advantage as league leaders with an eighth successive win, but it was not to be as a physically dominant Grinstead powered their way to victory to improve their own title challenge and condemn Bury to a first home league defeat.

Greg White scored Bury’s try, converted by Michael Sage.