Lowestoft Town 1
Bury Town 0
Bury Town manager Richard Wilkins said his side must be more positive in their chase for a place in the Ryman Premier play-offs.
The Blues failed to make much of an impact in their 1-0 defeat in Easter Monday’s Suffolk derby at Lowestoft Town, with ex-Blue boy Chris Henderson credited with the Trawlerboys’ 69th-minute winner.
With Bury on the fringes of the race for fifth spot Wilkins knows his side must take the bull by the horns.
“We didn’t pass the ball well enough in the second half and need to be more positive with our forward play,” said the Blues’ boss. “Only when they scored did we take the tempo up to what it should have been and started to play and cause a lot of problems.
“It’s disappointing because we shouldn’t have lost the game, but we needed a bit more quality.”
With illness and injury rife in the Bury camp, the Blues made three changes to the starting line-up from Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Enfield.
Captain Tom Bullard returned at centre-half in place of the unwell Sam Nunn, who dropped to the bench, while Lee Reed came in for the injured Warren Whitely in midfield.
Evan Key was also on the bench as John Kennedy made his return from a broken nose, but Sam Reed was not fit enough to be among the substitutes.
In an uninspiring first half, Lowestoft new boy Hakeem Araba — signed from league leaders Whitehawk on Saturday — fired a sweetly-struck shot straight at Marcus Garnham.
Two bright sparks for Bury were the form of Lee Reed and Jordan Patrick on the left and it was the former who clipped a perfect pass into the channel for Patrick to find the gloves of goalkeeper Andrew Plummer.
Plummer also comfortably dealt with a long-range shot from Mark Coulson, who was unable to replicate his cup final wonder goal from last season.
John Sands also struck the side netting, while Lowestoft continued to take the agricultural approach and hit their pair of targetmen in Jack Defty and Araba.
The quick feet of Chris Henderson forced Adam Tann to lunge in late in the first half, but referee Christopher Francis waved away the home side’s appeals for a penalty.
Henderson fired a warning shot right at the start of the second period when he flashed a drive across goal before Dan Gleeson missed a glorious chance to put the hosts in front when he blazed over from eight yards.
The game’s only goal arrived in the 69th minute when Araba and Tann rose to meet Adam Smith’s delivery into the box and the Bury defender appeared to head the ball down into his own net, although Henderson was credited with getting the final touch.
Bury finally awoke from their slumber and began to take the game to their rivals in the closing stages.
Reed’s free-kick caused mayhem and was headed directly up into the air before coming down against the face of the crossbar.
Top scorer Sands had the Blues’ best chance to level eight minutes from time when he let Richard Logan’s knock down roll across his body, but the 29-goal hitman dragged his close-range shot across the target via a deflection.
With little on the bench to change the game, all Bury could do was throw on youngster Liam Wales and Bury’s hopes of snatching a leveller drained away.
“I thought we defended well when we had to,” added Wilkins, reflecting on the game. “I said to the boys at half-time that the only way I could see them scoring was through a set play.
“Our two centre-halves were outstanding against their giants because they were giving away about four or five inches to the pair of them.”