RYMAN LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION
Bury Town 0
Hampton and Richmond Borough 0
Stand-in captain David Bridges admitted Bury Town did not deserve anything more than a goalless draw against Hampton and Richmond Borough.
The former Stevenage Borough midfielder filled in the role with Tom Bullard laid up in bed with tonsillitis, but was forced to concede the Blues were too ‘pedestrian’ in their search for a winner at Ram Meadow on Saturday.
In a turgid affair, both goalkeepers excelled when called upon as Bury earned their first clean sheet of the new season.
“We feel like it’s two points dropped,” said Bridges. “We never got going, lacked spark and were pedestrian.”
Bury made two enforced changes to the side that started the 3-2 victory over Harrow Borough the previous Tuesday, with Russell Short in for Bullard and Ryan Semple for his full debut in place of John Kennedy (Achilles).
In a turgid first half lacking any real creative spark, John Sands forced Rodney Chiweshe to acrobatically tip over, but it needed the excellence of last year’s Ryman Premier goalkeeper-of-the-year Marcus Garnham to keep the Blues on level terms.
Hampton carved their way through some woeful Bury defending in the 25th minute and Joe Turner struck the post before the ball was clipped back in and Garnham had to react sharply to keep out Charlie Moone’s header.
The home side’s number one pulled off another save to stop Rob Carrick scoring five minutes later and the half-time whistle could not come quick enough for the hosts, with the Ram Meadow crowd becoming increasingly frustrated at their team’s inability to keep possession.
However, the standard of the match continued to go downhill after the break and there were no further chances for either side until 18 minutes from time.
Bury finally demonstrated some of the attacking prowess that had been so evident in the win over Harrow when Bridges, Billy Clark and Seb Dunbar combined to create an opportunity for Joe Whight, who stung the hands of Chiweshe.
The visiting custodian was at it again eight minutes from time to deny Sands, who had been handled so well by the Hampton defence — including former Premier League defender Darren Powell.
Dunbar’s cross caused chaos in the penalty area as Hampton twice failed to head away and Chiweshe was called into action to tip away Ross Bailey’s looping nod back in before blocking Sands’ follow-up strike when well placed.
Bailey — who replaced Richard Logan just after the hour-mark — was joined by Liam Wales and Ryan Taylor in the dying minutes as the Blues searched desperately for a breakthrough.
The latter of the substitutes nearly got the chance he craved when Alan Bray let Adam Bailey-Dennis’ hopeful volley forward run through, but Chiweshe was quickly off his line to head away before Taylor could get there.
Bridges fired into the hands of the goalkeeper in stoppage time, but Bury’s late pressure came to nothing as both sides were forced to settle for a goalless draw.
“We got what we deserved,” added Bridges. “We weren’t anywhere near our levels — certainly in the first half.
“We spent so much time defending that by the time we got the ball we looked sluggish and tired and were giving the ball away too cheaply.
“We sorted ourselves out a bit in the second half when they didn’t have so much of the ball.
“We had some decent chances, but on the whole running of the game we didn’t deserve any more and it’s a shame, especially coming off the back of the Harrow game the previous Tuesday when it was the opposite.”