Bury Town fire five past Witham Town as Ben Chenery looks for side to keep pressure up on Bostik League play-off zone
“We’re close.” That is the position Ben Chenery believes Bury Town sit in their challenge to finish in the Bostik League North Division play-offs this season, writes Alex Moss.
The Blues ran in five goals for the first time in 2018/19 as they eased past an improving Witham Town 5-2 at the Denny Bros Stadium on Tuesday night, a result which helped Chenery’s side close the gap on the top five to four points again.
And while Bostik League newcomers Coggeshall Town, who currently occupy 5th place and the final play-off position, have two games in hand on Bury, Chenery feels the Blues are not far away from breaking into the play-off spots.
“When I took this job in the Ryman Premier (in 2014), it was well documented the situation we were in financially,” the Bury boss said.
“It was a difficult task and we got relegated (in 2014/15). I always said that it would be a three-year plus programme here.
“And year-on-year in this league our league position has improved every year, so that’s my job again.
“I think the top five are very good. I think they have a lot of resources, but we’re close.
“We have to keep pushing and that was another testament to the lads today. We want to keep putting pressure on the teams above us.
“Some will have a blip and we need to make sure we can capitalise on that and if we get back-to-back wins against Basildon on Saturday, there’s no reason why we can’t cut that down to one point.”
For the fourth game running, Chenery named an unchanged side for the visit of Witham on Tuesday night, as the Blues looked to bounce back from their 3-0 weekend defeat at title-chasers Maldon & Tiptree.
The hosts, backed by the majority of the 245 in attendance who braved the cold weather, could not have wished for a better start.
The clock had barely past its first minute when Cemal Ramadan raced through unopposed on goal and finished past ex-AFC Sudbury goalkeeper Luca Collins.
Buoyed by that early breakthrough, Bury remained on the front foot and had created a catalogue of chances before Ryan Horne doubled their advantage after 25 minutes.
The midfielder, who would go on to claim the sponsors man of the match, saw his low strike from long range find the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Up to that point it was one-way traffic, as Witham rarely threatened a response. Striker Ayo Odukoya was regularly caught offside and Bury left-back Ryan Stafford dealt well with any attempted counter-attacks on his side of the pitch.
Ten minutes before the break, the visitors finally brought home custodian Luis Tibbles into action. Toby Aromolaran’s low effort was saved by the goalkeeper’s feet, and moments later Tibbles rushed out of his area to make a precise interception to thwart Johnny Ashman’s promising run.
Two became three for the Blues just before half-time, as Jake Chamber-Shaw’s corner was headed in by top goalscorer Olly Hughes.
The Bury frontman had gone four games without a goal, but ended his barren run with a header from close range to take his tally for the season to 13 goals.
It appeared that the damage had been done by half-time, but Witham gave themselves a glimmer of hope when Aromolaran pounced on sloppy defending by the Blues to pull one back early in the second half.
But the home side quickly regained their three-goal cushion as Clements converted from a corner in a virtually identical set piece which had seen Hughes find the target.
With the gap back to three goals and time running out, Witham’s chances of a late comeback were rapidly evaporating. But the opportunistic Aromolaran did grab his second of the night for the visitors with a neat turn and finish to reduce his side’s arrears to 4-2 on 75 minutes.
It was Bury, though, who would have the final say, as 10 minutes from time Clements rose again to head home from substitute Tommy Robinson’s corner to stretch their lead to 5-2.
And the centre-back could have gone home with the match ball, his effort with the last kick of the game going narrowly wide of the top corner to bring an end to an entertaining encounter, which saw the hosts get their bid for the play-offs back on track.
“It was really important we bounced back,” Chenery said. “The pitch was heavy, but we made it difficult for them from minute one.
“We got out the gates quickly and they’re a great set of lads. Their attitude and honesty is first class.
“I wanted to make sure we were impressive at home this year, and away from home we have to be streetwise.
“We did that at Romford and won 4-0. Maldon is a really tough fixture, but we’ve got games coming up against top five teams and teams in and around us which will go a long way to see where we finish up.
“The players want to make sure we come into the last few games with something to play for. The players are pushing and if it’s not enough then it’s not enough, but we’ll certainly be knocking at the door.”
Bury Town: Tibbles, Scott, Stafford, Fenn (c), Miller, Clements, Horne, Jolland (Robinson 66), Hughes, Ramadan (Machaya 46), Chambers-Shaw (White 81). Substitutes not used: Kennedy, Bugg. Booked: Jolland. Attendance: 245. Free Press man of the match: Clements - defender was a whisker away from a hat-trick.