Below-par display sees Blues dumped out of cup

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Redbridge 1 Bury Town 0

by Derek Bish at Oakside Stadium

BURY Town were on the end of an FA Cup upset as another stuttering performance and two penalties cost them their place in the third qualifying round.

The Blues rightly conceded a penalty inside six minutes for handball, but only once the referee’s assistant – some distance from the play – flagged to award it.

Early in the second half, Bury looked to have a strong shout for a spot-kick, again for handball, but none was forthcoming from either the referee or the opposite linesman, despite strong protests from the visitors’ players, management and fans.

“They got a decision for a penalty when the referee was two yards away but only gave it when the linesman flagged,” said the Blues’ boss Richard Wilkins. “In the second half there was exactly the same decision to be made for us, but the other linesman said he couldn’t flag because the referee was only two yards away.

“You sometimes get linesmen who are stronger than the referee, and when the referee had a decision early in the second half he didn’t give it, yet it’s more of a penalty than the first one.”

However, that only told part of the story as Bury – warned they could be on the wrong end of a cup upset unless they improved on recent displays – found themselves limping out of the FA Cup.

“We just didn’t create much,” added Wilkins. “But Redbridge didn’t create much and didn’t deserve to win either.

“We got in so many positions, but our final ball was awful and Kieran Leabon should have scored with a free header when we did get it in.

“There were a lot of players out there who did not perform.”

Bury made two enforced changes from the previous Tuesday’s win over Concord Rangers, with Sam Nunn replacing the suspended Tom Bullard and Kieran Leabon chosen in attack as Sam Reed attempts to overcome a hamstring injury.

Just over five minutes were on the clock when the game was decided. Roscoe Hipperson handled as he tried to fend off Ryan Murray and Ben Bardbury confidently stepped up to dispatch the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, with Marcus Garnham going the wrong way.

Any chances the Blues created ended with tame shots being gathered by home custodian Adam Rafis – Kieran Leabon and Lee Smith the main culprits – although Roy Essandoh and Danny Cunningham also volleyed off target.

At the other end, Garnham clawed away James Robinson’s low shot on the turn, but after the break Bury continued to pose little threat to Rafis’ goal.

Their huge penalty shout was waved away, before Leabon tamely headed the best chance of the match – from Mark Coulson’s cross – straight at the home shot stopper.

The final chance went to Lee Smith, but the ex-Histon man fired straight at Rafis after breaking clear of the Redbridge backline in injury time, leaving the Blues’ cup dreams in tatters.