FA TROPHY THIRD QUALIFYING ROUND
Bury Town 4
Bury Town boss Ben Chenery felt that windy conditions played a part in what was a game of two halves at Ram Meadow on Saturday as the Blues progressed to the first round proper of the FA Trophy, writes Michael Steward.
A stirring second half performance from the home side saw them run out 4-2 winners in a game that was largely dominated by their Essex visitors before the break.
Ollie Hughes’s opener for the Blues was cancelled out by Michael Toner’s tap-in on the stroke of half-time, before goals from Noel Aitkens, Cemal Ramadan, and Phil Weavers put Bury firmly in charge of the tie in the second half.
Toner scored his second with virtually the last kick of the game to add a late consolation for Thurrock, but it was not enough to spoil Bury’s day and the Blues will now host Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday, December 12.
Chenery said: “The wind was a big player first half and I told the lads at half-time that the second half would be our time.
“Sometimes you have to look at the conditions in a match and they do play a big part, but I always felt if we got in at half-time level, then we’d be in with a great chance.
“I thought Thurrock did well first half and their goal was coming, but I got my lads going at half-time and we scored some great goals in the game.”
Chenery added that he thought the Blues enjoyed some good fortune in being awarded a second half spot-kick for handball that led to the third goal.
He said: “I’ve got to be honest, I thought the penalty was a bit harsh on Thurrock.
“It was a game changer really, but it went our way and with the wind at our backs we went on from there.
“Thurrock are a good side, they’re third in the league and have scored a lot of goals this season.
“But cup football is very different to league football and I was thoroughly pleased with the performance and the win.”
The Blues were missing Ollie Canfer and new signing Connor Hall, who were both cup-tied, as well as injured duo Bradley Barber and Justin Miller, and goalkeeper Neil O’Sullivan and Tevan Allen through suspension. The visitors started the game strongly and a rasping drive from Reece Morgan from 30 yards flew only marginally over the Bury crossbar.
Debutant home keeper Duncan McAnally was called into early action as he clawed away an in-swinging corner from the post, and the referee waved away appeals from the visitors that the ball had crossed the line.
Bury took the lead in the 12th minute when James Paterson’s well delivered free-kick was met by Hughes who headed firmly past Rhys Madden in the Thurrock goal.
Despite the early setback, the visitors continued to press forward, and only last-ditch clearances from Nurse and then Weavers denied them.
Thurrock finally got the reward their approach play deserved in added time in the first-half when Joe Christou’s shot was palmed only as far as Toner, who tapped home.
Bury got off to fine start seven minutes into the second half when Remi Garrett’s excellent cross from the left found Aitkens in the box, and the young midfielder’s powerful header flew past Madden to regain the lead.
Things got even better for the home side in the 64th minute when Ramadan went racing clear only to see his shot saved by Madden and the ball ricocheted against Thurrock defender Kamarl Duncan’s hand.
The referee pointed to the spot, and Ramadan saw his penalty saved by Madden but the ball fell kindly for the Ipswich Town loanee to score from the rebound.
The Blues were well on top now and Weavers added the fourth goal with an excellent header from Paterson’s left-wing corner in the 72nd minute.
Toner’s sweet left-footed strike in injury time gave Thurrock a late consolation, but the £4,000 FA prize money for the round went to the Blues.
Bury: McAnally 6, Skevington 6, Paterson 7, Kennedy 7 (sub Collins 90) De’ath 6, Weavers 8, Aitkens 8, Nurse 6 (Hammett 59, 6), Hughes 7 (Reed 76, 6) Ramadan 7, Garrett 7. Subs not used: Yallop, Steed.
n Bury travel to AFC Hornchurch for a Ryman League Division One North clash tomorrow (3pm).