Bury Town 1
Dulwich Hamlet 2
A late Cemal Ramadan goal was not enough as Bury Town’s FA Trophy dream ended at home against Dulwich Hamlet.
Ramadan struck 10 minutes from time to give the Ram Meadow faithful hope that their side might be able to force a replay against a side from the division above them.
But strikes either side of half-time from Nyren Clunis and Ryan Moss proved decisive for the visitors, who are currently top of the Ryman Premier Division.
Bury began brightly and had a couple of early long-range sights of goal with shots from Ramadan and Sam Reed, while Ollie Hughes was a consistent menace with his pace.
But the closest the home side came to a goal was when skipper PhilWeavers headed wide from a corner.
Dulwich, 29 places above their hosts on the league ladder at the start of play, weathered the storm, though, and gave notice of their own attacking threat when a Ryan Moss drive smacked the post with home keeper Neil O’Sullivan well beaten.
Moss again went close to breaking the deadlock when he headed a Jordan Hibbert cross wide following a swift counter-attack.
But the pressure on the home defence finally told 10 minutes before half-time when Clunis’ fierce shot from the corner of the box gave O’Sullivan no chance.
The winger then turned provider on 58 minutes to slide the ball through for Moss to score his team’s second, again after Bury had begun the half well.
Town boss Ben Chenery later said that goal “knocked the stuffing” out of his players, but they were given renewed hope when the ball cannoned off the crossbar during a scramble in the Dulwich box.
At the other end, O’Sullivan maintained some hope for Bury when he saved well from an Ashley Carew free-kick.
And when Ramadan smashed the ball in from close range with 10 minutes to go, it promised to set up a grandstand finish.
But, despite their efforts, the London side saw the game out to take their place in Monday’s second round draw.
And Weavers felt afterwards that his team should aspire to their standards.
He said: “Credit to them, they’re an excellent side. We’ve played them before and they always pass the ball well.
“They’re one of the best sides we’ve come across, but we should have done more in the first 10 minutes.”
He also admitted he should have done better with his own chance to open the scoring.
He said: “I always run into that space. It felt like an age for the ball to get to me. It held up in the wind but that’s no excuse.”
Chenery felt his side didn’t get the rub of the green with some contentious decisions from referee Anthony da Costa, but conceded Dulwich had managed the game better than his players.
But he was proud of their efforts, saying: “They’re going to make mistakes and we’ve got to handle that. This group is only going to get better.”
Bury’s Trophy involvement saw them slip a place to sixth in the Ryman Division One North table after their next opponents, Cheshunt, won 3-1 at Romford today.
Town travel to the Hertfordshire side on Tuesday night for a game skipper Weavers described as “huge.”
The teams shared the points when they met at Ram Meadow in September and Chenery added: “We’ve got to go there and give a performance that gets a result.”
Bury: O’Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Kennedy, De’ath (Collins 84), Weavers (c) Reed (Skevington 62), Aitkens (Nurse 77), Hughes, Ramadan, Hammett. Subs not used: Garrett, Steed.
Referee: A da Costa. Attendance: 441.