Coker’s backing Bury after making captain’s return

FOOTBALL - Bury v Colchester''Pictured: Daryl Coakley and Cochesters Henderson
FOOTBALL - Bury v Colchester''Pictured: Daryl Coakley and Cochesters Henderson
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Bury Town 0 Colchester United 3

by Derek Bish at Ram Meadow

COLCHESTER United’s ex-Bury Town left-back Ben Coker has tipped the Blues for promotion from the Ryman League this season after facing them in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

The 21-year-old was handed the captain’s armband by manager John Ward on his return to Ram Meadow and played 55 minutes of the match, setting up a goal for the U’s before he departed to a round of applause.

“It was really nice of the gaffer to put me as captain,” said Coker. “I’ve spoken to some of the lads since I’ve left, but I’ve not played against them since so it was a really nice experience.

“The fans at Bury have also been really great. I spoke to a few of them after and it was nice to see they still care.”

And Coker, part of Bury’s Southern League Division One Midlands title-winning side in 2009/10, believes they can rise again, this time to the Blue Square Bet South or North league.

“They have some decent players there, some I’ve obviously played with,” added Coker. “They have made some good signings and I think they have got a chance of going up.”

Bury put up a decent show against a sluggish United outfit, who brought their full first-team squad to Suffolk.

Twice the Blues cut open their League One visitors in the early stages, the second of which saw Sam Reed bundled to the ground, but no penalty awarded.

Young centre-half Jack Cawley looked assured at the back against the physically-imposing threat of Kayode Odejayi, putting in one goal-saving block on the former Barnsley striker after Steven Gillespie had cut the ball back.

But there was nothing he could do to prevent the U’s opening goal, just a minute before half-time.

Fittingly, Coker was involved as he volleyed a cross over from the left, which Odejayi ducked under, allowing Brian Wilson to take a touch before smashing the ball into the top right-hand corner.

Colchester, who made six substitutions at the break, looked much sharper in the second half, mainly down to an inspired display from Thetford’s Ian Henderson.

He went close on a number of occasions and was heavily involved in the U’s second goal, in the 51st minute. The 26-year-old’s chip was headed against the crossbar by Odejayi and tucked in from close range by John-Joe O’Toole.

And the scoring was completed quarter of an hour later when Gillespie ended a flowing move by smashing past Marcus Garnham from just inside the penalty area.

Bury: Garnham (Robbins 67), Hunter (Scurlock 58), Coulson (Coakley 67), S Smith (Kennedy 46), Cawley (Hall 58), Bullard (Hitching 67), L Smith, Scowcroft (Nurse 46), S Reed (Leabon 46), Ingram (Essandoh 67), Cunningham (Clark 46).

Colchester: Cousins (Pentney 46), Wilson (White 46), Okuonghae (Heath 46), Bender (Eastman 46), Coker (Rose 46), Duguid (Izzet 46), Bond (Henderson 46), O’Toole (James 58), Gillespie (Arnott 69), Odejayi (Vincent 58), Wordsworth. Attendance: 312.