Kearns’ comeback as Bury advance to quarter-finals

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Bury Town 2 Corinthian Casuals 1

by Derek Bish at Ram Meadow

CALLUM Kearns paid tribute to the fans of Bury Town after making his long-awaited comeback from injury on Tuesday night.

The former Southend United trainee played 45 minutes for Team Bury on Saturday, and was then asked to step up to the senior squad for Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Corinthian Casuals in the Alan Boon Ryman League Cup.

John Sands headed the winner, but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Kearns, who made his appearance from the bench with 10 minutes left to play.

Kearns, who had not played for Bury since seriously injuring his knee at Staines Town 14 months ago, said: “I never expected it.

“Saturday was a bonus and I came through that so well – I surprised myself really.

“Then I was phoned up on Monday night and asked to play on Tuesday night. I did not expect to get on, but there were a few injuries so I got a bit of a run out.

“It was nice to hear the appreciation from all the fans. It’s been 14 months out, so it feels like all the hard work is starting to pay off and I’m getting back to where I was before the injury.”

With Danny Cunningham and Craig Nurse named as substitutes but not fit enough to take their place on the bench, Bury only had nine senior players available to start.

Daniel Hitching replaced Tom Bullard, the latest addition to the treatment room with an infected gash on his shin, while Ryan Clark was in the team in place of Cunningham, who limped off on Saturday.

John Sands’ header glanced the crossbar from Lee Reed’s right-wing free-kick in an otherwise quite opening 45 minutes, during which the latter also saw his low shot fizz narrowly past the left-hand post from brother Sam Reed’s cut-back.

Sands had a penalty appeal waved away at the start of the second half, but the visitors upped their game and Glenn Boosey struck the crossbar before putting Casuals — who once had the great Socrates turn out for them on a tour of Brazil — in front after latching on to a through ball.

Lee Smith tried to respond for the Blues after exchanging passes with Sands, but he was denied when one-on-one with goalkeeper Ricky Bowry.

However, Bury did not have to wait long to level with Sam Nunn rising above the visiting defence to power home a header from Lee Reed’s right-wing corner.

Boosey smacked the woodwork again with a speculative long-range effort, but Lee Reed teed up the winner for Sands in the 73rd minute, with the striker stooping to head home the midfielder’s corner from inside the six-yard box.

The pink-and-chocolate-kitted away side had one last chance to level seven minutes from the end, but Marcus Garnham made a tremendous reaction save to deny Saheed Sankhou.