Bury Town 1 Maidstone United 2: Billy Roast thought Bury were worth at least a point against play-off chasing Maidstone on Saturday, as the Blues’ luck continued to desert them.
The Colchester United youngster put in a big display in the home defence, but a last-minute lapse saw the visitors claim all three points, to condemn Bury to their fourth straight Ryman League Premier Division defeat.
A failure to deal with long throw-ins cost the west Suffolk side twice as Dan Parkinson put the visitors into an early lead before Zac Attwood was left free in the last minute to slam home the winner, after Nnamdi Nwachuku had levelled in the first half with a deft chipped finish which should have been added to.
“I think we were worth a point if not more,” said 18-year-old Roast, on loan from Sky Bet League One side Colchester United. “In the first half I think we dominated and used the channels quite well.
“We defended really well in the second half and we were unlucky to give away that goal,
“I just think we need to take our chances.
“Maybe we could have got one or two up on them then squeezed them, but I think we were very unlucky.”
The Blues’ fans were adamant they should have had a penalty late in the second half when Nwachuku tumbled after goalkeeper Lee Worgan raced off his line, but Roast felt it evened out one not given when Tom Bullard got away with a high boot as Charley Robertson went in to head.
“The ref should have given one for both teams, to be fair,” he said.
“I think the fans and the players were unhappy with some of his decisions but that is part of the game, I suppose, and we have to pick ourselves up and get on with it.”
Danny Cunningham and Jordan Patrick returned from injuries in place of Ross Bailey and Anthony Rouslton.
There was an early penalty shout waved away for the visitors when Cunningham fell into Tom Mills, with the Blues’ midfielder soon giving Maidstone a helping hand in a different way.
A long throw-in from the right caused panic in the Bury box and Cunningham headed it towards his own goal which allowed Dan Parkinson the opportunity to volley beyond Marcus Garnham with just six minutes on the clock.
Attwood should have doubled the lead moments later when latching on to a defence-splitting pass, but he put his shot beyond the left post.
Bury managed to recover their composure with Joe Whight almost finishing a swift counter, but he headed straight at Worgan.
The home side were level after 14 minutes though when Roast’s last-ditch saving tackle at one end saw him feed Miles Smith who launched a long ball forward from which fellow Colchester United youngster Nwachuku executed a perfect lobbed finished over the on-rushing Maidstone goalkeeper.
A golden opportunity was passed up when Nwachuku played a one-two with Joe Whight and from his cut back Whight, Cunningham and Callum Bennett all failed to forced the ball into the net.
Cunningham was all that prevented Jordan Patrick’s fierce drive going in, while Nwachuku came close to a repeat of his goal after Marcus Garnham had to save Steve Watt’s header at the other end from another dangerous long throw.
The second half was a different story with Maidstone, with the wind now at their backs, piling on the pressure on the Bury goal to prevent their play-off push from losing momentum.
Frannie Collin was at the heart of the onslaught as his angled chip clipped the top of the crossbar and he saw Tom Bullard volley his low free-kick out of a crowded box.
Roast threw his body in to block the number 10’s next attempt, which saw it run free for Attwood but he could only put it wide.
Robertson was soon screaming for a penalty with Bullard’s boot seemingly connecting with his head, as Collin scuffed wide amid the protests.
Jack Parkinson somehow headed over with the goal gaping, while Garnham made a crucial interception from a goalmouth scramble before, at the other end, Bury seemed to have a similarly strong case for a penalty when Nwachuku went down in a one-on-one.
The sickening dénouement saw Attwood ghost into enough space at the far post to have time to set his sights and bury Jack Harris’ flick-on from Jack Parkinson’s long throw.
But Roast, who said he is loving life at Ram Meadow, believes they will soon get their rewards if they continue to play the way they have been.
“With the performances we have been putting in in the last four games we have been so unlucky,” said the player set to go back to Colchester ahead of the final two games.
“I don’t know why but it is just in the players’ minds that it is going to happen, but we just have to keep believing and keep these performances up and it will come.”
* For player ratings and match stats, see Friday’s Bury Free Press print edition.