RYMAN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE NORTH: Bury Town 0 Brightlingsea Regent 1
A scrappy Luke Read strike just after the break proved to be enough for Brightlingsea Regent to become only the second team to take three points off Bury Town this season.
In a game that was watched by a crowd of 306 tongiht, the Blues’ biggest league gate of the season, the home support were ultimately left disappointed as Bury failed to build on the exciting goal-getting football which saw them bag a 5-1 win on the same ground just four days previously.
Alex Steed had recovered from the injury which had kept him out of that win over Romford while striker Ollie Hughes, who went off injured in the opening 10 minutes of that game, did not recover from a hamstring problem in time, with Ben Chenery only naming three players on the substitutes bench.
It was hearts in mouth time as referee Daniel Hanna went to consult his assistant after home goalkeeper Neil O’Sullivan flew off his line and jumped into a challenge to deny Terry Rymer from Brightlingsea’s first attack.
But, with no goalkeeper on the bench, relief swept around Ram Meadow when he produced a yellow card.
The home support were soon sounding their appreciation as youngster Neol Aitkens sent a fizzing drive over the bar, while Sam Reed and Remi Garrett fired in shots of their own in a promising spell.
The Essex visitors, who went into the evening in 14th place and with three wins from their last five games, continued to look dangerous going forward and Tevan Allen found himself in the right place at the right time to make a crucial interception in the box, while a Jake Tuner long-range effort deflected off Darcy De’ath and spun not far wide of O’Sullivan’s right-hand post.
Home captain Phil Weavers headed over at the other end as neither side were unable to break the deadlock before the break, while the visitors saw injury rob them of their captain Matthew Cripps.
The second half was only three minutes old when Brightlingsea took the lead after profiting from Bury’s misfortune.
After they broke through down the left-hand side, left-back James Paterson made a hash of attempting to clear the cross, sending it against number 10 Read and watching on in horror as it spun off him and past a helpless O’Sullivan.
It set the tone for the second half with the R’s continuing to dictate play as they went in search of a second, with Bury bringing on veteran former Ipswich Town midfielder John Kennedy as they looked to regain control of the midfield.
There was soon a flurry of bookings going against Bury as the game descended into a scrappy affair with Remi Garrett, Kennedy and Allen all joining O’Sullivan in the referee’s notepad.
Weavers had to make the most of his positioning on the near post to make a crucial block to keep his side in the game, while he also came to the rescue after O’Sullivan flew out to the left-wing and saw his sliding challenge miss the ball and Russell Malton who skipped inside, but could not get his cross-cum-shot past the Bury number six.
Ollie Canfer, playing against the club he spent last season with, came agonizingly close to sliding home Garrett’s cross after a swashbuckling run down the right wing, just sliding in a fraction too early, while he also did well to flick on De’ath’s late long throw, but saw Brightlingsea scramble the loose ball clear.
There was to be no late drama though as the R’s travelling support were left celebrating at the final whistle in a result which saw Bury drop a place to sixth on a night where Suffolk rivals AFC Sudbury moved up to second after a last-minute winner (2-1) from ex-Blues’ player Craig Parker at home to Dereham Town.
Chenery’s Bury are back at Ram Meadow on Saturday for their third home game in a week when they host Kings Langley in the FA Trophy first qualifying round (3pm).
For a preview to Saturday’s tie, and all you need to know about the opposition, don’t miss Friday’s Bury Free Press print edition.
Bury: O’Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Steed, De’ath, Weavers, Canfer, Aitkens, Reed, Barber,