Bury Town 2
Mildenhall Town 1
Bury Town assistant manager Christian Appleford has said his side were ‘more than good value for the three points’, despite questions over the validity of the winning goal.
Both management teams were critical of the game’s officials — with Mildenhall boss Dean Greygoose vocal about his reservations over Bury Town’s second goal crossing the goal line, while Appleford felt the preamble to that goal should have seen a Hall player red carded.
But the winning honours were what mattered, Appleford added, as the team recorded back-to-back victories to remain in a steady mid-table position.
He admitted there had been pressure on manager Ben Chenery this season, with it ramped up after four straight defeats in January and into February compounded by comments to the Free Press that sparked ire among the county’s players.
But that had now lessened with the six points, alongside the players ‘showing they are and will work for him’.
Appleford said: “What a difference a week makes in football.
“There was pressure after losing four games but it’s amazing how quickly things can change.
“Ben is a really good manager, he really knows his stuff and, I think, we were unfortunate not to get any points during that period.
“The players have responded though and have shown they are working for him, everyone’s behind him at the club.
“It was a derby as well, and it’s important to win them.
“So we want to use the energy and positivity from this win to push us further forward now.”
While their play-off hopes now seem slim, the Blues assistant said they are not in tatters, if the team continue in this form.
He said: “Stranger things have happened. Play-offs could still be there, but we really have to go at it now.
“Last week we would probably not have said this, but six points has changed things.
”We go to Barking at the weekend and it’s an important game for us, they are right by us in the table and a win could move us up.”
Bury Town travel to the London club on Saturday (3pm), with eighth-position up for grabs in the Bostik North Division.
Following their win in the Premier Cup on Tuesday, Bury Town go into it unbeaten in three.
Their win over Mildenhall on Saturday was made the more impressive by the conditions, which saw the pitch turn into a quagmire as the game went on.
And it was a derby with plenty of drama to keep the 337 spectators entertained on the cold and wet afternoon.
Both teams showed they were keen to take the winning honours from the kick-off, and it looked as though Bury had got there first, although Cemal Ramadan’s goal was ruled offside after 16 minutes, as the home side enjoyed the majority of chances early on.
Tevan Allen almost scored in the 29th minute, as a corner fell to him at the back of the box, but he could only sky his shot over the bar.
Bury’s persistence eventually paid off in the 39th minute, as Ramadan lobbed ‘keeper Jake Hallett from the edge of the area to take his side into half-time a goal to the good.
Mildenhall came out a different team for the second half but, like the home side’s first half performance, missed key chances. Matthew Green, Claudio Ofosu and Jake Chambers-Shaw all missed opportunities to equalise within just 10 minutes.
They finally found a goal in the 58th minute, as defender-turned-striker Tom Debenham fired in from close-range after a goalmouth scramble.
The equaliser, however, seemed to reinvigorate Bury, who got back into the game during an exciting period.
A golden opportunity came in the 71st minute, but Darren Mills’ header went wide.
Controversy then exploded as Gareth Simpson put in a heavy tackle on Noel Aitkens in the 78th minute to spark a lively debate both on and off the pitch about how to sanction him.
After emotions died down and Simpson was cautioned, Bury Town put a free-kick into the box where an unfortunate Hallett spilled the ball.
Both Hughes and Ramadan leapt to it, with the ball deemed to have been bundled over by Hughes — with Greygoose claiming Hallett was ‘adamant’ it did not.
But Appleford said Simpson should have been shown a red card for the ‘two-footed tackle’ that led to the goal and felt any incorrect decisions did not, ultimately, affect Bury Town’s victorious end result.
“His feet left the ground, you just can’t do that,” he said.
“Noel got straight back up, but it probably would have been red if he’d stayed down.”
Greygoose, meanwhile, said: “I don’t understand how the linesman could have seen (the ball cross the line) with so many bodies in the way.
“I think it was a guess. And it cost us the draw I think we deserved. We had chances, they had chances, so we have to be more clinical.
“I’m still proud of the players for trying different things though, we’re a young side and sometimes it just doesn’t work in your favour.”
• On Tuesday, Mildenhall bounced back with a 2-0 home win over Witham Town, thanks to goals from Debenham and Chambers-Shaw.
The Hall host third-placed Potters Bar Town on Saturday (3pm).