AFC Sudbury 1
Bury Town 1
After scoring a vital stoppage-time equaliser at rivals AFC Sudbury for his 19th of the campaign, Cemal Ramadan has revealed he is gunning for 30 goals to fire the Blues up into the promotion play-offs.
The former Ipswich Town youth player, who signed on a permanent deal at Bury, having previously had a loan spell, over the summer, is acutely aware that goals are what is currently holding them back.
His 91st minute conversion of his saved penalty on Monday came only after Bury huffed and puffed once again in front of goal to get their just rewards.
That strike was only Ben Chenery’s side’s fifth in their last seven matches, which has included five draws.
It had looked like a mainly rearguard display from AFC Sudbury would capture all three points after Ollie Peters’ 23rd minute breakaway goal had stood firm going into the dying minutes.
Ramadan reflected: “We’re really disappointed as we have to win that game.
“We just absolutely battered them for 90 minutes and a point wasn’t good enough from that.
“But at the end of the day a point is better than nothing.
“We have got to be more ruthless, myself included, as we need to score more goals.
“The defenders are doing brilliant for us back there.
“At the start of the season I set 25 and now I need to go and get 30.
“When I was a youth team player I was scoring plenty, but it is the first season I have really done the business. It is all down to the gaffer who has brought me back here and given me a chance.”
There was some shock from at least one half of the stadium when Abi Marriott, who has experience of internationals in the women’s game, signalled for a penalty as the match headed into additional time, but for Chenery it was great refereeing to bring play back after his shot had been saved.
“Cemal has got in front of the centre-half and he has clipped his heel. Credit to Cemal, he is not a Premiership player who will roll over, he has tried to get his shot off. But he was off balance and to be fair to the referee it was great refereeing.
“She has looked at it and analysed it and made the right decision.”
Having had Saturday’s home game with Witham Town postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, the Blues went into the match with fresher legs than their 16th placed opponents, who had drawn 1-1 with 10 men at Aveley 48 hours earlier.
With captain Bradley Barber still nursing a back injury, Chenery named an unchanged side from the 2-1 Boxing Day victory over Soham Town Rangers.
Eleventh-placed Bury made the early running in front of goal but a pair of ex-AFC players, in Tevan Allen and Kyran Clements, both put past the post, while another former Yellow, Ollie Hughes, forced a save from Jessup. But it was AFC who took the lead against the run of play midway through the half. A goal-kick out of the hands of Jessup was headed on by Mekhi McKenzie and Ryan Horne shrugged off Joe White’s challenge before neatly laying into the patch of Peters to apply the finish from inside the area. Jessup saved well with his legs from Bury’s top scorer Ramadan to ensure AFC held onto their slender advantage going into the break.
An absorbing derby continued with both sides having chances with ex-AFC ‘keeper Luis Tibbles turning Kane Munday’s long-range effort round his post, while Peters’ low arcing strike went just past the post. Up the other end, Hughes headed over, before Bury’s Tibbles had to make a flying save to keep out former Bury defender Joe Whight’s free-kick.
The visitors passed up a big chance to level in the 76th minute when substitute Darren Mills rolled his shot wide of the post with Jessup having misjudged his run out of his area.
But the goalkeeper made a good diving save to keep out Ryan Jolland’s low skidding effort and soon thought he had denied Ramadan in the last minute, only to see the referee pull play back for a penalty before he shot, with Whight adjudged to have clipped the striker.
Jessup dived to his left to save Ramadan’s spot-kick, but could not parry it out of danger, with the former Soham Town Rangers player slamming home the rebound to ensure his side a point.
Chenery said: “I thought we controlled possession very well without at times being ruthless enough.
Credit to Sudbury though, they were resilient and got people behind the ball to make it difficult for us.
“They hit us on the counter-attack at times but it is a local derby and we didn’t want to lose, so we take a lot of positives from that.”
Bury: Tibbles 7, Cooper 7, Jolland 7, Fenn (c) 8, White 6, Clements 6, Allen 7, Aitkens 7, Ramadan 7, Hughes 8, Robinson 6 (Mills 60’ 6). Unused subs: De’Ath, Kennedy, Yaxley.
Free Press Man of The Match: Ollie Fenn put in a real captain’s display in the absence of Bradley Barber.