Bury Town 2
Potters Bar Town 1
Ben Chenery hailed his side’s dogged determination to keep their play-off challenge alive as they made it six points from six at Ram Meadow on Tuesday to move a tantalising two points off the play-offs.
A second brace from Cemal Ramadan — having also scored twice at the same venue in the 4-2 home win over struggling Ware on Saturday — coupled with a steely second-half display, ensured Bury registered back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season, the first being way back in September.
In both matches the Blues showed their character and hunger to extend their season into the promotion play-offs.
On Saturday, they had seen a two-goal lead — from Ramadan’s 35th minute penalty and 63rd minute strike — wiped out with two Ross Elsom goals in three minutes, before going on to score twice more — via Darren Mills and Ryan Jolland inside the last 10 minutes — to ensure the three points.
And on Tuesday, heads could have dropped after a penalty was dispatched by Michael Murray in the 22nd minute to level up Ramadan’s ninth-minute opener.
But the Blues bore straight down on Potters Bar’s goal from the re-start and got themselves back in the lead within 60 seconds, thanks to Ramadan’s 24th goal of the campaign (17 league).
But having also come from behind with a last minute equaliser in the derby at AFC Sudbury recently, manager Chenery says it is no coincidence that his side have acquired a resilience that he hopes will propel them into the top six.
“I would say I myself as a personality am quite resilient and have the ability to deal with the pressure and on the pitch we have looked at that this year,” said the ex-Cambridge United professional.
“When we concede we take it as an insult and we re-set and go even harder and further.
“That is our mantra as a team: we will never give up, we will be patient, brave and courageous and as long as we are all doing it, and we have been, we will get results.
“Credit to the players, I can only guide them, but they are delivering it.
“You can see tonight that from one to 11 and the subs coming on, everyone is on the front foot and everyone is looking to tackle and run that extra bit further.
“We have got that character and that will take us a long way this season.”
Chenery named an unchanged side from Saturday for the visit of sixth place Potters Bar Town, who went into the match five points and four places above the Blues, having played four games less.
But Ryan Jolland was withdrawn from the starting XI after aggravating a niggling injury in the warm-up, with Joe Yaxley stepping up from the subs bench.
Bury made a strong start and took the lead in the ninth minute following a Tevan Allen corner which, after it was headed on, Ramadan volleyed in via a deflection.
Luis Tibbles claimed a half volley from Sandro Costa Dias Frernandes through a crowd of players before the visitors were gifted a leveller via the penalty spot. Joe White clipped Dias Fernandes in the area in the 22nd minute and Murray fired low into the left-hand corner with Tibbles going the wrong way.
Before the crowd had chance to digest things, Bury were celebrating re-gaining the lead after Ollie Hughes’ shot was spilled by Berkley Laurencin and Ramadan reacted to slam the loose ball home.
The referee’s whistle frustratingly dominated the rest of the half with neither side able to seriously threaten a further goal before the break.
Ollie Fenn blazed over from a great chance in the box early in the second half, while Joe White managed to recover his own mistake to prevent an equaliser soon after.
Yaxley should have also stretched Bury’s lead when unmarked at the far post, but could only muster an air shot.
Tibbles was soon called into action to parry away a dipping long-range volley from a Chris Doyle
Bury were able to ride out the rest of the game well though, with White making a good last-ditch clearance, to take three vital points off a play-off rival.
Saturday’s trip to seventh-place Haringey Borough (3pm) provides another big opportunity, with the manager’s first target to come out of it unbeaten.
“I look at it that you have to win your home games now and you have to make sure you don’t lose away,” he said.
“They are two points above us and if we don’t get beaten I would be happy with that, but I certainly fancy us to win.
“It is a 3G pitch and we will pass the ball well.
“They are a physical team, full of running but we go there without any fear.”
That game, and Tuesday’s re-arranged home game with Witham Town (7.45pm), will come too soon for captain Bradley Barber’s return (neck), while defender Ricky Spriggs (knee) is set to get his scan results today.
Chenery revealed he was speaking to two players ahead of this weekend, a wide forward player and a defender, with a view to bolstering his squad for the run-in.
Bury: Tibbles 7, Cooper 7, Yaxley 8 (Kennedy 79’), Fenn (c) 7, White 7, Clements 7, Allen 7, Aitkens 7 (Yallop 80’), Ramadan (De’ath 90’) 8, Hughes 8, Mills 8.
Unused subs: Jolland, Robinson.
Free Press Man of The Match: Cemal Ramadan. Another two goals and showed his star quality.