DIVISION ONE NORTH
Bury Town 4
Hertford Town 2
Bury bounced back from successive defeats to climb back into the top six with this win — and recent signing Ricky Spriggs is confident the squad is capable of mounting a serious promotion challenge.
The 24-year-old centre-half was initially named on the bench, but he ended up playing the whole 90 minutes after Leon Ottley-Gooch injured his ankle in the warm-up.
Bury hammered newly-promoted Hertford 6-0 in the reverse fixture and were always in control of Tuesday’s contest with great strikes by Bradley Barber and Cemal Ramadan sending them in 2-0 up at the break.
The latter got his second from the penalty spot soon after the restart and Darren Mills made it 4-0 before the visitors pulled two back.
And Spriggs, who was playing at lower-league Holland FC last season, revealed he choose to sign for the Blues as he believes they can help deliver his first promotion in senior football.
“I spoke to someone at Bury after leaving Bishop’s Stortford and they mentioned they wanted to get promoted this year to the Bostik Prem, and that’s where I want to be heading,” he said.
“We were really pleased with tonight’s performance; bouncing back after two poor results is important if you want to be a team that goes up.
“We are back in the top six now and really pleased.”
Spriggs, who has also had spells with Halstead Town, where he was captain, Heybridge Swifts, AFC Sudbury and Chelmsford City, added: “I’ve only had promotion at junior levels really, so I really want to take a senior team up.
“The gaffer has got a good set-up and a good ethos.
“The boys that are over here are talented lads and we could be playing in that Bostik Prem, definitely.”
Bury were bidding to make up for a disjointed display last time out at Ram Meadow, having lost 1-0 to Dereham Town the previous Tuesday, and soon had smiles back on home supporters’ faces with captain Barber rifling in a venomous strike from the edge of the area in the 16th minute, after the ball broke loose following Noel Aitkens’ low cross.
The hosts were moving the ball about so much better than that Dereham defeat and Ramadan and Aitkens created chances for themselves, while Barber was pulling the strings supremely from a deep role.
Hertford’s bench were incensed not to get a penalty on the half hour mark after contact could be heard up in the stands when Atikens missed the ball while running in opposite directions for a loose ball with Cameron Currie, who was left sprawled on the ground.
Spriggs made a goal-saving block soon after before Bury doubled their advantage in the 37th minute with Ramadan capitalising on a slip by Jay Lovell before the club’s top scorer curled the ball beautifully into the far corner.
Daniel Bond got clear of the Blues defence and had a great chance to pull one back before the break, but saw his shot goes just the other side of the far post.
The second half was not even two minutes old when the referee signalled for a Bury penalty, after Ramadan was knocked over by Ollie Sharman. The same player got up to emphatically fire into the top right-hand corner for his eighth goal in 12 games in all competitions.
Three minutes later it was 4-0 as Mills managed to produce an awkward header on the turn from Aitkens’ deep ball into the box.
It was not until just after the hour mark that Luis Tibbles was forced into his first proper save of the night, parrying Sharman’s long-range strike away.
A clean sheet was wiped out 10 minutes from time, though, when Lovell eventually lifted the ball in following a goalmouth scramble and Herford’s captain Sharman was left with a free header two minutes into stoppage-time for another consolation.
Bury: Tibbles, Cooper, White, Fenn (Yaxley 74), Spriggs, Clements, Aitkens (Robinson 77), Canfer, Mills (Wales 74), Barber (c), Ramadan. Unused sub: Jolland.
Free Press Man of The Match: Noel Aitkens. A constant thorn in Hertford’s side down the left and set up two of the four goals.