Jordan Patrick’s late strike earned battling Bury Town a 1-1 draw in front of 1,615 fans at Maidstone United in the Ryman League Premier Division on Saturday.
The Blues adapted well to the artificial surface at Gallagher Stadium and were able to create a few openings in the early part of the match, but neither side mustered any clear-cut opportunities.
Bury suffered a blow when John Kennedy was forced to leave the field during the first half with an ankle problem and, as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close, goalkeeper Marcus Garnham made a couple of saves.
Shane Tolley broke through early in the second period, but he took his shot too early and it was going well wide when goalkeeper Lee Worgan made sure of the ball’s trajectory by pushing it out for a corner.
Maidstone took the lead after 58 minutes when Frannie Collin collected Rory Hill’s cross, turned his marker and rolled the ball past Garnham and into the net.
The hosts had more of the play after the opening strike, but never seriously troubled Garnham again and Bury gradually began to work themselves back into the game.
The Blues were close to drawing level when Russell Short’s sweet strike from outside the box cannoned off the angle of the goal.
That effort spurred Bury on and Worgan had to be alert to save a shot from his own defender Tom Mills, as he dashed in to get a foot to an effort from Patrick.
But the goal Bury had desperately searched for came with just nine minutes left on the clock when Patrick smashed a neat shot into the top corner.
Bury: Garnham, Short, Dunbar, Kennedy (Smith 35), Bailey-Dennis, Bullard, Semple, Whight, Clark, Tolley, Patrick. Subs not used: Roulston, Taylor. Attendance: 1,615.