Reed’s boots and free-kicks dazzle to bag Bury victory

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Sam Reed proved that his confidence never wavered after scoring a brace of free-kicks to treble his tally of league goals for the season.

The striker, whose only Ryman Premier strike of the season against Wingate and Finchley on November 24 preceded a 17-match goal drought, starred as the Blues moved within a point of the play-off places by dispatching bottom club Thurrock 3-1.

Craig Parker had opened the scoring before Lewis Spence’s equaliser, but it was Reed — sporting a dazzling new pair of bright orange boots — who really shone.

“I felt confident because I’ve been playing well,” said Reed, who now has nine goals and 16 assists in all competitions this season.

“Although I haven’t been scoring the goals, I hadn’t been getting down and knew I had the ability to put those free-kicks away.

“Sandsy (John Sands) is the goalscorer in the team, so I’ve had to take a step back, but I’m more than happy to keep providing the chances for him if he’s going to stick them away.”

Bury took the lead in the 10th minute when Jordan Patrick accelerated down the right and sent over a low cross that evaded Sam Reed, but found Parker, who took a touch before lifting his volley over Viner and into the net.

The hosts’ lead lasted just six minutes as Spence gave Sam Nunn the slip before powering a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

The frantic start continued as Sam Reed won a free-kick on the edge of the area and then got up to guide the dead ball through the wall and past a static Viner.

There were problems though for the Blues as the game became more scrappy and fractious, with Russell Short the first to be carried off injured when he twisted his knee in a rough tackle.

Substitute Elliot Hunter lasted just 21 minutes before taking a blow to the face that left him a bloody mess, while John Kennedy departed at the break complaining of a groin problem.

Buoyed by his first-half strike, Sam Reed continued to look dangerous in attack when he shot straight at Viner before being denied by the custodian’s feet, but when Hunter went off he had to fill in at right-back.

Thurrock threatened on occasion and when Marcus Garnham remained rooted to his line when the ball was tossed high into the box, substitute Jordan Clark spun and shot against the post.

However, the game was up for the Essex outfit when Sam Reed took advantage of a poorly-positioned wall to stroke his second free-kick into the bottom right corner and Bury could have had more.

Patrick’s electric pace took him two-thirds of the pitch in no time at all, but Parker could only head the winger’s cross at Viner, before John Sands — who had an unusually quiet night to take a back seat to Sam Reed — thumped a header against the crossbar.

Viner denied Parker and Mark Coulson in the closing stages, while Garnham excelled himself to keep out Ritchie Jones, but 3-1 was good enough for Bury to move within a point of fifth-placed Concord Rangers.

“We’ve got to build on it now,” added Reed.

“We can’t go and slip-up again because this win will mean nothing if we go and lose a couple of games.”

Bury: Garnham 6, Short 6 (Hunter 36, 6 (Ingram 57, 7)), Coulson 7, Kennedy 6 (Key 46, 6), Nunn 6, Bullard 7, Patrick 8, Parker 7, S REED 9, Sands 6, L Reed 6. Sub not used: Hall.