Bury Town 0 Hendon 1
by Derek Bish at Ram Meadow
A FINE strike from Hendon’s Jamie Busby condemned a lacklustre Bury Town to defeat in their opening home match of the season.
Just five minutes before Busby’s winner, Kieran Leabon missed a glorious chance to hand the Blues the advantage as he blazed wide from inside the six-yard box.
And manager Richard Wilkins was extremely unhappy with the display against a side Bury have now failed to beat in three Ryman League Premier Division meetings.
“In the first half we were very pedestrian,” said the Blues’ boss. “Hendon came here for the point, put a lot of men behind the ball and we fell into the trap.
“We showed a bit of spirit in the last 20 minutes, but missed chance after chance. It was easier for Kieran to score – he’s blasted it instead of tapping it into an empty net.”
In a first-half akin to a pre-season friendly, neither side looked particularly threatening, especially when Hendon switched from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1 within minutes of the start to counteract the Blues’ own five-man midfield.
Despite forcing a series of early corners, the closest the home side went to scoring was when Lee Smith sent a 30-yard free-kick dipping narrowly over the crossbar in the 45th minute.
At the other end, Marcus Garnham had to be alert to comfortably deny Michael Peacock, but the opening period passed with little for the 410-strong crowd to get excited about.
Eight minutes the other side of half-time, Garnham was fortunate to see the ball cannon off his midriff when Scott Cousins’ rasping drive took two deflections en route to goal.
That opportunity arose when the Suffolk side failed to clear their lines, and Busby fired two more warning shots following sloppy play by Bury.
Roy Essandoh was sent on by Wilkins just past the hour-mark in an attempt to improve his team as an attacking threat, and it certainly opened the game up.
Garnham beat away a bouncing free-kick from Elliott Godfrey before the Ram Meadow faithful were left with their hearts in their mouths when Casey Maclaren’s header looped narrowly wide.
However, it was Bury who had the best chance of all to take the lead.
Essandoh’s header was kept out by visiting custodian Berkley Laurencin, and when the ball was returned into the six-yard box, Leabon somehow blazed wide from close range when it seemed easier to score.
Garnham tipped over Carl Mc-Cluskey’s rasping drive, but Leabon’s miss proved costly come the 70th minute when Busby advanced and struck a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards.
Isaiah Rankin shot wide and Maclaren at Garnham, but Bury finished strongly, with Leabon again going close when he made a superb run on to Essandoh’s flick-on, but slid the ball agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
Essandoh’s own attempt was deflected wide and Lee Smith summed up Bury’s lack of composure in front of goal by slicing the home team’s final chance well wide in the fourth minute of stoppage time.