Bury Town manager Ben Chenery picks out his top three games this century
Having racked up 99 appearances for Cambridge United in his professional playing career, Ben Chenery has just finished his sixth season in charge of BetVictor Isthmian League North Division side Bury Town.
The defender who broke through at Luton Town, will have clocked up eight years at Ram Meadow in July, having originally joined the west Suffolk Blues as Richard Wilkins' assistant in July 2012.
After being unable to prevent a side constrained by tight new necessary financial controls being relegated from the Step 3 Ryman Premier in his first season in charge in 2014/15 he has delivered year-on-year improvement in league positions since.
Bury have built towards a return Step 3 ever since with finishes of 13th, 11th, 9th and 6th ahead of being 5th when the coronavirus pandemic brought the 2019/20 season to an abrupt end, with the FA council looking set to rubber-stamp a 'null and void' FA board recommendation to terminate it.
Despite scoring Canvey Island's winning goal in their FA Trophy final victory over Forest Green Rovers in 2000/01, the 43-year-old West Suffolk College football school teacher has opted to focus on his time at Bury for his top three games this century.
See his picks below:
Date: November 14, 2015
Result: Bury Town 1-1 Herne Bay (FA Trophy 2nd Qualifying Round)
Why memorable: This game is one in which I have fond memories, it was early in my managerial career and we were going through the rebuilding process, on and off the pitch.
It is remembered mainly for our goalkeeper scoring from a corner. That in itself does not happen very often, but coupled with the goalkeeper being (midfielder) Craig Nurse, following Neil Sullivan being sent-off will live long in the memory of Bury Town supporters.
In a game we totally dominated we found ourselves a goal behind just after the half-time interval. It was a nerve wracking remainder of the half, pushing for the equaliser and our task was made even harder when our goalkeeper Neil Sullivan was sent off for handling outside the 18-yard box on 90 minutes.
Craig Nurse put the gloves on, as he sometimes did in training. We were awarded a corner with a few minutes remaining and I remember Craig asking me if he could go up for it. I told him to stay back, as with three minutes remaining there was still time for us to get an equaliser and I didn’t want us to gamble too soon.
Thankfully, we won another corner in the 95th minute with only seconds remaining. And Craig along with the crowd, were calling for him to go up for the corner.
I remember it all happening in slow motion. Craig positioned himself just inside the 18-yard box, the corner being delivered by James Paterson and the ball falling to Craig, who didn’t get the truest of connections. but it was enough to send his shot into the far corner of the net and earn us a replay.
The scenes at the end were very special.
We won on penalties on the following Tuesday to progress to the next round with only 12 fit players and another record was broken, with John Kennedy scoring in the shootout, and that does not happen very often!
Date: September 9, 2017
Result: Bury Town 6-1 Tilbury (Isthmian League North Division)
Why memorable: This match was probably the most ruthless attacking display I have witnessed in my time as the manager of Bury Town.
We were determined to win, due to the fact we had been beaten by Tilbury a few weeks previously in the FA Cup and we were disappointed with our performance on that day.
From the very first whistle we were on the front foot and relentless going forwards.
We were awarded a penalty on six minutes which we unfortunately missed and I thought it may be one of those days.
However, we took the lead on 19 minutes, courtesy of an excellent curling strike from Darren Mills.
Two minutes later we were 2-0 ahead, Leon Ottley-Gooch scoring from close range following a save from the opposition keeper.
We were looking dangerous with every attack and on 27 minutes Olly Hughes headed home. Tilbury then scored against the run of play after 41 minutes and Cemal Ramadan scored a wonder goal from 30 yards that was still rising as it hit the net.
At the interval I could see that the players were intent on adding to their tally and it was one of the easiest half-time team talks I have had to deliver.
It wasn’t long until we scored our fifth, Olly Hughes crossing for Cemal to score his second and Cemal soon scored his hat-trick on 74 minutes, following another surging run from Olly Hughes whose pin-point pass to Cemal made it 6-1 (I am sure Cemal regularly thanks Olly for the assists!!).
This is how the score remained and it really could have been more; we missed two penalties and had a goal disallowed for offside.
It was a huge win and pleasing to put the FA Cup defeat behind us. It was a joy to watch the performance of the players in terms of the free-flowing football and how relentless we were in attack.
Date: February 8, 2020
Result: Bury Town 2-1 Histon (Isthmian League North Division)
Why memorable: It was hard to choose a game from the last two seasons; there have been some amazing games, especially in derby fixtures which add that little bit extra. A 4-3 win away at AFC Sudbury in the 2018/19 season and the 4-1 defeat of Felixstowe & Walton United at home this campaign.
However, I have picked a game from the current season, which typifies the attitude and mindset that the current squad and supporters share and that indomitable spirit we have displayed this campaign.
In our previous home game we entertained Dereham Town and were a goal behind with five minutes of the 90 remaining.
Two late goals, ones from Ryan Stafford on 85 minutes and Cemal Ramadan on 94 minutes saw us claim all three points, and with Will Gardner, an outfield player, going in goal to replace the injured Daniel Barden it was a remarkable victory and I thought that lightning wouldn’t strike twice.
However, the following Saturday we were at home again against an in-form Histon team, who had previously beaten us earlier in the season.
We had been suffering with a horrendous injury list, with no fewer than seven players missing on the day.
We again, unfortunately, found ourselves a goal behind. But the players dug deep and took the game to the opposition.
Joe Hood equalised on 60 minutes following some good work from Tommy Smith and we continued to surge forwards to get the winning goal.
With the game coming to a close, Histon were on the attack and shot wide. As our keeper was about to take the goal kick the linesman flagged and called the referee to the other end of the pitch. A conversation between the two resulted in us being awarded a penalty and the opposition goalkeeper being awarded a red card.
What followed was an agonising few minutes until the change of keeper was carried out and complete silence fell over Ram Meadow.
I remember the moment before Cemal Ramadan struck the spot kick. I looked to my left and saw all the injured players and staff standing by the dugout and the expectancy on the fans' faces.
In those kind of pressure situations there is nobody better that you would want to take the penalty than Cemal. And Cemal did what he does best and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
It was harsh on Histon to lose so late on, but it was a remarkable victory, not just due to how late we scored, but also to the huge injury list we had at the time.
The scenes from the players and fans at the final whistle was the best I have seen at Ram Meadow for some time.
Catch up on the series so far:
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More by this authorRussell Claydon