Bostik Div North
Grays Athletic 3 v 2 Bury Town
THE Blues put behind the disappointment of their 1-0 defeat on New Year’s Day to record their first win since November, to climb above Bury in what proved to be an entertaining afternoon with the final outcome in doubt until the final whistle. The match itself was delayed for over forty minutes after two of the officials failed to arrive due to a breakdown en route to Parkside – after frantic phone calls two replacement officials deputised. Despite the delay fans enjoyed an exciting afternoon of end to end football with Blues emerging victorious in a five goal thriller. A brace from Kieran Bishop and one from Aron Gordon contributing to Blues win.
Bury enjoyed the early possession and could have gone in front inside the first five minutes when an enterprising passage of play set up Ollie Hughes on the edge of the area, his rasping drive beating Clarke Bogard but not the woodwork. Minutes later Ryan Stafford raced forward unhindered getting his shot away but missing the target.
The visitors continued to play with quiet authority looking comfortable on the ball but they were served notice of Blues threat going forward when Mitch Hahn restored to the side struck a rasping drive from 25 yards, it was too hot for Luis Tibble, he spilled the ball into the path of Bishop who under pressure lifted the ball over the keeper and the bar.
Blues midfield were misfiring allowing Bury too much time and space on the ball which then put pressure on the back four, who worked hard to keep their goal intact , Bogard was certainly the busier keeper and had to be alert when Jake Chambers Shaw cut in from the right flank drilling a low effort which the Blues keeper did well to push behind.
Blues quick breaks looked to be the key to breaking the deadlock – they came close when Bishop chased down a long ball only to be halted by an agricultural challenge by Tibble leaving both combatants writhing on the floor – it looked a fifty-fifty challenge but inexplicably Bury were awarded a free kick.
With half time looming Bury would have been disappointed not to have converted their slight territorial advantage into goals, they were to be dealt a sucker punch when an incisive Ryan Mahal ball released Bishop who raced clear sliding the ball past Tibble to give Blues an unlikely lead.
Blue were re-energised after the break, the space and freedom Bury had enjoyed in the first period denied them by a Blues back line and midfield compressing the play. Hahn sent in another crisp drive which looked goal bound only to be deflected behind . It was now the Bury goal coming under pressure, a flowing move ended with Joao Carlos touching the ball just wide. Bury replied moving the ball out wide, the ball was slung in finding the head of Hughes heading tamely into the hands of Bogard.
The game was now finely balanced, crucially the next goal could influence the final outcome, chances came and went at either end eventually it was Bury who gave themselves a foothold in the 72nd minute. Blues vulnerability from corners again costing them, when Kyran Clements rose unchallenged to nod past Bogard. Only minutes later they probably should have gone in front when Cemal Ramadan stole in at the far post – his touch seeing the ball roll tantalisingly across the six yard line and eventually hacked behind for a corner.
That miss proved pivotal when just four minutes after being pegged back Blues regained the lead. A quick interchange between Carlos and Bishop released the Blues goalscorer with defenders in front of him he jinked inside his marker and smashed the ball past Tibble.
Not to be outdone Bury pressed forward but they were undone when a move broke down – Mahal picked the ball up and dissected a square back line, sub Gordon used his pace to good effect latching on to ball and slotted past the advancing Tibble to give Blues a two goal cushion, he nearly made it four moments later – this time putting the ball wide of the upright.
Blues with the two goal advantage looked to play down the clock – Bury had other ideas and pressed forward – rewarded in the 90th minute when a low cross was bundled home by Ryan Horne.
The goal set up a nail biting five minutes of injury time, Bury won a free kick on the edge of the box, Blues fans looked on anxiously and were relieved to see the resultant kick fly over, immediately after came the final whistle bringing to an end a gripping 90 minutes.
The win ended Blues winless streak and in the end they were good value for the victory, taking their chances in a much improved team performance.