Grays Athletic 3 v 1 Bury Town
Report courtesy of Grays Athletic
THREE quality goals in a ten minute first half spell were enough to guarantee Blues all three points on a cold and icy afternoon at Parkside. Joao Carlos back to his scintillating best, earned himself the MOM award with a sparkling display, capping it with Blues second goal. Not to be outdone, Kieran Bishop helped himself to a brace, bringing his season league tally to twenty. The first forty-five minutes once again saw Blues play some attractive football and it looked at one stage they would score with every attack. Bury came back into the game in the second half reducing the arrears, but Blues held out to move above Bury in the league table.
After an early scare, when Ollie Hughes forced a corner capitalising on a careless pass by Ade Cole, Blues confidently took the game to their visitors, playing with verve moulded by a driving midfield. The momentum built up and in the ninth minute Blues edged in front. Bishop latched on to a long ball from Lamar Johnson, cleverly avoiding a challenge he cut inside and fired decisively past Luis Tibbles, with the aid of a slight deflection.
Bury looked stunned by Blues rapid start and just two minutes later Blues doubled their advantage. Michael Finneran played a speculative high ball to the edge of the box, Tommy Wade who was causing real problems for the Bury back line, managed to play the ball to Carlos, who unleashed an unstoppable shot cannoning off the underside of the bar past Tibbles. Carlos was becoming more and more influential, combining well with James Folkes down the left flank with some clever interplay.
The goal momentarily stirred Bury, who forced an immediate corner which Blues cleared away. Carlos then embarked on a lightning break, feeding Bishop inside the six yard box, but a poor first touch allowed Tibbles to pounce on the loose ball.
The nineteenth minute saw Blues register a third, when a Richard Halle free kick found Dennis Oli and although closely marked he managed to turn his marker and lay the ball to the unmarked Bishop, who had a simple tap in. The opening twenty minutes had seen Blues play an exciting brand of attacking football leaving Bury shellshocked, but to their credit they didn’t crumble and began to see more of the ball.
A quick Bury raid down Blues right flank saw the ball flashed across the area, where Hughes saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line.
Next, Bury top scorer Cemal Ramadam had a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears when he broke clear with only Johnson to beat, he somehow missed the target, putting his effort wide of the upright. The visitors certainly looked a more competent force going forward, unlike their back line who seemed traumatised by Blues attacking force.
Ramadan forced Johnson into a save from a free kick, but it was Blues who created the last chance of the half, when Bishop funnelled a ball to Wade, who looked certain to score, but he was denied by a last ditch block.
A fairly nondescript opening to the half erupted in the 54th minute, when a horrendous tackle from behind on Oli incensed both the victim and his teammates, resulting in a melee involving players from both sides. When order was finally restored, Cole and Ryan Jolland found themselves in the referees notebook. Three minutes later Bury reduced the arrears, when a ball inside Ryan Mahal left Ramadan clear and he made no mistake slotting the ball past Johnson.
The goal lifted Bury, and for a time they enjoyed the lions share of possession,but although their play was neat and intricate they failed to carve out a clear opening, thanks to some resolute defending by the Blues back line and the protection from a midfield, where Stan Muguo was putting in a heavy shift and winning the battles in the middle.
Having weathered the early storm, Blues roused themselves and again took the game to Bury. Sub Glenn Poole picked the ball up from a Bury corner, playing it quickly forward he found Wade, who cleverly nodded the ball into the path of Bishop, but hesitation cost him the chance to hit the target. A Poole free kick found the head of Halle who nodded over.
At the other end, a Bury corner saw Johnson claim the ball and clear comfortably. He was tested moments later, when an ambitious effort from 30 yards by Jolland saw the Blues keeper make a comfortable save. Blues replied when a free kick eventually fell to Muguo, who unleashed a howitzer that fizzed just wide with Tibbles beaten. A Mahal cross to the far post found Carlos who thought he had scored, only to see Tibbles make a stunning save to turn the ball behind.
It was Bury who had the next opportunity, when a corner to the far post saw Ramadam drill just over. Chances opened up for both sides. Wade presented an opening for Bishop, but he missed the target and then sub Furo Gogo-Ibiama wasted a golden opportunity, when he was set up by Carlos, missing the target with the goal at his mercy. Ollie Hughes then provided Bury’s last opportunity, picking up the ball and running across the Blues back line, but fired wide.
So Blues claimed victory with a performance full of verve and hard work. The play offs arguably are now beyond them, but all they can do is try and win their remaining games and put pressure on teams above them.
Next week sees them make the long trip to Norfolk to meet struggling Norwich United, who will be no pushover in their quest to avoid relegation, however Blues current form suggests they are more than capable of coming away with three points.
Johnson, Mahal, Folkes, Finneran, Halle, Muguo, Oli (Poole 65), Cole (Gogo-Ibiama 72), Bishop, Wade, Carlos (Thompson 88)
Subs not used. Simmonds,Bruce