Kicking the key as Bury beaten at home by Clifton
National League Two South
Bury St Edmunds 13
A backs-to-the-wall defensive display earned the visitors this crucial victory. The win edges Clifton further away from the danger zone whilst Bury will now be looking nervously over their shoulders, writes Simon Lord.
After the encouraging display at Redruth the previous week, this was not the performance new coach Nick Wakley would have wished for.
In a hard-fought, close game with both sides’ defences on top, the boot of Clifton’s Brad Barnes proved the difference – Bury managed only one kick from five attempts, while Barnes landed all three of his attempts, two crucially from the touchline.
Bury shaded the early exchanges but lost control of the ball on a couple of occasions having got into promising positions. Nick Perez had a penalty attempt drift wide before finally Mark Kohler broke the deadlock on 20 mins.
Fin Sharpe came in off his wing to make yards before firing a long flat pass to Kohler. The right wing still had work to do but he avoided his tackler and then had enough pace to get the ball down in the corner.
Perez was unlucky to see another penalty attempt come back of the upright as Clifton rode their luck but as the half wore on, the visitors gradually began to get more of a foothold in the game and on the cusp of half-time, Barnes landed a penalty to make it 5–3 at the interval.
The home side started the second period strongly. A good Bury scrum allowed Jan Hasenlechner to pounce on the loose ball to earn Bury a penalty.
The ball was kicked to the 25-metre line, and Bury worked the ball from the line out towards the try line before sending the ball out to Kohler for a simple score.
The early score raised the optimism, however Bury could not kick on and again chances were wasted. A yellow card to Yasin Browne for a high tackle was punished by Clifton who went through the phases to send Rovery over, and Barnes’ fine conversion brought the sides level.
A kick from Franco Catuogno edged Bury back in front with an hour on the clock, but the lead was short-lived.
Clifton stayed patient, and used their extra man to finally create space for Pomprhey to squeeze over. Barnes once again converted superbly from the touchline and Clifton led for the first time in the contest.
In the dying moments Bury had a chance to snatch the game but determined Clifton defence forced The Wolfpack to loose control of the ball when only feet from the line, prompting wild celebrations from the Bristolians.