Bury need one more win for title
BURY Town kept their composure to take another giant stride towards winning the Zamaretto League Midlands Division One title, thanks to a gutsy win at Woodford United in deepest Northamptonshire last night.
The visitors were never at their best, and were at times under the cosh, but a goal in each half from defender Sam Nunn and striker Kieran Leabon secured a ninth win on the trot for Richard Wilkins’ men.
Bury went into their penultimate game leading second-placed Hitchin by three points, although the Canaries do have a game in hand.
And Hitchin also won last night, 1-0 at Slough, to keep the gap at three points. They travel to Rothwell Town tomorrow night and are also away at Burnham on Saturday.
Crucially, though, Bury have a far superior goal difference and so one more win on Saturday will be enough for them to win the title.
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Nunn settled the nerves with an opening goal after just 13 minutes.
The Blues centre-half met Lee Reed’s corner with a thumping header that clearly crossed the goal-line before it was hacked away by a defender.
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But, despite scoring the early goal, Bury had a good deal of defending to do on a bumpy pitch in the first half.
Twice they conceded free-kicks in dangerous positions, which could have resulted in equalising goals.
Skipper Tom Bullard was the culprit on 18 minutes, when hauling down striker Ricky Johnson on the edge of the box. In fact, it was very nearly a penalty. Fortunately, Neil King’s fiercely-struck shot did not beat the Bury wall.
Nunn also gave away a needless free-kick, in a similar position in the 40th minute. This time big defender Chris Jackson blasted well over the bar.
But only the woodwork denied Woodford an equaliser just three minutes before the interval. An inswinging corner from Neil King was punched onto the far post by keeper Marcus Garnham.
Bury were happy to reach half-time with their slender lead in tact.
The closest they had come to a second goal was when Nunn went close with another header from a corner. The ball flashed wide with no team-mate able to apply the finishing touch.
Woodford kept up the pressure for the first 10 minutes of the second period, and Garnham made one excellent save to prevent Tom Fountain’s header from sneaking into the net.
However, Bury settled their nerves with a crucial second goal in the 62nd minute, thanks to the slick combination between Lee Underwood and Leabon.
The strike-force duo broke clear, and although Underwood’s initial shot was blocked by onrushing keeper Matthew Finlay, the alert Leabon was on hand to lash home the rebound high into the net.
Bury never looked like relinquishing their two-goal lead, so gaining revenge for their 5-4 home defeat at the hands of Woodford before Christmas, when they let a 3-0 lead slip.
The Blues will secure the title, and gain automatic promotion to the Premier Division, if they can beat Marlow at home in their last game of the season at Ram Meadow on Saturday.
BURY TOWN: Garnham, S Reed, Coker, Andrews, Nunn, Bullard, Kearns, Underwood (sub Tatham, 63), Leabon, L Reed, Henderson. Unused subs: Steward, Pope, Johnson and Nurse.