Bury Town edge past Cray Wanderers in Ryman Premier thanks to Colchester United loanee Nnamdi Nwachuku’s late goal
- Credit: Archant
Bury Town edged past a resolute Cray Wanderers by one goal to nil on Saturday thanks to departing striker Nnamdi Nwachuku’s late goal.
Nwachuku, who enjoyed a successful spell at Ryman Premier rivals Leiston earlier this season, signed off his loan deal from Colchester United in style as his predatory follow-up header, after Ross Bailey had hit the crossbar, ultimately proved the difference in this absorbing match.
The scoreline doesn’t make this game look like it was a cracker, but for a game that only had one goal and was played between two sides bereft of confidence beforehand following equally woeful form, it certainly lightened up the 305-strong crowd at Ram Meadow.
Saves were made, posts were struck, last-ditch tackles became a formality, brave blocks were encouraged, and there was even time for some handbags to be thrown about.
All in all, it’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride for Bury Town this season.
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Up until the end of January, they had looked on course for a possible play-off challenge but following well-documented financial problems, boss Richard Wilkins has been powerless to player departures, injuries and suspensions, and therefore, a turn of fortunes.
Pre-match, Bury had accumulated just five points from a possible 45, winning just once in a run of 15 league games that saw them score a paltry five times.
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You wouldn’t have thought that on this evidence though. Nor would you have thought that already-relegated opponents Cray had recorded just 26 points all season, conceding 125 goals in the process.
This win all but mathematically seals Bury’s Ryman Premier status, although it would have taken a miraculous set of results for them to be involved in a proper relegation scrap anyhow.
Danny Cunningham was central to everything positive for Bury going forward all afternoon as he thrived in an advanced central role.
After just two minutes, his excellent pinpoint cross arguably deserved a goal, but Nwachuku agonisingly failed to make contact.
Although he ended up being the match-winner, Nwachuku might be wondering how he didn’t take the matchball home with him after twice stabbing over from close-range in the aftermaths of Bury corners.
Bury were dominant in the first half and went into the interval knocking on the door of that elusive goal, and although that eventually came, it wasn’t without a scare.
Cray came out of the blocks in determined fashion in the second half, and were left incensed after strong penalty appeals were controversially turned away after Moses Ashikodi’s cross appeared to be handled by Callum Bennett.
Paul Vines was next to give Bury a fright, but both his powerful efforts were bravely blocked by keeper Marcus Garnham and inspirational skipper Tom Bullard.
And after Whight hacked Michael Akande’s 73rd minute flick off the goal-line, Bury finally started to show a bit of life as the increasingly involved figure of Bailey was inches away from the top corner with an audacious effort.
Cunningham then hit the post with a beautiful curling effort from 20 yards that had the keeper beaten all ends up, before Nwachuku pounced with an instinctive 82nd minute header after Bailey had seen his textbook header rebound off the angle of crossbar and post.
There was still time for Giannoulis Fakinos to crash the woodwork via the fingertips of Garnham, but Bury were victorious.