Bury Town suffer home defeat to Islanders in front of bumper crowd
- Credit: Archant
Bury Town 0 Canvey Island 1
Below-par Bury Town suffered only their third league defeat of the season, at home to Canvey Island this afternoon.
The Blues began the day third in the table, fresh from festive 2-1 wins over Soham Town Rangers (at home) and Cambridge City (away), but they never really got out of first gear against a well-drilled Canvey team.
Sam Bantick clinched all three points for the Islanders with a clinical finish, in the 53rd minute.
Former AFC Sudbury and Heybridge Swifts striker Bantick advanced a few yards before burying a low shot into the bottom corner of the net, from 15 yards out.
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And Bury could find no response, despite Ryan Stafford having a couple of injury-time shots cleared off the goal-line, much to the disappointment of a bumper crowd of 482 at Ram Meadow.
It was a first half of very few chances, with passes going astray and crosses not finding their intended targets, although Canvey's well-organised defence also played their part in frustrating their hosts.
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Ryan Jolland registered the first goal attempt, on 11 minutes, although his 20-yarder flew straight at keeper Emmanuel Idem, while Ipswich Town loanee Alex Henderson headed over the bar from Joe Hood's 16th minute delivery.
A long-distance free-kick by Jake Chambers-Shaw, which went well wide of the near post, summed up Bury's first-half showing - no shortage of effort or application, but short on skill and accuracy.
Canvey Island, beaten in their two festive matches, offered very little as an attacking threat. Their only real first-half effort saw Sam Bantick's shot safely gathered by keeper Dan Barden.
Bury's best moment of the first half arrived in the 34th minute when Ollie Hughes and Ryan Stafford combined inside the penalty area. Joe Hood eventually swung over a cross and Stafford's deft header drifted only a foot wide of the far upright.
Stafford turned creator, in the 44th minute, his cross being ballooned over the bar, off the head of Hughes.
It was Canvey Island who started the second half on the front foot, and their supremacy was rewarded with an opening goal in the 53rd minute.
Bantick smashed home a low drive, giving Barden no chance as the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
And it was very 2-0, shortly afterwards, as James White's free-kick whistled across the face of goal and wide, with two team-mates just unable to divert home from inside the six-yard box.
Only the woodwork denied the Gulls a second goal in the 65th minute. Barden was well beaten by centre-half White's thunderous free-kick, the ball cannoning off the foot of the near post and rolling to safety.
Bury struggled to even test keeper Idem, while at the other end goalscorer Bantick had a goalbound shot blocked as the visitors continued to grow in confidence.
Substitute Colin Oppong did finally threaten for the hosts, on 80 minutes, although his shot was charged down by a defender, on the edge of the box.
Jolland came close to poaching a point, in the 83rd minute. His sweet volley, from Stafford's cross, was heading for the net until it took a deflection for a corner.
In the last minute of normal time, Barden denied Canvey a second goal with a full-length save to keep out Jason Hallett's fine effort, while at the other end Stafford had a shot cleared off the goal-line in stoppage time.
And right at the death, Stafford was again denied an almost certain goal. His shot from point blank range was hacked away, and neither Ross Crane nor Hughes could bury the loose ball at the far post.
BURY TOWN: Barden, Stafford, Smith, Hood, Henderson, Gardner (sub Maughn, 75), Chambers-Shaw (sub Oppong, 46), Jolland, Hughes, Ramadan (sub Nyadzayo, 76), Crane. Unused subs: Machaya, Bugg.
CANVEY ISLAND: Idem, Humphreys, Woodward, White, Phillips, Lock, Lacey, Levett, Hallett, Bantick, Melaugh. Unused subs: Gilbert, Joseph, Finneran, Stephenson.