Bury will have to spring another shock

BURY Town will have to produce another shock result if they are to keep their FA Vase hopes alive.Hillingdon Borough are now favourites to secure a place in next month's final at St Andrews after they gained a creditable 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final yesterday.

BURY Town will have to produce another shock result if they are to keep their FA Vase hopes alive.

Hillingdon Borough are now favourites to secure a place in next month's final at St Andrews after they gained a creditable 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final yesterday.

Richard Wilkins' Bury side are going to have to be in fine form if they are to win against a well-organised Hillingdon side in next Sunday's second game.

But it will be a difficult task as Hillingdon are full of confidence, are currently in a 19-game unbeaten run and have not been beaten at home since December 27.


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However, Bury have caused many surprises in this season's Vase competition and already won away ties at Soham Town Rangers, Brockenhurst, AFC Sudbury and Crook Town.

Cheered on by a season-high crowd of 1,773 who crammed into Ram Meadow, Bury were hoping to take one step towards their first Vase final.

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Things started well for the hosts, who nearly opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

James Tatham jinked past two defenders and his dangerous low pass into the area was hacked behind for a corner.

Daniel Cunningham swung in a cross, Ian Miller headed the ball back into the danger zone and Craig Parker was unlucky to see his shot on the turn rebound off the crossbar.

But Bury soon took a deserved lead in the 13th minute when 37-year-old striker Steve McGavin grabbed his 17th goal of the season, but only his second since the end of January.

Tatham was needlessly fouled 30 yards from goal and McGavin struck a direct free-kick that curled and deceived visiting goalkeeper Ben Harris.

However, Bury's lead only lasted 12 minutes before the hosts gifted Hillingdon an equaliser. Central defender Ian Miller failed to clear the ball inside his own penalty area and Tom Bullard rashly lunged at Chris Hibbs.

The referee had no option and awarded a spot-kick that Daryl Craft coolly converted to make the game all-square at 1-1.

Bury had good chances to retake the lead before half time but Carl Murkin had a shot and a header go wide while Parker's attempt was straight at the goalkeeper. With the blustery conditions causing problems for both sides, Bury struggled to take control of the game in the second period and created little after the break.

Bullard should have done better when he had a free header from a Cunningham corner, but failed to connect properly as the ball fell harmlessly wide.

That was as good as it got for Bury in the second half and only excellent defending from Miller and Bullard, who had both recovered well after their part in the Hillingdon penalty, kept the away attackers at bay.

But Bury will be happy to have not lost and things could have been much worse for the Suffolk side as a Dave Lawrence shot hit the bar and the same player fired wide in the dying minutes.

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