Doing homework pays off for Bury

A DELIGHTED Bury boss Richard Wilkins described the FA Cup giantkilling as the “highlight of his managerial career”.

Dave Gooderham

A DELIGHTED Bury boss Richard Wilkins described the FA Cup giantkilling as the “highlight of his managerial career”.

Now his team face a first round FA Cup tie in two weeks' time against Derbyshire's Alfreton Town, who are in the Blue Square North, writes Dave Gooderham.

Wilkins, the former Colchester United and Cambridge United player, heaped praise on his entire team while revealing the off-the-pitch work that helped plot Basingstoke's downfall.

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Hundreds of pounds were spent on scouting the struggling Blue Square South side, leaving Wilkins convinced he needed to pack the midfield and leave Liam Barrett with the thankless task of running the frontline solo.

But it was a decision that paid off as Barrett constantly chased and harassed a nervous-looking backline with the likes of Sam Reed and his brother, Lee, supporting at every opportunity.

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Wilkins said: “We spent quite a lot of money - something like £300 or £400 - scouting them as we wanted to see how they play and what formation they might use. That was why I went with a 4-5-1 formation.

“We wanted to go out and play but it was difficult in windy conditions.

“Although we scored three goals, we didn't keep the ball brilliantly in the first half and we were assisted by their goalkeeper which obviously deflated them. This is a fantastic feeling and the support we had from the fans was great.”

While it was truly a nightmare afternoon for Basingstoke keeper Ross Kitteridge, Bury's Sam Reed could not have dreamt that things would have gone better.

While a sterling defensive display was the bedrock for the victory, Reed scoring twice, having a hand in another and hitting the woodwork a further three times to cap a memorable man-of-the-match display.

The constant thorn in Basingstoke's side said after the game: “I am just absolutely buzzing. When we play like that and everyone is on their game, we are a match for any team at this level.

“I hadn't scored for six games but I knew they would come eventually and it was just great that it happened today. We came out of the blocks flying and worked so hard.”

Wilkins also paid tribute to the fantastic 1,100 support inside Ram Meadow and the link-up with West Suffolk College which saw the squad packed with local lads.

Former Ipswich Town player Gavin Johnson, who starred in the central midfield trio, said: “We have got a young side but today they played like men.

“I am overjoyed for everyone at the club.

“We have worked ever so hard off the pitch and now the players have done it on the pitch. It was a very good team performance and we totally deserved the win.”

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