Gallery and report: Bury Town suffer heartbreak against ten-man Maidstone United in Ryman Premier

Bury Town entertain Maidstone in a re-arranged Ryman League Premier match at Ram Meadow last night

Bury Town entertain Maidstone in a re-arranged Ryman League Premier match at Ram Meadow last night Connor Hall clears - Credit: Archant

Bury Town suffered heartbreak last night, letting a 1-0 lead slip against 10-man Maidstone to squander a gilt-edged chance of causing a major upset.

The Blues, with just four league wins all season, are propping up the table, but for a while in the second period it looked as though they were going to inflict a shock defeat on the league leaders.

A 51st minute goal from Joe Whight, coupled with Stones’ striker Billy Bricknell’s sending off just four minutes later, had Bury dreaming of a potential Ryman Premier shock.

Whight had broken the deadlock with a cracking finish. The midfielder charged onto Jordan Patrick’s lay-off and crashed home a rising shot into the roof of the net.

When the Stones were reduced to 10 men shortly afterwards, due to Bricknell’s straight red card – the visitors’ continued ill-discipline almost proved their downfall – it was looking promising for the beleaguered Ram Meadow hosts.

But Jack Parkinson bagged an equaliser from close-in on 71 minutes, back-heeling home after Alex Archer had dived to his left to claw away the initial header from substitute Frannie Collin.

And just two minutes later, the Kent visitors struck again with what proved to be the winner from Collin, via a clinical free-kick.

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The Stones had got themselves out of jail, at the same time strengthening their grip on the league title.

Bury were indebted to three excellent saves by Archer for keeping them on level terms at the break.

The Stones were never completely dominant, despite their lofty position in the league, threatening mainly from long throw routines, but they still created several good opportunities.

Archer was in the action after only three minutes, when the first of several long throws hurled into the Blues six-yard box was only half-cleared. Matt Bodkin latched onto the loose ball, but saw his shot blocked at point blank range by the home keeper.

The agile Archer pulled off his second important save in the 35th minute, blocking Bricknell’s ferocious drive with his legs.

Three minutes later and Bury finally had a clear sight of goal. Connor Hall powered through the middle on a strong run, only to drag his shot agonisingly wide of target.

Maidstone ended the first period on top, but once again found Archer a difficult man to beat, the Blues keeper doing well to fend off Tom Mills’ angled drive with his legs.

And the tide seemed to be turning inside the first 10 minutes of the second period, as first Whight smashed home an opening goal, before the visitors were reduced to 10 men with Bricknell’s dismissal.

Suddenly, Bury were in the driving seat and John Sands squandered a good chance to double the lead before the hour mark, only to screw his shot wide with just keeper Lee Worgan to beat.

But Bury could not hold onto their advantage, and two goals in a three-minute spell from Parkinson and Collin won it for the table-toppers.

n Needham Market squandered a chance to move to the top of the Ryman North, when losing 3-1 at Dereham last night, despite an equalising goal from Sam Newson on 54 minutes. But the Marketmen, three points behind leaders Harlow, still have two games in hand.

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