GALLERY: Bury battle bravely but fall to league leaders Old Albanian
- Credit: Archant
National League Two South Bury St Edmunds 12 Old Albanian 31 The Haberden faithful witnessed the finest attacking side to visit Suffolk in many moons and whilst their cause was aided and abetted by three yellow cards being shown to Bury, on this performance, it will take a very good team to deny them promotion.
The match started brightly enough for Bury, a strong set scrum had the visitors in trouble, but the warning signs were there for Bury as a swift counter attack set up an easy penalty for Gallagher to convert.
Bury continued to use their forwards as a primary mode of attack, earning three consecutive penalties, the final one seeing the OA lock being sent to the sin bin.
Bury took advantage, easily winning the lineout and then spreading the ball infield. Shaq Meyers came back on the angle, shimmied through a gap and then fixed the last man to send Scott Lyle in under the posts. A simple conversion followed and Bury led 7-3.
Gallagher reduced the arrears shortly afterwards with another simple penalty, but it was still Bury who were shading the contest.
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The OA set piece was not functioning as well as it might and Bury, via a series of drives, got down into the “Red Zone”. Gallagher fielded a high ball to take the mark and as Bury sauntered back in to position the Old Boys were off, declining the kick but instead running from their own 22.
Swift hands and searing pace sent left wing Foster in for a cracking try in the corner.
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Three minutes later and OA’s were back on the attack again. Brad Cook was shown a yellow by referee Neil Chivers for not releasing in the tackle. The broken nature of the game suited OA’s and having declined a simple penalty under the sticks, they again stayed patient in attack, creating the space for Stevens to slide over on the half hour.
With Shanahan sitting in the pocket and pulling the strings, OA’s scored a further try before the break.
Bury had gone increasingly deeper into their shell and as defenders stood off, a Shanahan show and go saw him ghost over wide out for a 21–7 half-time lead for the visitors.
From the re-start OAs picked up where they had left off, attacking at real pace out wide.
Bury had restored the intensity of their opening 15 minutes but whenever OAs turned the ball over, they always seemed to have an extra man in attack. A Bury fumble in the visiting 22 was scooped up by Gallagher who escaped two poor tackles to race 70 metres down field. He was brought down close to the sticks but Spiers made no mistake when the ball was sent quickly left.
Mark Kidson led a valiant forward orientated Bury attack but it was taking them several phases to make just a few yards, whereas the league leaders made almost acres on their attacks.
OAs showed they could defend well in addition to offering such a potent threat out wide. Bury’s attempt to compete at the break down continued to fall foul of the official and Thompson was quick to set his side off on swift counter attacks.
Bury’s defence was much improved but the visitors showed why they are top of the league, staying patient and recycling over and over again until space appeared for Thompson to squeeze over in the corner.
Bury battled to the end and Sean Stapleton, on advice from the touch judge, was deemed to have got the ball down with five minutes remaining.
It was no more than Bury deserved for all their endeavours.