Gallery: Final nail is hammered in Bury’s relegation coffin
- Credit: Archant
Bury Town were officially relegated from the Ryman Premier Division, after conceding two late goals to a much-improved Grays Athletic at Ram Meadow on Saturday afternoon.
This has been a very difficult season for Bury, and their manager Ben Chenery in particular, squatting in the bottom four for virtually the whole campaign.
So it’s no real surprise that the cash-strapped West Suffolk outfit have been consigned to Ryman North football for next season, with five games still to play.
The Blues have mustered just five victories all season, and scored only 30 goals in the process. In short, they have been doomed for months.
In a way, Saturday’s clash encapsu-lated their whole season. Bury huffed and puffed, and put in plenty of effort, but they rarely looked like scoring a goal, and were eventually undone by two goals in the last few minutes.
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Gangly striker, Dumebi
GB-Dumaka, broke the deadlock on 84 minutes when stretching out a long leg to divert home a miscued shot from Correy Davidson, the former AFC Sudbury winger.
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It was a fortunate goal for Grays, who were already on an eight-game unbeaten run and installed in the top half of the table – Saturday’s win was actually their sixth in the last eight league games, leaving them only three points adrift of the play-offs.
And the Essex visitors wrapped up the points, while at the same time hammering the final nail into Bury’s relegation coffin, by adding a second in the second minute of injury-time.
Substitute Bradley Fortman-Tomlinson steered his shot beyond Alex Archer to seal the Blues’ fate.
Elsewhere, Harrow Borough’s 3-1 win at fellow strugglers AFC Hornchurch condemned Bury to rele-gation, making it mathematically impossible for Chenery’s charges to escape the bottom four.
Chances were limited for both sides during a fairly even first period,
although Grays always looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
The Blues, having bagged four points from their last two games, started brightly and young winger Noel Aitkens smashed a shot narrowly over the bar, from the edge of the box, on four minutes.
Russell Short, operating as a midfielder, dragged a lot shot wide of target in the 20th minute, but other-wise it was Grays who came closest to breaking the deadlock.
Centre-half Sean Cronin drilled a shot wide of the near upright, when well positioned from a corner routine, in the 26th minute, and he spurned an even better chance just two minutes later.
Cronin had his head in his hands after spooning a lob over the bar, when the ball broke to him from another corner, just eight yards out.
That was a let-off for Bury, but they had an even bigger escape just after the half-hour mark when Dumebi GB-Dumaka rattled the bar with a stunning strike.Grays front-man Gb-Dumako
controlled the ball with his chest before crashing an opportunist 30-yarder over stranded keeper Alex Archer. It looked a goal all the way, but the ball thudded against the bar and rebounded to safety.
Bury’s best chance of the first period fell to Remi Garrett, who fired only a foot over the bar with a 40th minute snap shot.
Six minutes into the second half and Saul Otobo was clean through on goal, only to lift his shot a matter of inches over the top.
With eight minutes remaining, striker David Lampshire looked the favourite to sweep home Aitken’s low cross, at the near post, but he was denied by a last ditch block-tackle from defender Cronin.
Just when a goalless stalemate seemed the most likely result, basement dwellers Bury were condemned to relegation by conceding twice in the closing minutes.
That summed up this most dismal of seasons for Bury’s long-suffering supporters. Much rebuilding is required for next season.
Chenery admits that Blues have lacked creativity and flair
Bury Town manager, Ben Chenery, admitted that Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat, to Grays Athletic, summed up his team’s whole season, writes Carl Marston.
The Blues were officially rele-gated from the Ryman Premier, after this 25th loss from 41 league games.
“Today was academic really, but with the type of managerial style that I have, I always ask for honesty and commitment, and I got that from the players again,” explained Chenery.
“I have said to them, though, that they have to be mindful that working hard is not enough.
“You can be misguided by that, coming off the pitch think-ing you have put in a good shift, but you need more than that. They have to be more creative.
“The players are disappointed because they were dogged and worked hard. I didn’t feel we deserved to win it, but nor did they. A draw would have been a fair result.
“We are looking towards next season, but we need to keep producing for the rest of this season, for the league and our supporters.
We haven’t had enough flair, and some of our fans are rightly disgruntled.
“It’s not about finances, but there are some boys in that dressing room who are just playing to play football now.
“They’re five or six who are just turning up to play football, for the love of it.
“We were travelling to Tonbridge last week, and I have people’s parents taking some of these young lads to the game, with six kids under 19.
“And that’s great, to get a 1-1, which was fantastic.
“I am mindful of all that, but today’s game did typify us a little. We went toe-to-toe with Grays, and their first goal was a little fortunate, while the second was down to poor defending from us.
“Looking forward, with all the Board meetings that I have had, I want us to go back to having Bury boys, playing for Bury Town.
“We have got so removed from that,” added Chenery, who is planning to continue as manager for next term.
Bury: Archer, Allen, Paterson, Kennedy, Miller, Hall, Aitkens, Short, Lampshire (sub Nurse, 83) Garrett, Otobo (sub Patrick, 68).
Grays: Johnson, Morrison-Derbyshire (sub Fortman-Tomlinson, 55), Siva, Cronin, Perry, Stevens (sub Marfo, 79), Wilson, Ferguson, Dumaka, Agombar (sub Beaney, 63), Davidson.