GALLERY: Liam Wales fires winner as Bury Town beat Chatham in FA Trophy
- Credit: Archant
Bury Town huffed and puffed but did enough to book their place in today’s third qualifying round draw of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 win over Chatham Town.
The Blues were not at their best, but dug in to secure victory against their Kent visitors who play one step below them on the non-league ladder.
Missing three players through suspension – defenders Russell Short and Adam Bailey-Dennis and striker Shane Tolley – Bury lost ex-Ipswich Town youngster Joe Whight with a twisted knee after just 15 minutes.
That forced a defensive re-shuffle, with debut-making Cameron Mawer, signed on a dual registration from Southern League Premier Division side Biggleswade, switching to centre back and Ryan Semple filling in at right back.
Liam Wales came on to play on the right-wing and for much of the match he struggled to make an impact, missing what manager Richard Wilkins described as a ‘sitter’ just seconds after the interval.
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But Wales scored the decisive second goal, superbly controlling an accurate long ball out of defence from man-of-the-match Tom Bullard, rounding the keeper and slotting home between two covering defenders.
That was in the 65th minute and Bury looked home and dry until amid a flurry of substitutions and bookings, substitute Lee Hales struck a splendid free kick that Marcus Garnham got a hand to but could not keep out with four minutes remaining.
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The Ryman League Division One North side sensed an equaliser, but Bury held firm to progress and also collect the £3,250 winner’s cheque.
Bury ultimately deserved their victory, but they made hard work of it, especially in the first half when they gave the ball away too cheaply and too often chose the wrong option.
Bury’s Billy Clark, who had a mixed afternoon, headed over the crossbar from Anthony Roulston’s left-wing cross in the 25th minute, and three minutes later Alfie May’s near-post header found the net but the visitors’ striker was ruled offside.
Chatham’s Billy Bennett shot just wide and then forced Garnham to gather at the second attempt inside the space of three minutes in an opening period that failed to set the pulse racing.
Bury should have taken the lead straight after the restart, but Wales fluffed his lines.
However, the miss did not prove costly as Roulston held the ball up well and when his cross reached Jordan Patrick beyond the far post, the left winger’s cross picked out David Bridges, whose header back across goal saw Clark react quickest to nod in almost on the goalline.
Clark played a delightful return pass to the impressive Seb Dunbar, but the left back lifted his shot over the bar on the hour before the second goal arrived.
Jack Bradshaw saved Clark’s shot on the turn inbetween substitute David Lampshire having two bites at the cherry from a cross by Bridges, who then sent a header wide from Clark’s left-wing free kick.
Mawer produced a solid display, but his one mistake almost proved costly a minute before Hales reduced the deficit, Garnham recovering to block Alfie May’s effort after the striker had initially rounded the keeper.