Gardner and Hughes on target as Bury go top with win at Seasiders
- Credit: Archant
Felixstowe & Walton United 1 Bury Town 2
Bury Town rose to the top of the Isthmian League North, following a comfortable away win over Suffolk rivals Felixstowe & Walton United at Dellwood Avenue this afternoon.
Will Gardner rammed home the opener from point blank range in the 23rd minute, and an opportunist finish by Ollie Hughes made the game safe on 73 minutes.
The Seasiders pulled a goal back in the fourth minute of injury-time, Armani Schaar tucking home a rebound after his initial penalty had been kept out by Dan Barden.
But this was merely a consolation.
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Bury began the day in third spot but, with league leaders Maldon & Tiptree in FA Cup action, and second-placed Grays Athletic losing at Great Wakering Rovers, Ben Chenery's men leapfrogged them both.
It was the Ram Meadow club's sixth win from nine league starts.
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Bury bossed the first half-hour, and threatened inside the first 60 seconds when both Ollie Hughes and Cemal Ramadan were denied at point blank range.
They had a gilt-edged chance to break the deadlock in the 10th minute, following good hold-up play by Colin Oppong and then an inch-perfect through ball from Ryan Stafford that released Ramadan. The Bury front-runner had just Danny Crump to beat, but the Seasiders' keeper did well to scamper off his line to block.
The visitors continued to propel a series of corners and free-kicks into the opposing box, and they were finally rewarded with an opening goal in the 23rd minute.
Ross Crane delivered a free-kick to the edge of the penalty area, and although Jake Chambers-Shaw's close-range shot was blocked on the goal-line, the alert Gardner was able to smash the loose ball into the roof of the net.
The Blues nearly doubled their lead, just 30 seconds later, only for Oppong to be robbed when on the point of shooting.
The Seasiders finally registered a goal attempt on the half-hour mark when a cleanly-struck volley by Armani Schaar, from Henry Barley's corner, flew straight into the arms of keeper Dan Barden.
A free-kick routine saw midfielder Josh Kerridge float a header across goal and wide, from an acute angle, but it was Bury who finished the first half the stronger.
Ramadan was thwarted by Crump, as he tried to squeeze home a shot from a tight angle, while Ryan Jolland, operating as a left-back, had a low shot deflected wide of the upright.
Ramadan was also frustrated as his header from Ross Crane's pinpoint cross ballooned over the bar, leaving Bury just 1-0 up at the break.
It was the same again at the start of the second half, Bury peppering the target through Oppong (drilling wide) and Jolland (firing over the top) before the hour mark.
They finally did chalk up their second goal, in the 73rd minute. Hughes managed to get his head to a free-kick, by Chambers-Shaw, and the ball looped over keeper Crump and floated into the roof of the net. It was an unusual finish by Hughes, but very effective.
Substitute Adam Hanson was not far adrift with a rising shot that dropped the wrong side of the far upright, in the 79th minute, as the Seasiders tried to mount a late rally.
Deep into injury-time, Gardner was adjudged to have fouled Miles Powell, just inside the box, and although Schaar's ensuing penalty was saved by Barden, Schaar was able to sweep home the rebound.
FELIXSTOWE & WALTON: Crump, Bennett, Barley, Kerridge, Jopling, Davis, Newman (sub Ainsley, 79), Powell, Ingram (sub Lay, 57), Schaar, Clarke (sub Hanson, 69). Unused subs: Bloomfield, Debenham.
BURY TOWN: Barden, Stafford, Gardner, Hood, Crane, Jolland, Chambers-Shaw, Horne, Hughes (sub Robson, 87), Ramadan (sub Maughn, 81), Oppong. Unused subs: Machaya, Nyadzayo, Bugg.
- Also in Isthmian League North, AFC SUDBURY suffered a 4-2 hone defeat, at the hands of Soham Town Rangers this afternoon.
AFC Sudbury fell behind to a 12th minute goal by Lewis Clayton, but an in-form Tom Maycock equalised just five minutes later for a 1-1 half-time score.
The hosts went ahead via Lloyd Groves' 65th minute own goal.
Groves scored at the right end to make it 2-2 in the 69th minute, before goals by Sam Mulready (72) and Groves (83) wrapped up the points for the visitors.
- There was great news for LEISTON, who recorded their first win in 23 matches, notching their first league victory of the campaign with a 3-1 home success over Hitchin Town.
Rock bottom of the Southern League Premier Central, Leiston built up a 3-1 lead by half-time.
Will Davies broke the deadlock in the 14th minute, and Siju Odelusi doubled the lead by heading home Josh Hitter's corner on 27 minutes.
Stephen Cawley nodded home from a corner to halve the deficit for Hitchin just after the half-hour mark, but Leiston regained their two-goal advantage when Hitter smashed home a 25-yarder in the 42nd minute.
And that's the way it stayed.
- There was also a win for NEEDHAM MARKET in the Southern League, Richard Willkins' men triumphing 2-0 away at Lowestoft Town in a Suffolk derby.
The Marketmen scored either side of half-time to notch their fourth league win of the season.
Joe Marsden curled home a delightful long-range shot in the 41st minute, and Luke Ingram smashed home the second from Joe Neal's low delivery on 56 minutes.
- There was FA Cup glory for MALDON & TIPTREE, who won 3-1 at Royston Town in a fourth qualifying round tie to therefore reach the first round proper for the first time in their history.
The Jammers were 2-0 up by the half-hour mark, thanks to an own goal by Braithwait and a goal by Danny Parish.
Martin pulled a goal back for the Crows on 55 minutes, but Jorome Slewe ensured there would be no late tension by netting a third for the visitors in the 65th minute.
The first round draw will be hosted by Maldon & Tiptree on Monday.