MATCH REPORT: Bury Town 1 Margate 4. Suffolk Blues heavily defeated by Kent-based side in the Ryman Premier Division but final score-line is a flattering one after a brave Bury performance.

Bury Town's new exciting striker Joe Benjamin attempts a stepover

Bury Town's new exciting striker Joe Benjamin attempts a stepover - Credit: Archant

Ten-man Bury Town fell to a 4-1 Ryman Premier Division defeat at home to Margate on Saturday in a game where the result could have been so different.

Bury's Connor Hall makes a crucial block from Charlie Allen

Bury's Connor Hall makes a crucial block from Charlie Allen - Credit: Archant

The scoreline might read like a thrashing, however it was anything but, as Ben Chenery’s spirited side, who were reduced to 10 men after just 37 minutes following Nathan Clarke’s rash tackle, had high-flying big-spenders Margate worrying in spells.

Following Clarke’s dismissal, Terry Brown’s Margate, who have their sights firmly set on at least Conference football in the near future, seized the initiative with two quickfire goals through Ryan Moss and Jamie Taylor in the remainder of the first-half to seemingly kill off a Bury side at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of league position and finances.

Chenery’s men are hard-to-beat at home though and after debutant Curtis Shaw missed a penalty with seconds to go in the opening period, the Blues pushed Margate all the way for a good half-an-hour in the second half as, after a lovely goal from Phil Weavers, new-boy Joe Benjamin and Weavers again saw efforts cleared off the goal-line with the second-placed Kent side seemingly rocking.

Margate’s fluent football and numerical advantage eventually told though as they scored two late goals through Barry Cogan and Jason Prior to kill brave Bury off and give the final scoreline a rather flattering look.

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On a slick playing surface at Ram Meadow thanks to the heavy downpour, Bury set their stall out early as they matched Margate’s Christmas tree formation of 4-1-2-1-2.

As expected, the visitors were largely in control of possession in the opening exchanges as Tom Phipp hit the angle of post and bar early on, but as long as the scoreline stayed 0-0, Bury felt they had a chance.

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Some super defending from Miles Smith, Joe Whight and Connor Hall kept Margate at bay, and with the power and close control of new frontman Benjamin proving an outlet for the home side, the game plan was all going so well for the Blues.

That was until the 37th minute, when, following a loose touch, centre-half Clarke desperately tried to make up for his woe with a dangerous off-the-floor challenge that gave referee Tom Handcock the option to send him off.

Although Clarke didn’t actually make contact with the Margate player, the intent was certainly there and it was little surprise when a red card was issued.

With just eight minutes of the half remaining, Margate cleverly punished Bury as, getting the ball wide and in behind the depleted Blues, Moss and Taylor scored from crosses into the box in the 43rd and 45th minutes.

And to add insult to injury, Bury wasted a golden opportunity literally seconds before the interval as after winning a penalty following an inept challenge from Charlie Allen, Shaw’s weak spot-kick was saved by Nikki Bull.

It was a fantastic lifeline blown for Bury, who knows what might have happened had they scored it.

That said, they gave it a real go in the second period and must be praised for their efforts.

Though it was Margate who continued to dominate possession, Bury were certainly worrying the visitors’ backline and after Kye Ruel got to the byline in the 61st minute, a superb strike from Weavers on the edge of the box nestled in off the post to give them hope.

Resurgent Bury sensed an upset and quite honestly should have got back on level terms in the 70th minute when, following a spillage from Bull, Benjamin had the whole of the goal to put the rebounding ball into but could only fire his scuffed effort at the one defender on the goal-line.

From the resulting corner, Weavers saw his powerful goal-bound header hit a Margate defender before being cleared.

Sure enough though, Margate’s 11 men eventually wore down a Bury team who gave everything as Cogan and Prior added flattering goals in the 82nd and 89th minutes.

It was a game from which Bury can certainly hold their heads high.


Bury: Garnham, Smith, Whight, Clarke, Hall, Hammond (Kennedy), Short (Shaw), Willbye (Weavers), Ruel, Benjamin, Garrett. Unused subs: Mari.

Margate: Bull, Allen, Grant, Wassimer, Beales, Cogan (Cash), Willis, Phipp, Moore (Prior), Moss (Attwood), Taylor. Unused subs: Stuart, Beade.

Referee: Tom Handcock

Attendance: 330

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