Noel Aitkins scores a wonder goal, but Bury Town are held to a draw
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Bury Town 1 Soham Town Rangers 1
Bury Town were held to a home draw by lowly Soham Town Rangers, in the Ryman North Division, on a night of frustration at Ram Meadow.
Ben Chenery’s side have still only lost one of their first 14 league games of the campaign, with seven wins and now six draws, but they let two points slip through their fingertips last night.
It had looked so promising for Bury, when Noel Aitkins broke the deadlock with a wonderful solo game inside six minutes.
Midfielder Aitkins ran half the length of the pitch, leaving several defenders trailing in his wake, before beating keeper George Lawton with a calm low finish from 12 yards out.
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It was certainly a candidate for goal of the season.
But Soham, whose long-term manager Steve Fallon resigned earlier this month, collected only their eighth point of the season via Pat Bexfield’s low cross, which sneaked in off a couple of ricochets, home defender Darcy De’ath seeming to get the final touch.
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Bury, encouraged by Aitkins’ early wonder goal, dominated for the first 20 minutes, although it was Soham who took charge for the remainder of the first period.
Winger Sam Reed scooped a 20-yard shot over the bar, from Bradley Barber’s 15th minute corner, and two minutes later the Blues had a potential second goal ruled out for offside.
Keeper Lawton did well to block Ollie Hughes’ shot, from point blank range, and Aitkins was standing in an offside position when he poked home the rebound.
Yet Soham, with some robust tackling and a direct style of play, began to wrestle control as the home side struggled to retain possession in the middle of the park.
Salim Relizani’s opportunist 30-yarder flew well over the bar, but winger Ryan Sharman went far closer with a volley on the turn which soared a foot over the top from a free-kick routine on 27 minutes.
Soham were gaining in confidence, and striker Ben Sawyer was not far adrift with a looping header which had keeper Neil O’Sullivan scurrying across his goal.
Despite this pressure, OSullivan did not have that much to do, with the exception of a couple of close-range blocks, including George Darling’s toe-poked effort on 44 minutes.
Sawyer missed a sitter on the hour mark, failing to hit the target from a few feet out with an empty goal beckoning. That should really have seen Soham on level terms.
But the visitors did equalise in the 64th minute, via Bexfield’s low delivery which was deflected home off defender De’ath.
Only a reflex save by O’Sullivan prevented Soham from taking the lead in the 67th minute. The Bury keeper palmed away Darling’s shot from close-in on the goal-line, with an outstretched hand.
The Blues continued to play second fiddle, although a strong break by Hughes did create a chance for Reed, who was tackled when on the point of shooting.
Otherwise, the visitors posed the more dangerous threat and substitute Marcus Hall blasted inches over the bar from another corner.
Bury finished strongly, but could not fashion a late winner.
Bury: O’Sullivan, Allen, Paterson, Kennedy (sub Canfer, 46), De’ath, Weavers, Garrett (sub Steed, 69), Aitkins, Hughes, Barber, Reed. Unused subs: Bedingham, Nurse.
Soham Town Rangers: Lawton, Townesend, Smith, W Lawton, Gent, Swinton, Sharman, Bexfield, Sawyer, Darling, Relizani (sub Hall, 57). Unused subs: Baker, Russell, Theobald, Reynolds.