Bury Town close gap on Ryman North leaders after Thurrock win

Bradley Barber celebrates his strike

Bradley Barber celebrates his strike - Credit: Archant

Bury Town cut the gap on the Ryman League Division One North’s top two to two points after recording a hard-fought 2-0 win against Thurrock on Saturday.

Bradley Barber’s first-half free-kick and Josh Mayhew’s volley nine minutes from time helped the Blues end a run of two league defeats.

And after Division One North leaders Phoenix Sports suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at bottom-placed Wroxham, the win for Ben Chenery’s side saw them move to within a couple of points of the summit.

It was not the most vintage of performances from Bury in front of their fans at Ram Meadow, but having tasted back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season, getting the win and the three points was all that mattered.

With Andrew Cusack, John Kennedy and Ollie Canfer, three of the starters in the 3-0 reverse at Norwich United four days earlier, all out through injury, Chenery welcomed Noel Aitkens, Kyran Clements and Mayhew back to the starting line-up.

The fourth change to the line up from Tuesday’s defeat saw Joe Yaxley receive a call up from Team Bury to make his debut, as Luke Read dropped to the bench.

Nick Ingram, Ollie Hughes and Sam Reed also sat out to join an injury list which is frustratingly growing once again for the Blues.

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Thurrock, who did the double over Bury in the league last season, made a quick start with home goalkeeper Neil O’Sullivan twice called into action in the opening five minutes to thwart the visitors.

At the other end a quick free-kick from Barber was headed wide by Mayhew, before the Bury skipper broke the deadlock in style on 26 minutes.

Good battling in front of the box saw Barber draw a foul from the visitors, and his free-kick found the top corner, giving Thurrock goalkeeper Connor Wheatley no chance.

Seconds after the restart the Blues should have been 2-0 in front. A defence-splitting pass from Aitkens sent Mayhew racing towards goal, but the Bury number nine could only poke the ball agonisingly wide of the target.

A second goal would have certainly made things easier for the hosts in the second-half, with Thurrock showing plenty of endeavour.

With a little more incisiveness in the final third, the Essex side could have grabbed an equaliser.

But with 81 minutes on the clock Bury sealed the points. A corner fell to Mayhew in space in the box and he volleyed the ball low into the corner to make it 2-0.

Bury substitute Phil Weavers was then shown a straight red card in added time, but the 10-man Blues held firm to get back to winning ways.

Chenery’s side remain in third place in the Division One North table, with new leaders Cheshunt, and Phoenix Sports, two points above them in first and second respectively.