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Bury Town and Stowmarket Town play out score draw in front of big crowd



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Bury Town and Stowmarket Town shared a couple of goals and the spoils during this afternoon's tightly-contested festive derby at the Denny Bros Stadium.

In truth it is an encounter likely to have left both managers pondering what might have been, with Pitching In Isthmian League leaders Stowmarket edging themselves in front after a bright start to the second half. Yet, once Bury equalised in the latter stages it was they that asked more of the questions in the search for a winning goal – and they also saw a golden opportunity go begging.

Ultimately, though, it was a case of having to settle for a point apiece – a result that was arguably just about right, especially from a neutral's perspective.

More than 1,300 supporters watched the derby at Ram Meadow. Picture: Mecha Morton
More than 1,300 supporters watched the derby at Ram Meadow. Picture: Mecha Morton

It is testament to the progress these clubs have made on and off the pitch in recent times that a crowd of 1,314 packed out Ram Meadow for the occasion. To put that number into context, when they last played out a league fixture at Bury in January 2005, the attendance figure given was 159.

Having said that, fans of either team had very little to cheer during a stodgy opening 45 minutes – one in which both sets of players struggled to adapt to an unpredictable playing surface.

Stowmarket – with seven wins from their last eight league games going into the contest – carved out their best chance of the first half in the 19th minute when left-back Kane Munday's cross was headed wide of the near post by former Bury frontman Josh Mayhew.

Ryan Jolland was booked for this foul on Ollie Brown. Picture: Mecha Morton
Ryan Jolland was booked for this foul on Ollie Brown. Picture: Mecha Morton

Sustaining attacks of any real note was also proving tricky for the home side, who did see a couple of dangerous deliveries into the visiting penalty box go unrewarded.

Two of Bury's best chances during the opening exchanges of the second half went the way of energetic midfielder Max Maughn, but firstly he was unable to bring Jake Chambers-Shaw's smartly lofted pass under control and then his shot from 20 yards whistled well over.

But the deadlock was finally broken in the 65th minute through a Stowmarket set piece. There was plenty of pace on Tevan Allen's left-wing corner – and it meant that Joe Jefford's downward header had enough power on it to nestle in the back of the Bury net before goalkeeper Sam Blair could react.

Staring down the barrel of a second defeat to their A14 neighbours this term, it was now all about the reaction from the Blues. To their credit they dug in and within five minutes they should have been level.

Joe Jefford is mobbed after heading Stowmarket in front. Picture: Mecha Morton
Joe Jefford is mobbed after heading Stowmarket in front. Picture: Mecha Morton

It looked a harsh decision to award a penalty against Stowmarket substitute Emmanuel Osei for a challenge on Ross Crane, yet the referee had little hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped the usually reliable Cemal Ramadan, but James Bradbrook in the away side's goal won the mind games and also got up in time to keep out the rebound.

However, the Old Gold and Blacks' joy proved to be short lived because with 12 minutes remaining Bury – attacking the car park end – restored parity. A deep corner from Chambers-Shaw was headed into the six-yard box by Ollie Fenn and Maughn was alive to prod the ball in.

The equaliser seemed to awaken something in Bury, who enjoyed more of the momentum in the closing stages. The closest they came to a winner was through a Zak Bradshaw header that drifted just wide, while up the other end there was also a warning of the quality Stowmarket possessed when Luke Brown's driven effort from 25 yards out stung Blair's palms.

For Bury, the 1-1 draw is their third match in a row that has ended all square and leaves them with ground to make up in the race for the play-offs, while Stowmarket will end the day top, regardless of second-placed Canvey Island's result this afternoon (kicked off at 3pm).

Cemal Ramadan saw his penalty kick saved by James Bradbrook. Picture: Mecha Morton
Cemal Ramadan saw his penalty kick saved by James Bradbrook. Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury: Blair, Edwards, Stafford, Fenn, Hood, Bradshaw, Chambers-Shaw (Mills 84'), Maughn, Jolland, Ramadan, Crane

Stowmarket: Bradbrook, O Brown, Munday, Casement, Jefford, Bullard, Clemons (Osei 62'), Collard (Curry 84'), L Brown, Mayhew (Bugg 76'), Allen

Suffolk News Man of the Match – Joe Hood (Bury Town): A brilliant defensive performance from Bury's number five. Protected the near post well from crosses, won his fair share of headers and made one particularly impressive block late on to preserve a point for his team.