Super strike from Cemal Ramadan gets Bury Town all three points against Cambridge City
A wonderstrike from Cemal Ramadan saw Bury Town get off to a winning start in 2020 with a 2-1 victory at Histon's Bridge Road ground against hosting Cambridge City this afternoon.
The number 10 went from zero to hero with his 76th minute winning strike, having blasted a penalty over the crossbar early in the first half.
Ryan Jolland's header broke the deadlock in the 65th minute, but the Lilywhites replied through substitute Chris Regis' chipped 72nd minute effort before Ramadan's excellent dipping volley found the top corner.
Bury went into the game looking to strengthen their grip on third place in the BetVictor Isthmian League North Division against a Lilywhites side lying 13th in their first season since a lateral transfer from the Southern League.
Ben Chenery named an unchanged starting XI and bench from the teamsheet ahead of the 2-1 home win against local rivals Soham Town Rangers on Boxing Day. It meant recent recruit Quevin Castro, the former Thetford Town midfielder who has been on an extended trial this season at Ipswich Town, was again on the substitutes bench.
In their change orange colours, Bury made a bright start and youngster Ross Crane caught the eye with a darting run past two players before lashing wildly over in the sixth minute.
The first 15 minutes saw Bury firmly on the front foot, but it was from a breakaway move started by Cemal Ramadan which led to a penalty. After setting Olly Hughes away the ball broke for Crane who drove into the box before being knocked off his stride by Isaac Maynard.
But Ramadan, the Blues top goalscorer with 14 from 20 appearances in all competitions this season, unusually wasted the 16th minute opportunity from the penalty spot with his fierce effort down the middle brushing the crossbar on its way over.
It seemed to be the kickstart the hosts needed with a good period of pressure following.
Striker Niki Dembelle worked a sight of goal before firing wide from the edge of the area before Ryan Sharman saw a strike deflected wide off Ryan Stafford.
Another couple of good of decent sights of goal soon followed with Sharman's half volley deflected over at the near post by Alex Henderson's solid block before the towering Jordan Gent header the corner just wide.
Up the other end Bury were still looking dangerous and twice looked like they were about to break the deadlock in the same move in the 36th minute. Following a corner, Olly Hughes' header was palmed out and Henderson had his head in his hands after lashing the rebound over.
Barden comfortably made his first save in the 43rd minute with Dembelle's angled effort coming straight at him while Ryan Jolland fired over from the edge of the box for Bury just before the half-time whistle went.
Sharman got a free header which he planted over as City started the second period on the front foot, though he was withdrawn for the big presence of Chris Regis straight after.
Bury thought they had taken the lead in the 49th minute but a counter-attacking move which saw Hughes flick in Ramandan's cross was adjudged to be offside, sparking protests from both visiting players.
Jolland then cut inside from the right-hand side well before putting an arcing ball across the face of goal with no-one close enough to turn it in.
Bury's pressure in the Lilywhites' half increased and on the hour mark Hughes drove through the middle before firing over from the edge of the penalty box.
But five minutes later they were finally able to celebrate going ahead as Jolland's head nudged home a deep hanging ball in from the left from Crane. It was not the prettiest of goals but they were certainly not bothered having seen their frustration grow.
Back in the Bury goal, Barden was called into action for the first time in the half in the 71st minute as he got behind a long-range effort from right-back Tom Gardiner.
But a minute later he was retrieving the ball from the back of his net after a costly mistake from his own full-back. Ryan Stafford had his pocket nicked by Dembelle inside the box and after Gardner made a good block the ball fell loose to substitute Chris Regis who chipped it over Barden's head from an angle.
The hosts almost took the lead a minute later but after Robson threaded a pass into the box for Michael Gyasi, though the substitute blasted it over.
But Ramadan soon gave his own masterclass in composed finishing when he plucked a deep chipped pass out of the air in the 76th minute before firing an unstoppable dipping volley into the top left-hand corner from just outside the area. Protests for handball were quickly dismissed.
The quality and importance of the goal sparked wild celebrations among the Bury players and management.
It was a moment which deserved to win the game but Barden had to be alert to make a good low save at his near post to deny Robson tarnishing their day.
A scuffle which broke out after a heavy challenge on Blues player Joe Hood saw bookings handed out to each side.
Jordan Gent seemed to think he had picked up one by mistaken identity but the man who it perhaps should have gone to, captain Luke Knight, was shown a straight red card soon after, inthe 86th minute after knocking substitute Cruise Nyadzayo to the ground when in on goal.
There was a late effort put over by Dembelle as the hosts desperately sought a late equaliser, but in the end it was a richly deserved three points for Bury in an accomplished away display.
It is a three points which sees close the gap to leaders Maldon & Tiptree to four points, having played two games more. Ben Chenery's side are now just one point behind second-placed Aveley with a game in hand.
Cambridge: George, Gardiner, Simpson, Knight (c), Gent, Ubah, Robson, Maynard (Michael 81'), Dembelle, Sharman (Regis 47'), Olukanmi (Gyasi 65'). Unused subs: Ribgy, Midgley.
Bury: Barden, Stafford, Smith, Hood, Henderson, Gardner, Chambers Shaw (Maughn 88'), Jolland, Hughes (c), Ramadan (Nyadzayo 80'), Crane (Castro 90'). Subs: Castro, Machaya, Maughn, Nyadzayo, Bugg (gk).
Free Press Man of The Match: Has to be Cemal Ramadan for the quality to claim all three points at a crucial stage of the match.
- See Friday's Bury Free Press print edition for reaction and a preview to Saturday's home game with Canvey Island.