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Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford sees lethargic display prove costly as Wimbledon secure last-gasp victory at the Haberden





Bury St Edmunds head coach Jacob Ford felt a lack of energy and intensity was his depleted side’s downfall as they conceded a last-play try to relegation-threatened Wimbledon to lose 31-27 at the Greene King IPA Haberden.

Edward Morgan’s dummy and dart inside came after heavy pressure on Bury’s line having held a three-point advantage following Ben Penfold’s penalty a few minutes previously which had looked like it was going to end their losing run.

But the visitors’ bravery and tenacity was rewarded with the fly-half converting the second of his tries inside the last 15 minutes to boost their survival hopes in National League 2 East.

Paddy Robinson sees his progress halted on a frustrating day for Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton
Paddy Robinson sees his progress halted on a frustrating day for Bury St Edmunds Picture: Mecha Morton

While it moved them out of the second potential relegation spot, a four straight defeat for Bury, who led following an unconvincing opening period 17-14 at half-time, leaves them hanging on to fourth place and now 13 points adrift of Dorking above them.

"We lacked a little bit of energy throughout the whole 80 minutes,” said Ford.

"We never felt confident, even when we got to our lead we didn't feel like we were going to kick on and go again, it was almost like we've got to hold on here.

Levi Roper bursts through Wimbledon’s defence to score a stunning solo try Picture: Mecha Morton
Levi Roper bursts through Wimbledon’s defence to score a stunning solo try Picture: Mecha Morton

"And I think that just shows where we've been at for the last three weeks as we're pretty low on confidence at the minute.

"We just need a result, that little bit of a kick-start to get us going again and we didn't really have that today.

"They're a team who throw it around and score points and they're going to punish you when that happens.

"It wasn't surprising given the energy and intensity we had in the game, to be honest."

Brayden Porteous looks to keep the ball alive in a Bury attack Picture: Mecha Morton
Brayden Porteous looks to keep the ball alive in a Bury attack Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury went into the game missing four big players from their pack with Archie Bourne, Shaq Meyers, Archie Strath and Ben Kelland all injured, leaving Ford to draft in Cambridge’s front-rower Harry Morley in an emergency loan to allow him to fulfil the requirement for a forward on the bench.

But despite admitting it was not ideal, he refused to use the situation to explain the result.

“There’s nothing too serious but it's pretty unfortunate we've got three or four boys out at the same time.

Paddy Robinson breaks through to score a try from a tap penalty Picture: Mecha Morton
Paddy Robinson breaks through to score a try from a tap penalty Picture: Mecha Morton

"But I just want to put it out there there's no excuses for these performances, we're a lot better than this and the boys we've got out on the field are more than good enough to get results, so we need to have a look at it."

Bury took an early lead in the ninth minute when a dropped ball was pounced on and swift hands saw the ball moved across the pitch for Harry Simpson to run in down the left, though Penfold’s kick went just wide.

Joe Collier on his way to scoring for Bury Picture: Mecha Morton
Joe Collier on his way to scoring for Bury Picture: Mecha Morton

However, Wimbledon soon pinned them in their own half and flanker David Archibald scored two pushover tries after sustained periods of pressure with Morgan’s conversions giving them a 14-5 lead ahead of the half-hour mark.

Ford’s side came back with a quick tap-penalty from Paddy Robinson which caught out the visitors’ defence with Penfold making the simple kick.

A three-point lead to take into the break was established when Joe Collier exchanged passes with Simpson down the left to go over though Penfold miss-hit the conversion attempt.

Harry Simpson managed to get this effort down for a Bury try Picture: Mecha Morton
Harry Simpson managed to get this effort down for a Bury try Picture: Mecha Morton

Wimbledon started the second half strongly and drew level with Morgan’s straight-on penalty but the hosts began to put them under heavy pressure which they stood up well to.

Bury did regain the lead in the 51st minute though with a fantastic solo run that started inside his own half from winger Levi Roper seeing his dance his way past tackles to go under the posts.

But they failed to capitalise on their subsequent pressure which allowed Morgan’s tap penalty to draw them level before he went on to have the last say to win the match after Penfold had kicked Bury back in front.

Samir Kharbouch tries to break through a tackle Picture: Mecha Morton
Samir Kharbouch tries to break through a tackle Picture: Mecha Morton

"Credit to them, they have a lot of confidence at the minute and they go for that re-start at the end and they get it back and keep the ball for plus-15 phases and they get over the line,” said Ford. "That just shows where they are mentally and how we were just holding on and probably hoping a decision would go our way."

Bury travel to the south coast to face Worthing (2pm), who replaced Wimbledon in the second bottom position, next Saturday (2pm) with their coach looking for his side to raise their levels for the run-in to keep their aim of beating last season’s club record fifth-placed finish from dying off.

"Like I said at the end there, the only people that are going to fix this hole that we're in is the people in that circle, it's us who are going to fix it,” he said.

Ben Penfold adds a conversion kick Picture: Mecha Morton
Ben Penfold adds a conversion kick Picture: Mecha Morton

"There's only seven games left now so we need to get on the horse pretty quickly if we want things to fall our way.

"We can't afford for results like this to keep coming and ultimately we've got to seize these last seven games and seize the opportunity."

George Grigg-Pettitt rises highest at a lineout Picture: Mecha Morton
George Grigg-Pettitt rises highest at a lineout Picture: Mecha Morton

Bury St Edmunds: 15 Hall, 14 Roper, 13 Loose, 12 Kharbouch, 11 Simpson, 10 Penfold, 9 Collier, 1 Robinson, 2 McCartney, 3 Jeffery, 4 Russell, 5 Grigg-Pettitt, 6 Williams, 7 Bursey (cpt), 8 Porteous.

Replacements: 16 Morley, 23 Cooper, 18 Saddleton, 19 Affleck, 20 Christie.

Bury Coaches Man of the Match: Paddy Robinson