MATCH REPORT: Bury ease to cross-county derby win
Bury Town moved to within a point of the Ryman League Division One North play-off places courtesy of a 4-1 Boxing Day triumph at near-neighbours Soham Town Rangers.
In the build-up to the festive derby, Bury boss Ben Chenery had warned his players of the threat their Cambridgeshire hosts would pose, highlighting an eagerness to impress new player-manager Robbie Mason.
However, while the Blues left it late to seal the three points, they were the dominant force for much of the contest and fully deserving of the victory that has lifted them up to seventh position.
Luke Read, albeit in fortunate circumstances, got things rolling for the visitors in the ninth minute. The hard-working Ollie Hughes sent in a low cross from the left byline, which Soham's Ryan Horne cleared straight into Read's face - the ball then looping up over a helpless George Lawton in the Soham goal and into the net.
Lawton fared better when faced one-on-one with Ryan Jolland moments later, before Soham got themselves level with 21 minutes on the clock. The Bury defence were unable to deal with a long throw into the box and when the ball sat up kindly for Cemal Ramadan, he fired into the far corner.
But rather than build on that equaliser, the Greens found themselves on the back-foot for much of the remainder of the first half and had their goalkeeper to thank for the scoreline being level at the interval.
Lawton tipped over Read's rising strike after 35 minutes and eight minutes later he managed to turn away the same player's tame penalty kick - given against Darren Foxley for handball. Those two moments sandwiched a disallowed header for Bury captain Bradley Barber.
Read and Tom Debenham were off target as Bury started the second half in the ascendancy, while as proceedings progressed Barber twice called Lawton into relatively routine action.
In this sort of form, it was going to take something special to get the better of Soham's number one for a second time and Jolland duly obliged 15 minutes from time. After being picked out by Remi Garrett on the edge of the box, the Bury winger unleashed a curling shot that left Lawton rooted to the spot as it flew into the top corner.
Two became three in the 79th minute when Hughes was hauled down inside the area for a second Bury penalty. Following the award, Josh Mayhew was introduced into the action off the bench and with his first touch sent Lawton the wrong way from 12 yards out.
And it was Mayhew that completed the scoring in the 84th minute - sprinting clear to calmly pass the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
In the closing stages Read and Barber were not so fortunate as both saw decent efforts cannon to safety off the post. though it mattered little to the outcome.
Bury return to action on Friday evening when Wroxham will be the visitors to Ram Meadow (7.45pm), while on Saturday, Soham travel to Waltham Abbey (12.30pm).
Soham: G Lawton, Endacott, McDonald, Swinton, Tennent, W Lawton (Adamson 16), Carden (Russell 85), Horne, Brown, Ramadan (Mason 78), Foxley
Bury: O'Sullivan, De'Ath, Allen, Aitkens, Debenham, Clements, Garrett (Reed 85), Read, Hughes (Mayhew 77), Barber, Jolland
* For match reaction from both teams, see this Thursday's Journal and Friday's Free Press print editions