Bury gain the win but Barnes unlucky not to get the bonus point
National League 2
Bury St Edmunds 22 Barnes 12
An 80th minute try secured the points for a disappointing Bury side denying the visitors a deserved bonus point.
The two clubs have become great rivals over recent seasons and have been involved in some cracking matches. However, this time round, a game punctuated by numerous stoppages for injury, failed to ignite. The stop start nature suited the visitors and they can probably feel frustrated that they went home with nothing to show for their efforts.
Bury had got off to a dream start.
Midfield offside by Barnes was kicked to the corner and hooker Callum Torpey was driven over after just nine minutes.
Mikey Graham took the restart superbly before sending Ollie Watson away, his pass towards Wiltshire was cynically knocked-on and a Barnes player saw yellow. However, the expected floodgates never opened and Barnes battled valiantly all game long to make life uncomfortable for the hosts.
Bury, missing Leng and Kohler, lacked a cutting edge in midfield and their lateral attacks were easily dealt with by an organised defence. A sickening clash of heads prompted a long delay before Barnes prop Ali Ryan had to be led from the field.
Losing No 8 Yas Browne to a facial injury did not help Bury’s cause but despite having the lion’s share of possession, Bury continued to waste chances by lacking patience or structure and as the half wore on, Barnes slowly edged their way into the contest, deservedly narrowing the deficit when scrum half Josh Davies darted over after a series of drives at the Bury line after 35 mins.
Bury however extended their lead before the break, a fine counter attack from the re start saw Ritchie break the line and cleverly off load to Uri who in turn made yards before expertly slipping the ball to Sharp to race in untouched.
An early penalty by Ritchie stretched Bury’s lead but for the majority of the second half it was not pleasant viewing for The Haberden faithful.
Time and time again they forced things and ended up having to defend against a Barnes side sensing that the game was there for the taking.
Bury could not get into their stride. Barnes line speed in defence hurried the home side and it was they that created the more meaningful attacks.
Bury were forced to defend for long periods and although they had a cushion it never looked comfortable.
The loss of skipper Ollie Watson following another clash of heads, stretched the Bury resources, but Alex Stanley on his return, Cory Button on his debut since joining from Ipswich and Graham were prominent in a solid defensive display.
Barnes persistence was finally rewarded when substitute Matt Williams was driven over on 76 minutes.
It looked as though Bury had escaped when an initial grounding was ruled out for a foot in touch but the hosts never cleared their lines and the Barnes pack regathered. O’Toole could not convert from wide out but it had given the Londoners a bonus point.
However that point was to be cruelly denied in the last minute of the match. Bury attacked from the re start forcing a turn over as Barnes tried to run the ball out of defence. To compound matters they then conceded a 5m scrum and then a penalty. A kickable penalty was declined, instead the Wolfpack went for a scrum and as the green shirts nudged forward, Uri picked up and dived over untouched.