The ‘B-‘ from the end of September has slipped to a ‘D’ in the view of the board. There’s going to be no grace period for working towards getting results in a newly introduced tactic. They have to happen now.
(1885 Bury score first):
Leamington (a) – 3-2
Ah, Leamington. We must stop meeting like this. Thankfully, James Morris headed in his 10th of the season after two minutes, and the onslaught on the hosts’ 18-yard box continued. Maybe the players actually wanted to preserve my job after all. Winger Fergus McAughtrie is one of a litany of individuals who just hasn’t lived up to their talent on paper, but even he put his desperately poor form behind him for this encounter with a looping header for the second goal. After the restart, Jack Edwards reduced the arrears, profiting from a well-worked corner routine. Lucas Tomlinson then beat the offside trap to level with a touch over quarter of an hour left. I had to go for it, with so much on the line… and just when it seemed all hope was lost, Ellis Hudson went on a marauding run and blasted in from an acute angle. An actual win. Three actual goals!
Darlington (a) – 0-1
A fortnight separated the first two games in November (thanks to already bowing out of the FA Cup), allowing the squad to almost be back to full health. Darlington, who have been able to drop their year founded moniker after reforming, sat in second before this fixture, but I still felt like I had to ignore Anthony Johnson’s advice to adopt a more cautious approach. Okera Simmonds punished that arrogance, stepping into the space vacated by the out of position James Cook and finishing coolly. Whilst certainly not overawed by the opposition, the Quakers did have the lion’s share of the better opportunities, and should have won by a larger margin.
The elections to be the new chair of the fan-owned club belatedly came to a close after what felt like an eternity.
Biggleswade (a) <FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round> – 2-0
Curiously, the draw for the FA Trophy was only made a few days before the fixture was due to take place, pitting 1885 Bury against Biggleswade, members of the Southern League Division One Central (tier eight). Only formed three years ago, the Bedfordshire outfit were one of the most local to me before I made the move to the Forest of Dean. Despite the two-division gulf, this game felt like a throwback to the dark days of October – all the possession, the majority of the shots, but no goals to show for it. With extra-time embarrassingly looming, Morris once again made the difference, volleying in from a Hudson cross. The right-winger then added a second. The minimum expectation is to reach the second round proper, and with my failure to meet a similar goal in the FA Cup, more emphasis is going to have go on the competition than I’d originally envisaged.
Southport (h) – 1-0
Ah, where was this performance hiding? The Sandgrounders started the game firmly ensconced in the play-offs, but were dominated from the off at Pilsworth Park. Zehn Mohammed, formerly of Accrington Stanley, made a horror tackle on Thompson whilst the striker on the break from a Southport corner, forcing the visitors to play out the final 30 minutes a man short. The breakthrough came from a corner of 1885 Bury’s own, Jacob Fletcher nodding in from a Cook centre.
Will Christmas bring good tidings for the Shakers? Can I get back into the play-offs? Find out on Monday in Chapter 6!