Bury Town U23s and Bowers & Pitsea U23s played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on a night where both sides had opportunities to grab all three points, with the visitors coming back from a goal down twice to share the spoils.
The game started lively early on, as early as 4 minutes, as a Bowers low cutback from the left picked out their No.9 whose shot was easy for Bugg down to his left at his near post. Four minutes later, a good free-kick ball in from the right by Tommy Robinson was not cleared by the visiting defence, as the ball fell to Yallop. However, the left-back's effort was dealt with by the 'keeper ahead off a Blues player lurking, who was inches away from getting a touch on the ball. Soon after, Bury took the lead, which all came out after Charlie Hughes made a great tackle to stop Bowers from shooting in the box on 10 minutes. The hosts' counter found Tanner Call on the left wing, whose brilliant cross in was flicked off the back off the defender well past his own keeper for an own goal, just a minute after Bury won back possession.
Bowers tried to respond, on 13 minutes, but their No.7's effort at goal, from 30-yards out was easy for Bugg to hold onto, diving down to his left. The visitors then had a free-kick on the left wing, a minute later, inside the hosts half, but their No.19's header towards goal at the near post was straight at Bugg to pluck out off the air. Bowers, though did equalise on 16 minutes.
As a shot from the left off the box was pushed out by Bugg to his left, where the unmarked Ben Sartain was the first to react, tapping the ball into the bottom corner at the far post. Both sides posed decent sifns in attack, throughout the opening 45, in what was a fairly equal first half. With Bury going close to retaking the lead on 23 minutes, with Josh Revell feeding Tommy Robinson on the left, who then fissed a low ball in across goal, but his teammate sliding in at the far post just couldn't get on the end off it. Despite that, Bury restored their lead just 3 minutes later. Josh Revell with a great defence splitting pass to set Emmanuel Machaya through on goal, as the forward slotted through the keeper's legs and into the bottom right corner, to make it 2-1.
Bowers though were not going to lie down, as they equalised just 6 minutes before the interval, with Sartain doubling his & Bowers' tally thanks to a 30-yard rocket straight into the top left corner, which was the last meanful action off the opening half, as both sides went in level.
Half Time: Bury Town Under-23s 2-2 Bowers & Pitsea U23s
Early into the second half, 7 minutes after the break, the visitors' put a low cross from the left, into the box. Where it was turned towards goal by a Pitsea player at the far post, but Bury were able to clear it off the line. On the hour mark, Bury were awarded a free-kick on the left-edge of the box, however Porter's curled shot went over the top far corner. A minute later, and Bury went close again. Robinson fed Machaya through down the left, whose outswinging cross towards Revell at the far post was just too long for the Bury forward. Fast and furious chances then followed for Bury, with the next coming on 62 minutes.
Tanner Call was picked out through a great pass onto the right, where he cut inside the defender, and raced into the box only for his low effort towards the far corner to be palmed away by the 'keeper. Seconds after, Bury were almost in again, but this time the 'keeper came off his line well to smother the effort behind for a corner. Bowers then had a half-chance with 26 minutes to go, as their cross in from the right was flicked towards goal by their No.9 at the far post, but his shot was straight at Bugg who saved it comfortably.
A minute later, Bowers then won a throw on the right, following the save, with the long throw causing havoc in the box the ball fell to a defender whose shot from close range was blocked by the feet off Bugg at his near post. At this point the visitors looked on top in the second half, but Bury soon did likewise late on, but either side could've grab a winner. It was the hosts who went close next, on 72 minutes. Machaya's shot from the left-side the box was deflected wide off the far post, but the referee signalled for a goalkick.
With quarter-of an hour left, Bowers blasted a low fierce ball into the Bury box, from the left, but luckily for the hosts nobody was able to get a touch to turn it goalwards. Five minutes later, and the visitors had a decent chance to win, but No.8's squared ball from the left byline, inside the area, was saved by Bugg. With the game slowly coming to the end, Bury had another shot- through Machaya, on 81 minutes, from the left side outside the area. Unfortunately, though for Bury, he rushed his volleyed effort as the ball sliced over the bar. Five minutes then passed, before Simpsons' cross in the right found the Machaya at the far post, but he couldn't get a good enough connection on the ball as he headed it straight at the keeper.
With 88 minutes played, Bury still had chances to grab a winner, as Call worked his way to the edge off the box, but his curled shot was deflected just over the top left corner. Bowers, however, had the last chance off the game, on 90+7 minutes, despite being down to ten men due to injuries. A cross from the right from the visitors was met by the No.10 at the near post, who skied a rushed effort way over the bar. That concluded a thoroughly entertaining game, as the two sides shared a point.
Full Time: Bury Town Under-23s 2-2 Bowers & Pitsea U23s
Match Report by Drew Kendall