Avon Calling - Bury almost buried

Last updated : 28 February 2003 By Peter Heywood

Former Claret Danny Sonner scored for Walsall at Bury
Bury now seem doomed to make a swift return to Division One West after two successive "home" defeats. On Monday they went down 3-2 to a Walsall side fielding two former Clarets in Danny Sonner and Gavin Ward. It was Sonner, returning from injury, who gave the Saddlers an early lead with Craig Stanley making it two shortly after. Bury though fought back through a brace from trialist Chris Porter. However, Karl Hawley popped up with a second half winner to keep the Shakers rooted to the bottom spot, and maintain Walsall’s championship hopes.

Two days later and it was more misery for Bury as Sheffield United became the latest side to come away from Radcliffe Borough’s Stainton Park with three points. A goal from Dutch midfielder Marcel Cas in the last few minutes gave the Blades a 1-0 win to move themselves away from the relegation zone and virtually condemn the Shakers.

Even though Bury were obliged to play two games in three days there was no whinging from manager Andy Preece. Instead he chose to draw on the positives from the matches, in particular the performance of trialist Porter. Preece was sufficiently impressed with the 19 year-old (who has had trials with Blackpool and Wigan) to offer a contract.

The Blades’ win left Oldham as our nearest relegation partner, and we have Barnsley’s Isiaiah Rankin to thank for keeping the Latics just within touching distance. His second goal of the game, a late equaliser in the 3-3 draw at Boundary Park, leaves us only six instead of eight points behind the Latics with a game in hand. Veterans Lee Duxbury and John Sheridan had put Oldham two up before Barnsley came back to equalise through Rankin’s first and Dale Tonge. Chris Killen restored Oldham’s lead, before Rankin’s late strike gave us some hope.

So to the other end of the table where another late goal, this time in the last minute, gave Huddersfield a 3-2 win at the McAlpine against one of their main title-chasing opponents, Wolves. Early strikes from Jon Stead and Jonathan Worthington had given the Terriers a two-goal lead, but Wolves fought back to equalise in the second half through Kevin Cooper and Mohamed Camara. With time fast running out, a flying header from Town’s Peruvian striker Gianfranco Labarthe flashed past Australian trialist goalie Adam Federici to put Huddersfield back on top of the league, much to the delight of the 172 faithful fans.

Away from the league, Tranmere’s reserves were summarily dispatched from the Cheshire Senior Cup this week, losing 5-2 at Crewe. They were 5-0 down at one point, but late goals from Jason Price and former Clarets target Andy Parkinson restored a modicum of respectability to the scoreline.

There’s no game again for Burnley next week, and with the home game with Oldham due on March 12th reportedly postponed, the reserves may have to wait until March 26th for their next scheduled game, away at Barnsley.

Next week’s fixtures (Wednesday, March 5th):

Sheffield Utd v Rotherham
Walsall v Huddersfield

Leading league goalscorers:

7 Brother Joe O’Neill (Preston)
6 Gareth Seddon (Bury)
6 Paul Macari (Huddersfield)
6 Scott Vernon (Oldham)
6 Mark Robins (Rotherham)
6 Paul Warne (Rotherham)
5 Jimmi Lee Jones (Wolves)
5 Andy Monkhouse (Rotherham)
5 Isaiaih Rankin (Barnsley)
5 Jonathan Stead (Huddersfield)