A Steady Start From Bury, Sept over 60s

Bury Relics over 60’s team come into the new season fresh from competing in the Martin Dawson Trophy competition at the weekend. There they reached the semi-finals of the Plate Trophy, and most of that team were the same players as in todays team. In a small quirk of fate, the team to knock out the Relics at the weekend, were the first opponents for today; could the Relics reap revenge? So not to disappoint anyone reading this report, I can say the weather for this set of fixtures was overcast, and it rained part way through the second game against Preston but it was not for long. The traffic was also clear, so getting to Heywood Sports Village was smooth. Can the Relics win promotion back into the first division? Here is the report of the first round of fixtures.

Bury vs. Bolton
Prior to KO, there was a discussion regarding the firmness of the match ball, and after some deliberation, Bury’s own match ball was used. From the kick-off, Bolton were keeping possession, passing around the team but all in their own half. They were passing cautiously and measured, before passing the ball forward, with the ball just evading the Bolton forward and through to Eddy. Bury then passed around themselves before Bolton managed to intercept it. A lightening pass, across the pitch, is intercepted by Keith S, but there is a gasp from the Bury players, as he makes a hefty slice contact and it goes out for a corner. He will say, “simmer down lads, I had it all under control”, but the power in the pass meant his clearance would have been difficult to save if on target. Bolton, from the resulting corner, play it across the box and the striker shoots and Eddy makes a smart save, low down to his left. Bury then string some passes together, involving Terry, Ian and Alan, with the latter taking a shot at the end of the move, but for the Bolton keeper to save. Then it’s the Relics again, as they attack and pass around the Bolton area, to force a corner. From the corner evolves a nice, multiple passing move that crescendos in a Terry shot from a long way out on the right. The keeper makes the save and the Relics have another corner. That was excellent football. Bolton try and reply, by taking the ball down the other end, and feeding their #9. He tries to bamboozle Ian, but he stands firm, refusing to commit or give up any space for a Bolton shot. In the end, #9 does get a shot away, but all the power is absorbed by both Terry and Ian, and the ball runs harmlessly away to Eddy in goal. Bury now attack, with Graham getting the ball from a long Eddy throw-out, who passes out left to Terry, who quickly returns the pass in a 1-2 move, and Graham takes a shot, but it’s just too high. Nice try though. Now, Bolton enjoy a spell of attacking pressure, and only good blocks by Alan, Keith S and Terry prevent clear shots from Bolton. Then comes the spectacular moment of the game, from a Bury point of view; more specifically, it was an awesome save by Eddy. Their striker takes on a Bury defender and finds enough space to hit a low and powerful shot across the goal, from right to left looking at the goal. It’s a certain goal, that is until a flash of Orange, like a Patriot missile intercepting a Skud, Eddy flies across the goal and with a strong hand, diverts the ball wide of the goal to give a corner. A great save at any level of football. From the corner, Bolton create another chance but this time it’s off target. Keith S then showcases his drag back skills, to get himself out of trouble, and play the ball to Alan, who feeds Ian, who is now one-on-one and just outside the area. The Bolton keeper had read the danger and had sped to the edge of the area, skidding on his side, just in front of Ian. Ian shoots against the keeper, and the ball goes wide and for a corner. That was a big chance for the Relics. Another Relics move finds Graham with his back to goal, and a smart turn gives him the opportunity to shoot, but it lacked the power to beat the keeper. Then the decisive moment. From a Bolton free-kick, the defense is not organized enough, and a Bolton player receives the ball, and pushes it passed the last Relics defender, he then chases the ball, and toe-bungs it passed a stranded Eddy, who made a good effort to save it. It all happened in a flash and it could be the defence was not properly ready from the free-kick. In any case, there was no revenge and the result was a 1 – 0 win to Bolton.
Result; Bury Relics 0 – 1 Bolton

Bury vs. Preston
The first action of the game is some smart skills by their #7, who zig-zags around a couple of Relics players in midfield, he shows good skill but then loses the ball. Graham retrieves possession but is then tackled from behind by the same #7 player. Preston regain possession after Bury’s free-kick and from the back, make a cracker of a shot. The ball is struck from just past the halfway line by Ray, who catches it nicely and the thunderbolt of a shot hits the top corner of cross-bar and post, making the goal shake (see pics below). That was very close to Relics conceding a goal. The Relics reply by playing the ball to Graham, who does his trademark turn and shot, but this time with not enough power to beat the keeper, but a decent effort nonetheless. Preston, like Bolton in the previous game, are playing measured and accurately out from the back, but without being too dangerous. Ian and Graham are interchanging passes, and Graham plays Ian in, but the pass is just a bit too hard, and that means Ian has to put on the turbos to reach the ball, and shoots wide. The ref decided it was running in any case. Their midfielder tries a Robina type pass after dispossessing Graham, and though it looks good to the eye, his bearings are wrong and it just goes straight out of play. From the kick-in, Relics win a free-kick but this comes to nothing. On the next Preston attack, Relics manage to intercept and play in Ian on a break-away move, but alas, Ian had been adjudged to have run. Bury then create a chance for Terry, who comes forward from the back and connects powerfully with Grahams set up pass, but the ball flies past the left-hand post. Nice effort and great power on the shot. Then the Relics produce another good attacking move, this time Graham showing great tenacity by winning the ball from a Preston defender, holding him off, and then passing the ball to Alan, who meets the ball first time and shoots; it’s a high and dipping shot, that just clears the bar. Their keeper probably would not have saved that, and it would have been on goal of the month if this was the premier league; a great effort by Alan. Preston then win a free-kick just passed the halfway line, which was played to Ray, who takes a sharp and low shot, just wide of the left-hand post; that was a close chance for Preston. Ian then comes out of defence on the left side and passes cross-field to Alan, but unfortunately, there is too much on the pass and it evades Alan. A couple more chances for the Relics, the ball comes to Ian, who dummies a defender and takes it wide of him, and shoots. The keeper saves but the rebound comes out to Graham, but it is just out of his reach, so he has to put some speed on to reach it. The ref is OK with it, and Graham takes a shot that whistles wide. The game ends all square at 0–0.
Result; Bury Relics 0 – 0 Preston

Bury vs. Carlisle
Carlisle win the toss and Kick-off, who immediately go on the attack and carve out a good chance. They manage to find a man free on the edge of the box, and the player tries to take a quick shot, trying to catch Eddy off guard but that quickness means he scuffs the effort weakly and the ball rolls to Eddy. The pass out from Eddy finds Graham up-front, who holds the ball momentarily until support arrives in the form of Ian, on the left. Graham makes the pass to Ian, who hits it first time, the keeper does make the save but in an unorthodox fashion, with his feet. Carlisle reply with an attack of their own, finding their #6 in an advanced position. He shoots and Eddy gets a touch on it, onto the post and away for a corner. The subsequent move from the corner is a good one by Carlisle, incisive. The ball is played quickly from the corner, out to the middle of the goal, and the striker moves quickly towards the ball, hitting it first time, but fortunately for the Relics, it goes way over the bar and clears the back fence. Although off target, that was a sharp corner that could have led to a Carlisle goal. Carlisle continue pressing and win a free-kick, which they play to their #3, who strikes it hard but again too high. Again, Carlisle win back possession and force Eddy into another save, going out for a corner. The corner by Carlisle is again good, quick and leads to a shot but this time wide, and his foot was in the box anyway. The Relics go on the attack down the right-hand side, and a smart pass from Terry finds Alan up ahead. Alan speculatively passes square without looking, hoping that Graham was taking that space, but the ball transversed the pitch and out of play. Alan’s involved again, taking a foul and winning a free-kick, which is laid back to Keith S, who smashes it goalwards but ricochets off a defender, and puts Carlisle back on the attack. This breakaway leads to a Carlisle shot but the dependable Eddy saves with his feet. Carlisle come close again, when the defence plays up to their #3 who sharply turns and hits a crisp shot, that is only millimeters wide. Then a moment of controversy when Graham uses his skill and guile to bamboozle the last defender and get a yard free of him. The defender is tall and starts to fall onto Graham, who sees this in the corner of his eye, and as a consequence, Graham deflects the defender with his palms. However, the final outcome is the chance for the Relics to score has passed and Relics players and supporters are crying “Penalty”. However, the Ref gives a foul against Graham for using his hands in an act of self-preservation. Then the Relics produce some fantastic football in the final moments, by first intercepting Carlisle and then making multiple passes around the team, finally arriving at Terry’s feet, who shoots just wide of the goal. A tough game and probably a fair result, a 0–0 draw.
Result; Bury Relics 0 – 0 Carlisle

Bury vs. Blackpool
Bury get the game underway and put together a 5 pass move that ends up with Ian getting a shot away but it was blocked. Then Blackpool make an all-out attack, with plenty of movement, and lay siege on the Relics goal for a couple of minutes, whilst leaving Graham in space 2 yards past the halfway line. Blackpool get intercepted by a good challenge, and Graham is set free, latching onto a long pass, taking long strides, so not to get caught running. He reaches the ball as it approaches the Blackpool penalty area; the goalie has moved out to the edge of it to confront Graham, making his frame as big as possible. The best place to put the ball is through his open legs, and Graham obliges by toe-poking the ball straight through the goal keepers legs and into the goal. Hooray and clapping are heard from the sidelines, the Relics have scored to make it 1-0, a good early lead in this game. Blackpool, from the kick-off, make good moves forward with nice passing interchanges between 2 players but ends up being intercepted by the Relics. Graham and Ian produce a one-two and move the Relics forward but a last-ditch tackle prevents a Relics shot. Blackpool play the ball forward and win a free-kick from a tackle from behind. Blackpool try to unravel the Relics defence with quick and incisive passing, but they did not count on “The Wall”! No, not the Pink Floyd record but the brick wall that is Keith S; he uses his quick reflexes and sublime anticipation to intercept a Blackpool pass, and then finds himself surrounded by 2 Blackpool attackers. He keeps his cool, like Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western duel, and hammers the ball at full power against one of the Blackpool attackers. So not only does he cleverly intercept and stop dead in its tracks, the Blackpool attack, he also plays the ball out of play, off an opponent, so that the Relics keep possession. Superb play, nobody’s getting pass “The Wall”. Then after that heroic passage of play, disaster nearly strikes. A loose pass back from attack by the Relics is intercepted by their #7, who is quick to push the ball wide of his marking defender, and hit a shot across Eddy’s goal. Luckily for the Relics, it goes past the far post and out for a goal-kick. Then, wow, another let-off! The Relics contrive to loose the ball near the edge of their own area, probably due to fatigue, and Blackpool have a chance to equalize; the Relics ride their luck again as Blackpool end up messing up the chance. That was 2 let-offs in quick succession. Then Graham receives the ball, facing the opponents goal, with a defender in front of him, and decides to try a Messi type run, weaving left and right, trying to bamboozle the defender. He does so for the first few swerves but eventually, the defender toes the ball to another Blackpool player, who promptly plays it forward to an unmarked attacker, who moves forward and shoots wide. Extraordinary! That was now 3x lucky let-offs. Unperturbed, the Relics persist in their attacking, and Ian creates some space for himself on the left-hand side and crosses, trying to find Graham, but alas, it is not close enough to Graham to be dangerous. The game ends with Bury winning 1-0, a good result from a great game to watch. Blackpool will probably think they should have won it, as they had 3 or 4 good chances to score, and missed all of them, whereas the Relics had 1 really good chance, and they scored. A thoroughly entertaining game.
Result; Bury Relics 1 – 0 Blackpool

That was a good and steady start for the Relics team, they fought hard on the day. It is noteworthy that Bury are now competing in division 2 this season, but the difference between the quality of teams between divisions 1 and 2 is minimal. All the teams had good players and all produced good football during todays games. So well done Bury.

Thanks, and well done to all the players: Eddie (gk), Keith S, Alan, Ian, Graham, Terry and Tony G (sub). And to the manager and all the staff: Ken, Keith S and Keiren. Thanks to Kodak Keith for the photos. Report by Dr. John.