Maldon go close but home clash ended goalless

By Lee Witney

12th Feb 2023 | Football

Maldon went close with this effort.
Maldon went close with this effort.

Maldon & Tiptree 0, Bury Town 0

Maldon & Tiptree shared the spoils with Bury Town on a frustrating afternoon that could've seen them take all three Isthmian North points.

Recent additions, Chris Gregan and Lewis Jaggs made their home debuts for the Jammers, who were looking to bounce back from a harsh defeat against New Salamis last Saturday.

It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides and fired the first warning shot in the opening minute when a Darren Mills header looped just over the crossbar and onto the netting.

Mills had another chance after 11 minutes when Jammers defender Michael Finneran bought down Cemal Ramadan about 30 yards from goal. The resulting freekick found Mills in the box but, again, his header went over the bar.

Bury had the better of the opening 20 minutes and Maldon needed to settle and they nearly made Bury pay for not taking their chances. A wonderfully weighted through ball from Harry Phillips put George Smith in on goal. His right footed shot across the face of the goal drew a fine fingertip save from Charlie Woods to prevent the Jammers from going ahead.

That chance seemed to light a fire under Maldon and some lovely one touch passing play, working the ball across the pitch to Smith on the right-hand side allowed him to get a shot away on the volley. Unfortunately for the Jammers front man, he couldn't quite get the accuracy as the ball went just over.

There were chances for either side to take the lead before the break. More of the same clever play in the 43rd minute forced a Maldon corner, but Woods collected Gregan's corner unchallenged. In additional time, Mills shot wide to ensure the teams went in 0-0 at the interval.

The second half began in much the same manner as the first as Bury had most of the play, without ever overly worrying the Maldon back line.

But, as with the first half, The Jammers eventually clicked into gear and worked their way back into the match. On the hour mark, a ball infield from Peter Mokwenye to Ronnie Bates allowed him to set Scott Kemp away, but the Maldon skipper's effort was put over the bar.

There was more cause for concern in the Bury back line a few moments later when Phillips was taken out on the penalty spot as he tried to connect with a great ball in from Billy Willis on the right. It looked like a penalty to many but the referee saw it differently and waved the Jammers' appeals away.

On 65 minutes, some determined play from Mokwenye caused panic and forced a poor back pass to Woods. With the Bury shot stopper stranded in no-man's land, Bates read the pass and tried to lift it over Woods. His effort didn't have enough put on it and the keeper was grateful to see the ball drop into his hands.

With a little over 20 minutes to go, more good play down the Maldon left allowed Mokwenye to get a cross in which was flapped away by Woods, the ball broke but Bates' header cleared the bar from 8 yards out and Bury were reprieved.

Bury came back into the game and started to push Maldon back onto the top of their own penalty box and gave the hosts a big scare when Lewis O'Malley found himself with the freedom of Park Drive in the box, but inexplicably he put his header over.

A powerful volley from Lewis Jaggs with five minutes left from the edge of the box broke Bury's momentum. He struck the ball so sweetly that most of the crowd just waited for the net to bulge. It didn't and would have made such a picture book winner had in gone in.  Maldon then had a corner from Gregan that looked to have won the game. A wicked in swinging ball from the Bury left hit the bar before bouncing down on the line and being cleared to safety.

The last real action came as Maldon keeper Tommy Dixon-Hodge made a smart save at his near post and as the final whistle came both sides had to settle for a point.

That solid point keeps The Jammers in 13th place, ahead of a tough trip on Monday night to face Hashtag United, who, along with AFC Sudbury, seem to be having their own private title race.


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