With our game against Radcliffe earlier in the week very much an ‘away’ fixture, we returned to the Neuven Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the ‘home’ team, welcoming Wakefield-based Nostell Miners Welfare FC as the opposition.
Competing in the Northern Counties East Football League, a level similar to our own in the NWCFL Division One, Nostell would provide an example of the tests awaiting Andy Welsh and his team throughout the 2020/21 season.
And so it proved, with an entertaining game in front of a restricted 150 fans on a sunny but breezy afternoon.
On balance, the first half belonged to Bury, with the better chances falling to both Liam MacDevitt and his fellow trialist striker.
The chances created were forcing Nostell back, Kieran Nolan firing in a strong effort from the edge of the box on 11 minutes which required the Nostell keeper, Lee Kelsey, to push it around the post and add to the ever-increasing number of corners. In fact the number of corners reached double figures before half-time, but something for the gaffer and lads to work on in capitalising on these set pieces as Nostell dealt with most comfortably.
However, it was MacDevitt that opened the scoring at the midway point of the first half, grabbing his first goal in the maroon shirt. A ball was played in low from the right to the near post, the covering defender slid in to block the cross but this deflected the ball into MacDevitt’s path, and with one touch to steady himself, he blasted the strike low to the keeper’s left and inside the near post.
Bury AFC 1 – 0 Nostell MW (MacDevitt 26 mins)
That scoreline remained heading into half-time but it was Nostell who came out fighting for the second half and it wasn’t long before they were on level terms.
Nostell winger, Joe Wood got away in the centre of the pitch before laying the ball into the path of Amir Berchill with just our trialist keeper to beat. His neat dink finish looped past the on-rushing keeper and nestled into the net with Bailey Sloane rushing to try and recover the situation.
Bury AFC 1 – 1 Nostell MW (Berchill 54 mins)
The arrival of Adam McWilliam, George Blackwell & Kris Holt a few moments later sought to add extra energy across the Bury midfield. This proved to be the case, as first Holt received a pass and struck his shot high for a save from Kelsey on 80mins, and then three minutes later Blackwell received a pass into the left hand side of the box and bear down on goal. A combination of the recovering centre-back and save from the keeper prevented a goal in what would have surely been a winner.
The game ended all-square with a great workout for both teams.
Full-time Bury AFC 1 – 1 Nostell MW
We return this evening (7th September, 7.45pm) to take on Walshaw Sports Club in another pre-season friendly, at the Neuven Stadium.
All tickets are sold out for this game, so please only come down to the ground if you have a valid ticket to be allowed entry.