Bury Town 1 (0) - (1) 1 ROMFORD Attendance 296 - Ram Meadow
By Gary Redwin
A refereeing blunder denied Romford a last gasp winner and a place at the top of the league table after this hard fought contest in East Anglia.
Smarting from an opening day defeat, the home team had the better of the early exchanges in midfield, playing some crisp passing football in their build up but without causing the Boro defence too many problems until the twentieth minute when a shot beat Rhys HUGHES but rebounded out off the inside of the post. Romford replied with a nice Nick REYNOLDS ball out of defence down the left which gave Kurt SMITH the space to cross into the area where Kris NEWBY's fierce shot was blocked as it looked to be heading in.
On the half hour two similar injuries in quick succession caused some major disruption to the visitor's game plan as key men Reynolds and Newby both had to be replaced, but after a period of adjustment and having to contain a flurry of Bury attacks they came back strongly and took the lead on the stroke of half time. Five minutes earlier good work from Jonathan Nzenga had set up Daniel JONES close in for a shot and header that were both well saved and now another jinking run from Nzenga won a corner which he took himself and swung into the goalmouth where Rodney LEMBA outjumped everyone to glance the ball home.
Almost straight from the restart Romford could easily have doubled their lead as a through ball left Jones clear of the home defence but agonisingly, his effort went inches the wrong side of the post. Nzenga set up Greg AKPELE shortly after but he could only fire over under pressure from a defender, but then Bury seemed to take hold of the game for a while and Hughes had to save point blank in front of goal while other opportunities from good positions were too high or wide of the target. However the equaliser eventually came six minutes from the end of normal time as a swift move down the right left a Bury forward with the space to put in a cross that was volleyed home from close range by Tanner Call.
Neither side were now going to settle for a point and although the hosts were piling on the pressure it was Romford, who on the break actually looked more likely to sneak a winner and the Bury keeper had to pull off the save of the match from an Ernest OKOH piledriver that was heading just inside the angle of the bar and near post.
And then deep into added time Boro thought they had won it as Okoh was fouled as he ran towards the Bury goal, but was still able to get in a shot which took a wicked deflection off a defender's boot and looped over the keeper before hitting the inside of the far post and spinning over the line. However the referee, instead of waiting a second to see if any advantage accrued had inexplicably whistled for the foul as the ball was already heading towards goal and although no Bury man could have done anything to stop it, the goal was still ruled out with Romford instead being awarded a free kick which inevitably lead to nothing.
BURY TOWN (0) 1 CALL 84,
ROMFORD (1) 1 Rodney LEMBA 45
Team: Rhys HUGHES, Nathan JOSEPH, Kurt SMITH, George FORREST, Nick REYNOLDS (Daniel JONES 28), Danny COSSINGTON, Chris TAYLOR, Kris NEWBY (Golden Igbinewka 30), Rodney LEMBA, Jonathan Nzenga, Greg AKPELE (Ernest OKOH 79)
Unused Subs: Toby Barlow, Max Bolton
Yellow Cards: Daniel JONES 73, Chris TAYLOR 84, Ernest OKOH 90+1