VERDICT: Wycombe Wanderers 1 Bury 2
BURY looked every inch a team as the players slid together on their knees in front of the travelling Shakers fans to celebrate Wiliam Edjenguele’s late winner against 10-man Wycombe.
It was a fitting sight for caretaker boss Ronnie Jepson, who has made building a collective spirit his number one priority since taking charge of the struggling side two weeks ago.
In that time there has been a marked progression, from a plucky 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth to a battling 0-0 draw at home to Mansfield, and finally victory at Adams Park, claimed with no small amount of swagger.
“We are getting that team ethic into Bury Football Club, which you need if you are going to be successful,” said the 50-year-old former Bury player, who has been given until January to prove he is the right man to replace Kevin Blackwell in the hotseat.
“There were a few words said at half time and I got a fantastic response from the boys. Even before the sending off, their tails were up and thankfully we got a couple of goals.”
Bury showed no signs of brittle confidence normally associated with a team searching for their first goals in five matches and first win in 10 as they roared back in the second half after going into the break a goal down.
The Shakers’ defence went missing in the 16th-minute as Wycombe centre-back Anthony Stewart was left unmarked at the back post to volley home Josh Scowen’s corner, although Jepson claimed marker Nathan Cameron was blocked in the build-up.
Stewart almost doubled the home side’s advantage with an angled drive, while Paris Cowan-Hall went close with an improvised lob.
But substitute Anton Forrester – on for Danny Hylton after the loan striker injured his knee – sent a warning shot across Wycombe’s boughs with a superb curling effort just before the break.
And the 19-year-old Blackburn striker was a key figure after the interval as the Shakers poured forward.
Tom Soares blasted over from 10 yards a minute into the second half before Wycombe briefly threatened to turn the screw.
Brian Jensen stood tall to block a Matt Bloomfield effort and Shaun Beeley chested away a Stewart shot on the goal-line, but after that it was all Bury.
Danny Mayor was left screaming in frustration as his 25-yard strike flew past the post.
But Soares could not miss on 69 minutes when Forrester surged down the left and pulled back a clever centre that the vice captain duly slotted home to end the Bury drought.
The final 20 minutes went by in a blur of Bury chances, interrupted only by Bloomfield’s straight red card in the 76th minute for a rash sliding tackle on Beeley.
Shaun Harrad had a header tipped around the post and missed the target with a toe poke and an overhead kick before Edjenguele powered home a header from Chris Sedgwick’s corner with two minutes remaining.
Cue spontaneous celebrations on the pitch and in the Bury end as the Shakers ended a miserable run to climb up one place and move three points clear of the League Two drop zone.
It also underlined the impact Jepson has had on a squad rejuvenated since his appointment and vindicated the faith shown in him by chairman Stewart Day.
Not that Jepson is getting carried away.
“We got the three points, which was the main thing for everybody connected with the football club – for the supporters, the players, the chairman and the board – we needed that,” he said after the match.
“I think you could see in the three games - against Pompey, the other night against Mansfield and here today - they put in three good shifts for me and managed to get four points, for which I am pleased, but the backslapping stops here.
“I have got an affinity with this football club - the chairman knows that and has asked me to take over until January.
“I will do that and while I am here I will give 110 per cent. If we are successful and, come January, if he thinks I am the man for the job, then fine. If not then I will shake his hand.”
WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Ingram; Arnold, Hause, Stewart, Dunne; Lewis, Scowen, Knott (Morgan 73), Bloomfield, Cowan-Hall (Kretzschmar 83), Kuffour (McClure 73). Not used: Horlock, Wood, Pittman, Doherty.
BURY: Jensen 6; Beeley 7, Cameron 6, Edjenguele 7, Mustoe 7; Sedgwick 6, Procter 7, Soares 8, Mayor 8; Hylton 6 (Forrester 9 39), Harrad 8. Not used: Charles-Cook, Hinds, Miller, Holden, Rooney, Walker
Goals: Wycombe Wanderers 1 (Stewart 16) Bury 2 (Soares 69, Edjenguele 88).
Red cards: Wycombe Wanderers – Bloomfield 76.
Yellow cards: Wycombe Wanderers – Knott 63, Scowen 68. Bury – Soares 90+2. Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).
Attendance: 3,350 (180 visiting).
Star man: Anton Forrester – The teenage striker curled a shot wide minutes after replacing the injured Danny Hylton in the first half and never looked back after that. Rightly rested by Ronnie Jepson for his first two games in charge, the 19-year-old Blackburn loan signing played like he had a point to prove. And while he did not add to his five goals this season, the youngster made good chances for strike partner Shaun Harrad as well as the opening goal for Tom Soares. A sublime piece of skill took him clear on the left and he kept a cool head to find the run of the Bury vice-captain. Hylton’s knee injury looks set to hand Forrester a chance to nail down his starting spot at home to Alan Knill’s Torquay on Saturday and you would not bet against him adding to his five goals to extend his lead as the club’s top scorer this term.
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