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VERDICT: Bury 1 AFC Wimbledon 1
THE strain was starting to show in caretaker boss Ronnie Jepson as his bid to stake a claim for the permanent Bury manager’s position continued to be undermined by individual errors.
Saturday’s stalemate against promotion hopeful’s AFC Wimbledon stretched Bury’s winless run at home to eight matches – four since Jepson took the hotseat.
And despite an encouraging first outing for new-look strike partnership Danny Nardiello and Danny Hylton, the cause of the Shakers’ interim coach was yet again hampered by defensive frailties.
A slip by centre-back Nathan Cameron allowed Luke Moore in to cancel out Hylton’s first-half header.
Jepson believes the only lasting remedy to the problem will come when the transfer window reopens in January.
But with the 50-year-old on a trial until the new year, and a host of famous names being linked with the role, his patience on Saturday seemed to be wearing thin.
“At this moment in time I haven’t got great choices,” he said.
“Maybe in January, whoever is here, will have.
“The boys are working hard for me but I know where the deficiencies are in the team, don’t worry about that. I’ve just got to stay positive, along with my staff.”
Things could have been worse for Bury after a mix-up between keeper Brian Jensen and centre-back William Edjenguele almost let Wimbledon in to open the scoring in the very first minute.
George Porter capitalised on their indecision to burst clear, but referee Mick Russell waved away penalty claims after the winger went down as he bid to take the ball round Jensen.
Michael Smith then had a header cleared off the line for the Dons before Bury steadied themselves.
Man-of-the-match Hylton had one header well saved before finally beating Ross Warner in the Dons goal with a looping effort in the 34th minute.
Nardiello then looked to have added a second on his home debut moments before the break, but his calm side-footed finish was ruled offside.
Wimbledon came back into it in the second half, however, and looked capable of going on to win the match after Moore capitalised on the slip from Cameron in the 65th minute to fire the Dons back on level terms.
To Bury’s credit, they managed to restrict Wimbledon to one stoppage-time effort from substitute Jim Fenlon, which curled just wide, but they failed to create anything themselves and left Jepson bemoaning yet more crucial dropped points.
“It’s got to come from within – that winning mentality, to die for that clean sheet,” he said.
“We only had to win the game 1-0, that’s what I said to them at half time.
“But when you make a mistake like that – the lad’s not done it on purpose – but it goes and costs us three valuable points.
“I don’t want people to keep holding their hands up and admitting this, that and the other. I want them to do something about it.”
BURY: Jensen 6; Beeley 7, Cameron 5, Edjenguele 5, Howell 6; Sedgwick 7 (Harrad 86), Procter 6, Soares 6, Jones 6; Hylton 8, Nardiello 7. Not used: Hinds, Miller, Holden, Rooney, Reindorf, Lainton.
AFC WIMBLEDON: Warner; Fuller, Frampton, Bennett, Kennedy; Porter (Fenlon 80), Sweeney, L Moore (Sheringham 86), S Moore, Mohammed (Midson 64); Smith. Not used: Francomb, Sainte-Luce, Brown, Weston.
Goals: Bury 1 (Hylton 34) AFC Wimbledon 1 (L Moore 65).
Yellow cards: Bury – Procter . AFC Wimbledon – Bennett , L Moore .
Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire).
Attendance: 2,775 (387 visiting).
Star man: Danny Hylton – The script was set for an on-loan Rotherham United striker to steal the show, but while Danny Nardiello did have a promising home debut, it was his namesake that really stood out. It is still hard to fathom how Hylton managed to generate enough power from Chris Sedgwick’s floated cross to beat his former Aldershot team-mate Ross Warner in the Dons goal. But Hylton is about much more than goals. His infectious enthusiasm and tireless running make the 24-year-old an ideal strike partner, and you can only imagine that, when Nardiello gets in gear, they will be a difficult pair to stop.
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