Bury Town 2 Norwich United 3: Finch bags hat-trick as Planters flex muscles ahead of play-offs bid
- Credit: Archant
Christy Finch showed his prowess as a top-class finisher with a superb hat-trick to help Norwich United show their play-off credentials against fellow contenders Bury Town.
The Planters' fifth win in their last six games lifted them to 10th in the table and completed the double over the Blues, who last season were plying their trade in the Ryman League Premier Division, two levels above Steve Eastaugh's men.
The Planters are four points behind Bowers & Pitsea, who occupy that all-important fifth place, and with 15 games left, a continuation of their current form could easily propel them up the table.
Finch's first strike came in the 12th minute when a corner was only half-cleared to Adam Hipperson – his shot from outside the area was deflected to the striker who controlled before turning and firing home from 10 yards.
The Blues were level 10 minutes before the break. Andy Wilton saved Ryan Jolland's shot but ex-Planter Andrew Cusack was on hand to put the loose ball into the back of the net.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for the visitors when in the third minute after the break Luke Read played the ball into the dangerous Josh Mayhew, the striker's first-time lob giving Wilton no chance.
The Planters were level in the 70th minute, Jamie Speller's inch-perfect long-range pass allowing Finch to hold off a challenge before slotting home past keeper Neil O'Sullivan.
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Finch's third came after Bradley Barber was caught in possession and Speller once again fed Finch. O'Sullivan managed to get a hand to the striker's shot, but couldn't prevent it from nestling in the bottom corner.
Planters' skipper Andy Eastaugh appeared unlucky to be shown a second yellow in injury time, with the referee's assistant indicating a Planters' free-kick, but United survived a scary couple of minutes to seal an important and impressive victory.
Norwich United: Wilton, Shipley, Radomski, Jones (Stewart 62), Eastaugh, Watts, Speller, Wones, Hipperson (L Jackson 85), Henery (J Jackson 88), Finch. Unused sub: Mason, Johnson.
Referee: Carl Pearse. Attendance: 276