Bury vs Cheltenham Town
by Hannah Ingram at Gigg Lane
A disappointing defeat to Torquay in midweek gave the Shakers an unwanted setback in their quest for making games in hand count at the top of the table, but they were back at Gigg Lane to face a Cheltenham side looking to get into the top half of the table.
Loan striker Nicky Ajose was back in the squad after a few weeks out injured, starting the game on the bench. Alan Knill kept the same XI from Tuesday night, with Efe Sodje and Phil Picken still suspended.
Table-toppers Chesterfield","height=600, width=800,scrollbars=1,resizable=1,status=1,toolbar=1,location=1");return false;">Chesterfield thumped fellow promotion hopefuls Rotherham 5-0 last night, stretching their lead at the top to thirteen points ahead of Bury in second place. Bury needed a win to further cement their place in the top three and widen the gap between them and fourth place.
GOAL! The visitors took an early lead in the third minute; a curling corner from Danny Andrew found the head of Andy Gallinagh who had Cameron Belford beaten with a brilliant headed effort into the top left hand corner of the goal.
Bury 0 Cheltenham 1
GOAL! Cheltenham's second arrived on 7 minutes courtesy of a composed effort from Josh Low who seemed to walk through the Bury defence and finish from the right of the box with little threat from the Bury defence.
Bury 0 Cheltenham 2
GOAL! Bury pulled one back moments later following a dangerous corner from Steven Schumacher on the right; he found the head of Ben Futcher at the far post who finished high over the head of Scott Brown between the sticks.
Bury 1 Cheltenham 2
Neat passing between Kyle Bennett and Richard Eckersley on 18 minutes formed a confident attack, but Eckersley's lofted cross dropped onto the top of the netting.
David Worrall dropped his shoulder on the right on 21 minutes and lost his marker, before crossing to Ryan Lowe in front of goal whose bicycle kick went wide of the right post.
Frankie Artus tested Belford on 24 minutes with an effort from the left of the box, but the Bury keeper applied himself and blocked the ball, sending it out for a throw in.
Bennett sliced open the Cheltenham defence with a forward pass to Ryan Lowe on 30 minutes, setting him up on the left of the box to shoot and score. Unfortunately Bury's top scorer was flagged offside.
Bennett tried his luck from the edge of the box on 43 minutes, but his shot took a deflection, taking it out of play. Tom Lees narrowly headed wide from the resulting corner.
Two minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official as Bury continued to search for an equaliser. They were getting frustrated by the Cheltenham keeper, Scott Brown, who already seemed to be trying to run the clock down.
Time was soon called on an interesting first half for Bury - it was a shock to the system as they quickly fell behind to two well-worked goals but had got their teeth into the game afterwards and halved the deficit.
Bury needed to fly out of the traps after the break to not only equalise but try and take the lead in a game where they had enjoyed the lion's share of possession.
Half Time - Bury 1 Cheltenham 2
Yellow card for Bury on 46 minutes - Ben Futcher
Eckersley did all the hard work on 48 minutes, taking the ball past a number of Cheltenham players and into the box; he teed up a shot but it was deflected away for a corner.
Substitution for Bury on 60 minutes - Andy Haworth on for David Worrall
A long ball forward set up Lowe on the left of the box on 67 minutes but his effort was blocked at the near post by Brown.
GOAL! Andy Haworth claimed the equaliser for Bury moments after Lowe's blocked effort, shooting hard from the edge of the box.
Bury 2 Cheltenham 2
GOAL! Bury shot themselves in the foot seconds after the restart as Josh Low found himself with space on the right and, spying Belford off his line, chipped him with style and put Cheltenham back in front.
Bury 2 Cheltenham 3
Yellow card for Bury on 71 minutes - Andy Haworth
Substitution for Cheltenham on 73 minutes - Junior Smikle on for Frankie Artus
Substitution for Bury on 75 minutes - Nicky Ajose on for Ben Futcher
Bennett lost his marker on the right of the box on 79 minutes and crossed into the box for Lowe whose effort was tipped over the bar by Brown.
Yellow card for Bury on 85 minutes - Steven Schumacher
Substitution for Bury on 85 minutes - Lenell John-Lewis on for Chris Holroyd
Ryan Lowe could have toe-poked an equaliser on 89 minutes after a clever ball from the right of the box, but the ball was just that little bit too far in front of him.
Ajose paced down the right flank in the last minute of normal time, but his cross was turned away for a corner by Brown at the near post.
Substitution for Cheltenham on 90 minutes - Marlon Pack on for Wes Thomas
Three minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official as Bury looked for the equaliser to take something from this game.
It never came and time was eventually called on another frustrating home fixture for Bury - their possession was up to 76% at times in this game but the resilient defence from Cheltenham frustrated Bury time and again when they took the ball forward.
The equaliser from Haworth to make it 2-2 was the result of patient play from the Shakers, who built on their possession to form cautious attacks to try and break down the brick wall of red which Cheltenham set out. But they were caught straight from the restart with Low getting his second of the afternoon.
Results around them saw Bury stay in second place, but it was a case of not taking advantage yet again. A potential six points dropped at home in two games meant that Bury were now level on points with third-place Wycombe, but with their superior goal difference to thank for where they were.
Attendance - 2870 (106 visitors)
Bury:Cameron Belford, Joe Skarz, Tom Lees, Ben Futcher, David Worrall, Steven Schumacher (c), Ryan Lowe, Kyle Bennett, Chris Holroyd, Damien Mozika, Richard Eckersley
Substitutes:Peter Sweeney, Andy Haworth, Lenell John-Lewis, Michael Jones, Richie Branagan, Andrai Jones, Nicky Ajose
Cheltenham Town FC: Scott Brown, Keith Lowe, Danny Andrew, David Bird, Andy Gallinagh, Michael Pook (c), Josh Low, Wes Thomas, Frankie Artus, Steve Elliott, Matt Green
Substitutes: Daniel Lloyd-Weston, Jake Thomson, Theo Lewis, Marlon Pack, Junior Smikle, Ashley Eastham, Jeff Goulding