Port Vale vs Bury
by Hannah Ingram at Vale Park
Bury's promotion hopes suffered a knock back last weekend at the hands of Cheltenham, but results around them saw them stay second in the table.
Port Vale beat the Shakers at home on the opening day of the season, but their luck has since changed, seeing them slide out of the play off places last week after losing 3-0 at Accrington.
Bury striker Andy Bishop was ruled out for the remainder of the season after his knee troubles unfortunately returned. Efe Sodje returned to the starting line up, complete with a broken arm, after serving his two-match suspension and Peter Sweeney kept his starting place ahead of Phil Picken.
Damien Mozika did not feature in the team or on the bench, with Andy Haworth lining up to start.
Doug Loft could have taken an early lead for the home side on two minutes after Cameron Belford dropped a save from a looping cross; the ball fell to Loft but his shot was cleared by Efe Sodje on the line.
Steven Schumacher curled a free kick towards goal moments later but Stuart Tomlinson pulled out a diving save to keep the ball out.
Marc Richards was left with space to compose a shot on the left of the box on 3 minutes but he fired across goal and wide of the far post.
Richards tried a volley from just inside the box on 5 minutes, aiming to lob Belford, but he sent the ball over the bar.
The home side will wonder how they didn't take the lead when Tom Pope struck the bar on 15 minutes with a looping header. The loose ball fell to the feet of Richards who blasted over from close range.
Richards wasted another golden opportunity to take the lead on 18 minutes when he got in front of Sodje as a low cross sped in front of goal. He met the ball at the far post but shot into the path of Belford who put the ball out for a corner.
The next effort of note fell to Pope on 40 minutes following a period of play where Port Vale's dominance had wavered slightly. Pope shot on the turn from the edge of the box, forcing a reaction save from Belford to keep the ball out.
Yellow card for Port Vale on 42 minutes - John McCombe
One minute of added time was indicated by the fourth official as Bury won a free kick on the left of the box. Schumacher played the ball into the box but it met the top of Ryan Lowe's head and was collected by Tomlinson.
Time was soon called on a somehow goalless half. Port Vale had come flying out of the traps and thrown everything at Bury but had failed to make any of their chances count.
Bury had tried to catch them on the break but the home side's defence wasn't going to be easily beaten. This match was echoing the Shrewsbury away game where the home side ended up regretting not taking their chances as Bury took the points from under their nose. A repeat would help the Shakers enormously on what looked like a tough afternoon ahead.
Half Time - Port Vale 0 Bury 0
Loft could have taken the lead for the home side on 49 minutes with a powerful drive which rattled the post after a dangerous corner from the right.
Yellow card for Bury on 52 minutes - Steven Schumacher
Substitute for Bury on 60 minutes - Nicky Ajose on for Andy Haworth
Substitution for Bury on 66 minutes - Lenell John-Lewis on for Chris Holroyd
Substitution for Port Vale on 69 minutes - Rob Taylor on for Lewis Haldane
Bury were reduced to ten men just as they were starting to make a mark on this game. Schumacher picked up his second yellow card in full view of the ref, seeing him end the game early.
Red card for Bury on 76 minutes - Steven Schumacher (second bookable offence)
Tensions flared after the sending off, with Lowe and Sam Morsy both having words with each other and picking up a booking each.
Yellow card for Port Vale and Bury on 77 minutes - Sam Morsy and Ryan Lowe
Substitution for Bury on 79 minutes - Max Harrop on for Kyle Bennett
Substitution for Port Vale on 88 minutes - Louis Dodds on for Doug Loft
Three minutes of additional time were indicated by the fourth official as Port Vale went forward; a long cross was just too far for Tom Pope.
Time was soon called as Port Vale had a last throw of the dice but the ball rolled out of play.
The home side certainly had their chances but didn't take them. Bury had tried to catch them on the break but it would always be a tough afternoon againt a Port Vale side bouncing back from a 3-0 defeat at Accrington.
Bury did come back into the game in the second half but just as they were picking up the tempo, the Shakers captain Steven Schumacher picked up his second yellow card and saw the visitors reduced to ten men. The game was then a case of defending a point and testing Port Vale on the break.
In the end, the points were shared and Bury's losing run of two games was halted. They face another tough test on home turf next week against an Oxford side looking to sneak into the play offs.
Full Time - Port Vale 0 Bury 0
Attendance - 5510 (629 visitors)
Bury: Cameron Belford, Joe Skarz, Tom Lees, Peter Sweeney, Steven Schumacher, Andy Haworth, Ryan Lowe, Efe Sodje, Kyle Bennett, Chris Holroyd, Richard Eckersley
Subs: Phil Picken, Ben Futcher, Lenell John-Lewis, Mike Jones, Richie Branagan, Nicky Ajose, Max Harrop
Port Vale: Stuart Tomlinson, Adam Yates, Anthony Griffith, John McCombe, Gareth Owen, Doug Loft, Marc Richards, Lee Collins, Lewis Haldane, Sam Morsy, Tom Pope
Subs:Chris Martin, Rob Taylor, Louis Dodds, Kris Taylor, Ritchie Sutton, Gary Roberts, Justin Richards