Bury vs Oxford United
by Hannah Ingram at Gigg Lane
The departure of Alan Knill saw Bury without a permanent manager going into this game, against an Oxford side eyeing the play off places from mid table.
Bury had stumbled in recent weeks, losing at home to Torquay and Cheltenham before seeing out a tough game at Port Vale last week to gain a point with a 0-0 draw.
The Shakers were sitting in fourth place before kick-off after Shrewsbury leap-frogged them with a 3-1 win over Rotherham in midweek taking them into the automatic promotion places.
Oxford came to Gigg Lane on the back of two wins, seeing off Crewe and Burton Albion at home. Bury had to regroup to stop the rot and keep their promotion hopes fresh, with Phil Picken, Michael Jones, David Worrall, Damien Mozika and Nicky Ajose all claiming places in the starting XI.
GOAL! Bury made the dream start by taking the lead in the first minute with a cheeky lob from Nicky Ajose standing just inside the area. Ryan Clarke watched as the ball floated over his head and Gigg Lane erupted, with the memories of a tough week disappearing.
Bury 1 Oxford 0
Yellow card for Oxford on 24 minutes - Harry Worley
The first half was largely uneventful for both sides since Bury took the early lead. It had been a case of keeping possession but neither team had any clear-cut chances to alter the scoreline.
Two minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official as Bury tried to take the ball forward.
Yellow card for Bury in added time - Efe Sodje
Time was soon called on a first half where Bury had taken an early lead but nothing else of note had happened. Bury looked slick with their passing but Oxford had a fair share of the possession too.
Half Time - Bury 1 Oxford 0
Substitution for Oxford at half time - Asa Hall on for Josh Payne
Substitution for Oxford on 57 minutes - Ryan Doble on for Tom Craddock
GOAL! Ryan Lowe added another to his tally as the league's top scorer on 62 minutes in style; Ajose fought off competition for the ball in midfield before passing the ball out wide to Lowe on the left hand side. He then took the ball into the box and fired low underneath Clarke to double Bury's lead.
Bury 2 Oxford 0
Substitution for Bury 62 minutes - Kyle Bennett on for David Worrall
Ryan Doble beat the offside trap on 64 minutes but was dispossessed by Tom Lees once he made it into the box.
Steve Mclean tested Cameron Belford moments later with a powerful drive which the Bury keeper spilled in front of him, with Joe Skarz there to clear the danger.
Substitution for Oxford on 66 minutes - Simon Hackney on for Simon Helsop
GOAL! Bury make it three on 69 minutes after a perfect cross-field ball from Ryan Lowe found Ajose on the left. Doing pretty much the same move as Lowe minutes before, he took the ball into the box and trickled the ball into the net.
Bury 3 Oxford 0
Ajose tried the same move again on 72 minutes but his shot from deep inside the box was half blocked by Clarke and rolled across the face of goal with nobody to finish it.
Yellow card for Oxford on 73 minutes - Steve McLean
Substitution for Bury on 74 minutes - Andy Haworth on for Michael Jones
Substitution for Bury on 83 minutes - Lenell John-Lewis on for Ryan Lowe
Three minutes of additional time were indicated by the fourth official as Bury kept hold of the ball. Ajose took the ball deep into the box on the right hand side with Clarke coming out of his net to meet him; he passed back to Andy Haworth whose low shot was blocked by Clarke.
Time was soon called on a successful afternoon for the Shakers; they had the best start by scoring early, and despite a relatively quiet remainder of the first half, they came out fighting in the second half and were more than comfortable after scoring two more to put the game beyond doubt.
The players gathered in a huddle at the end of the game, much like they did before the game, showing their team spirit hadn't been rocked by events in the week. They looked like a solid Bury team with promotion still firmly in their sights.
Bury stayed fourth in the table due to results around them, and they travel to Northampton next week to take on a team struggling to stay in the league. It will be a tough game, but the players look more than up for the challenge.
Full time - Bury 3 Oxford 0
Attendance - 3515 (407 visitors)