Bury FC v Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town - Maurice Dickson at Gigg Lane.
Bury FC: Cameron Belford, Phil Picken, Joe Skarz, Tom Lees, Efe Sodje, Damien Mozika, Michael Jones, Steven Schumacher ©, Ryan Lowe (Bishop 77), Nicky Ajose, Andy Haworth
Subs: Richie Branagan, Ben Futcher, Peter Sweeney, David Worrall, Lenell John-Lewis, Andy Bishop, Kyle Bennett,
Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town: Ben Smith, Mat Sadler, Ian Sharps ©, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, Mark Wright, Kevin McIntyre, Steve Leslie, James Collins, Dean Holden, Lionel Ainsworth (Harrold 46), Craig Disley
Subs: Chris Neil, Sean McAllister, Matt Harrold, Jake Robinson, Connor Goldson, Jon Taylor, Tom Bradshaw
Attendance: 2917 (203 Shrewsbury)
Bury welcomed both Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town and the Sky Sports camera's to Gigg Lane on a very cold Friday night hoping to improve on their last two games both of which ended one all draws at home to Aldershot and away at Southend United.
Also making a welcome return to Gigg Lane was Shakers striker Andy Bishop who is back, fit and raring to go after almost four months out with injury. Bish took his place on the bench alongside Kyle Bennett and Lenell John-Lewis who dropped down from the starting XI at Roots Hall being replaced by Andy Haworth and Nicky Ajose respectively.
Shrewsbury got the game under way attacking the Cemmy End on a pitch still bearing the scars of the downpour that drenched the hallowed turf prior to the Aldershot game but neither side seemed to settle quickly and passes were going astray or were over hit in the opening ten minutes or so and it was the Shrews who had the first attempt on goal following a mistake by Schumacher but Belford save well from Holden.
The Shakers skipper soon made up for his mistake when, two minutes later, fired in a terrific free kick from 25 yards which Ben Smith did well to turn around the post for a corner which was headed overby Tom Lees.
On 18 minutes some lovely interplay by Haworth and Jones lead to the former skipping between two Shrewsbury defenders on the edge of the box but the young wingers shot was just too high.
Three minutes later it was the Shakers again who almost took the lead but Joe Skarz cross was just too far in front of the inrushing Ryan Lowe and Smith gathered a foot or so in front of his goal line.
Haworth was now beginning to show off more of his repertoire of skill and speed and was causing the Shrews defence all manner of problems and on 28 minutes he and Phil Picken combined well down the right and Jones found himself on the end of Haworth's cross but he was leaning back and blasted the ball over from the edge of the box.
On 36 minutes Nicky Ajose fired over from 25 yards as the Shakers continued to have the vast majority of the play but up until then the young loanee from Old Trafford had been fairly anonymous however just two minutes later he played a major part in the Shakers opening goal. Haworth, again, skipped away from his man on the right hand side and played a lovely cross along the edge of the box, Ajose, cleverly, stepped over the ball sending a defender the wrong way leaving Michael Jones to fire in a thundering first time shot which cannoned back off the bar but straight to Bury's leading scorer Ryan Lowe who fired in past Ben Smith in the Shrews goal, at the second attempt, for his 15th goal of the campaign.
GOAL:Bury FC 1 - 0 Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town (Lowe 39)
Shrewsbury, visibly stung by the Shakers goal almost hit back on 41 after Tom Lees allowed Collins to evade him but Cameron Belford was quickly off his line to deny the Town striker who, shortly after fired wildly over from the edge of the 18 yard box in the last real chance of a half which Bury dominated.
Half time Bury 1 - 0 Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town
Shrews boss Graham Turner made one change at half time bringing on ex-Wycombe striker Matt Harrold for Lionel Ainsworth.
The Shakers got the second half under way looking to carry on where they left off and they did just that. On 48 minutes Nicky Ajose should have done better when he turned Sharps beautifully and darted into the box but he allowed the ball to run away from him a little too far and his weak shot was blocked by Smith who gathered at the second attempt.
The Shrews had their first pop at goal of the second period on 57 minutes when Harrold fired wide from the edge of the box but Belford's goal never looked in any real danger.
Haworth tried his luck from 18 yards on 61 minutes following great work by both Skarz and Mozika but the goal bound ball unluckily struck Ryan Lowe on the back and went out for a goal kick as the Shakers continued to create more the chances although Harrold was certainly make Sodje and Lees earn their corn at the heart of Bury's defence.
Phil Picken was the first player of the evening to enter Mr Booth's notebook for a foul on 67 and as the resulting free kick was whipped in Collins got onto the ball but it seemed to skip off the top of his boot when he should have scored.
Town were no starting to have more of the ball and on 71 minutes the impressive Harrold held the ball up well and laid it off to left back Mat Sadler but he fired just over the top of the Shakers crossbar. Almost immediately, Bury broke to the other end of the pitch and Lowe played Jones in on the edge of the box but the young Scouser's shot was well saved by Smith. Perversely, seconds later the ball was at the other end of the pitch and there was an almighty mix up between Belford, Skarz and Lees which almost allowed Disley to chip the ball over the keepers head but the ball was cleared in the end much to the relief of the Shakers management who were going mad on the sidelines.
Alan Knill made his first change on 77 minutes when Andy Bishop made his long awaited return replacing goalscorer Ryan Lowe.
Town were seeing more of the ball in the second period as they sought an equalizer but the Bury midfield pairing of Schumacher and the impressive Damien Mozika were showing what a class act they are.
The Shrews made their second change on 80 minutes when Tom Bradshaw replaced James Collins but within two minutes Bury almost double their lead as Ajose cleverly beat his man on the right hand side of the box and sent a lovely ball into the near post but the ball was inches ahead of Andy Bishop and the chance was lost.
On 86 the Shakers could have, and should have, wrapped up the three points when, following a melee in their own box, they broke away almost the full length of the pitch and ended up with three against one. Damien Mozika laid the ball off to Nicky Ajose on the edge of the box but the young strikers curling shot went just wide of Smith's left hand post.
It was Ajose again, in the third minute of injury time who had the final attempt of the game but his shot from 10 yards, albeit at a narrow angle, thundered back off the crossbar just before Mr Booth blew for full time.
There can be no doubt that the three points went to the correct team on the night and whilst the Sky Sports pundits gave their Man of the Match award to the impressive Andy Haworth but, for my money, he had faded somewhat in the second half after a great first half. For me the best player on the pitch was Damien Mozika who dominated the centre of the pitch and ran the game.
Final Score Bury FC 1 - 0 Shrewsbury Town" target="_blank">Shrewsbury Town
Referee: Mr Russell Booth (Notts)
Assistants: Mr DS Bond and Mr RM Clark
Fourth Official: Mr RJ Madley