Bury vs Burton Albion
by Hannah Ingram at Gigg Lane
Another important win for Bury on the road at Northampton at the weekend set them up well for tonight's match - their single game in hand over their promotion rivals.
They faced up against a Burton side without a win in April and staring at the wrong end of the table. They were unlucky to have so many games postponed over Christmas and had been playing catch up ever since.
Bury would go second in the table with a win, and gain important ground over the teams around them at the top - especially Wycombe and Shrewsbury.
The game was a slow-starter for both sides, with the first notable chance falling to Bury on 31 minutes; Phil Picken shrugged off pressure on the right from Jacques Maghoma before crossing the ball into the box. It fell to Nicky Ajose who sent the ball sailing over the bar.
Greg Pearson could've taken the lead for the visitors on 36 minutes with a header destined for the inside of the far post, but was denied by a header from Ryan Lowe on the line.
Yellow card for Bury on 40 minutes - Peter Sweeney
A curling cross from Michael Jones on the right on 42 minutes just needed a tap in from close range but Adam Legzdins got down well to gather.
Nicky Ajose wormed his way into the box on 43 minutes, beating one man after another as he trickled along the touchline but his looping ball was collected by Legzdins over his head.
Red card for Bury on 44 minutes - Damien Mozika
Two minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official as Damien Mozika saw red after a rash challenge and left Bury with ten men.
Time was soon called on a frustrating first half for Bury; the Burton defence seemed slow but strong and were making things difficult for Lowe and Ajose. Leaving the field with ten men meant that Bury had to come out fighting to make the most of this game in hand.
Half Time - Bury 0 Burton 0
Substitution for Bury at half time - Steven Schumacher on for David Worrall
A mistake from Steven Schumacher in midfield on 48 minutes paved the way for McGrath to steal the ball and play on Pearson on the right of the box, but his shot was blocked by Cameron Belford.
Pearson wasted a good chance to take the lead on 56 but his low shot from the left of the box was blocked by Belford's feet.
Red card for Burton on 61 minutes - Sam Winnall
Jones tried his luck from distance on 68 minutes from the right of the box but the ball rolled wide of the far post.
Substitution for Bury on 70 minutes - Kyle Bennett on for Michael Jones
Yellow card for Burton on 74 minutes - Aaron Webster
GOAL! Bury took the lead on 75 minutes thanks to a header from Tom Lees; a curling corner from Peter Sweeney landed right in front of goal for Lees to claim with his head.
Bury 1 Burton 0
Double substitution for Burton on 78 minutes - Lewis Young on for Jimmy Phillips, Calvin Zola on for Greg Pearson
Substitution for Bury on 80 minutes - Lenell John-Lewis on for Nicky Ajose
Red card for Bury on 86 minutes - Efe Sodje
Substitution for Burton on 88 minutes - Richard Walker on for John McGrath
Four minutes of added time were indicated by the fourth official as Burton won a throw in deep in their own half.
Yellow card for Bury on 90 (+3) minutes - Cameron Belford
Time was eventually called on a nervy last few minutes; Sodje's red card saw Bury put their backs to the wall and defend with all they had to preserve their lead and keep them second in the table.
It was a battling performance in the end and one which could end up defining Bury's season - it was ultimately three vital points but a scrappy game.
Two red cards could punish Bury in the coming weeks and the final run-in; it will be up to those players stepping into the starting XI to make a name for themselves.
Full time - Bury 1 Burton 0
Attendance - 2580 (115 visitors)