Crawley Town FC v Bury FC – Maurice Dickson reporting from the Broadfield Stadium
The Shakers travelled down to Sussex for their first ever visit to the Broadfield Stadium to meet former manager Richie Barker’s new Crawley Town side.
Bury, who were missing Northern Ireland striker David Healy due to his call up for their World Cup Qualifying game in Portugal, took to the pitch wearing their all yellow away kit got the game under way kicking away from the travelling Bury supporters.
After both sides traded possession in midfield in the open nine minutes ex-Shaker Nicky Adams had the first real effort on goal when he scampered down the left hand side and cut into the box before firing a shot which flew across Trevor Carson’s goal and wide of the far post.
Three minutes later and, again, Crawley almost took the lead after a slip on a rain-soaked greasy surface by Mark Hughes allowed another former Bury player, Nicky Ajose to shoot from 20 yards but he scuffed the effort five yards wide of the Bury goal.
On 20 minutes Gary Alexander flashed a header wide following some good work from the third ex-Shaker in the Red Devils side, Mike Jones and at that point the Shakers had to make a change after Mark Cullen suffered a knock after a clash with Akpan and had to be replaced by David Worrall who was back in the Shakers squad after he had recovered from the bout of tonsillitis which forced him to miss the Swindon game last weekend.
BURY SUB: Mark Cullen off. David Worrall on. (20 mins)
Ajose had a simple header saved by Carson on 24 minutes after more trickery down the left by Nicky Adams and two minutes later Mike Jones found acres of space on the edge of the box but he met Ajose’s cross with a horrendous effort that ballooned high over the stand behind Carson’s goal.
The Shakers then began to claw their way back into the game and won a free kick on 32 minutes after a foul on Bishop by McFazdean but Schumacher's free kick found Bishop in an offside position as they started to press the Reds defence a little bit more.
It wasn’t until the last notable piece of play in the first half that Crawley took the lead when, on 42 minutes, a slip in midfield by Mark Carrington lead to Hope Akpan carrying the ball for forward and finding Nicky Ajose on the right had side of the box and his ball in evaded everyone until it reached Nicky Adams on the left and he buried it into the roof of the net from 10 yards past a helpless Trevor Carson.
Goal Crawley Town 1 – 0 Bury FC (Adams 42 minutes)
Half Time Crawley Town 1 – 0 Bury FC
Crawley got the second half underway but it was Bury who had the first proper attempt on goal when, following good work down the left hand side by Skarz and Worrall, Andy Bishop’s glancing header was easily gathered by Paul Jones on 48 minutes.
Bury’s first corner of the game didn’t arrive until the 52nd minute following good work down the right by young Tom Hopper but it was easily cleared by the Crawley defence and the ball reached Nicky Adams who just ran at the Bury defence down the right hand side and then he cut inside and laid off the ball to Akpan who’s first time shot flew past the diving Carson into the bottom corner of the goal.
Goal Crawley Town 2 – 0 Bury FC (Akpan 53 minutes)
It was a bitter blow to the Shakers but they tried to hit straight back but when Shakers skipper Steven Schumacher’s free kick found its way to Marcus Marshall on the right hand edge of the box the former Rotherham man totally misjudged the ball and young winger only kicked fresh air and the chance came to nought.
Bury started to get more of a grip but it was Crawley who came closest to scoring when they hit the bar on 63 minutes when some decent one touch passing between Adams and Byrne, lead to the latter’s cross skipping off the top of the Bury crossbar and out for a goal kick.
BURY SUB: Marcus Marshall off. Craig Jones On (64 minutes)
The Shakers finally pulled a goal back in the 65th minute when the mercurial Worrall took a very quick throw in and Andy Bishop deftly flicked the ball on for the onrushing Tom Hopper to head past a helpless Jones for the youngster’s second goal for the club.
GOAL: Tom Hopper (62 minutes)
Bury now sought every opportunity to take the game to their hosts and it took just four minutes for the Shakers to pull level when Schumacher did well to find Craig Jones down the right hand side and his fabulous cross found an unmarked Andy Bishop who, from six yards out, powerfully headed home his first Bury goal since Scunthorpe away on Boxing Day to send the 242 travelling Shakers faithful and his team-mates wild with delight.
GOAL: Andy Bishop (69 minutes)
CRAWLEY TOWN SUBS: Nicky Ajose and Mike Jones off. Sergio Torres and Jonathan Forte on (70 minutes)
On 77 minutes Bishop could and probably should have added to his tally for the afternoon when, after a good ball through from Worrall, his shot was a couple of yards wide when, perhaps, he should have done better and as the game heated up Josh Simpson could have put Crawley back in front after Forte found him free and unmarked on the edge of the area but his shot was well held by Trevor Carson.
The game was now apace and Hopper’s deft header flew wide after Schumacher’s corner as Bury sought their first League win of the season and their first under new gaffer Kevin Blackwell but Torres reminded the Shakers that Crawley still posed a threat as his header flashed just past Carson’s left hand post on 82 minutes.
The Shakers could have snatched the lead in the 86th minute when Tom Hopper just got the ball stuck under his feet when inside the Crawley box and Bishop wanted an extra touch to finish the chance off and Reds defence hacked the ball clear.
In the first minute of injury time Crawley almost snatched a goal after great work by Forte and Nicky Adams lead to Alexander firing narrowly past the Shakers post. Seconds later a seemingly harmless challenge by Schumacher gave Adams a chance to fire in a free kick but it was cleared by Bury’s Man of the Match Mark Hughes, who had an outstanding game at the heart of the Bury defence, but, after a shot by McFazdean had rebounded of the bar the ball wasn’t cleared and as the seconds ticked away the broke to Adams on the right hand side of the box and his cross-cum-shot drifted over the despairing Carson into the far corner for the winning goal with just seconds remaining.
It was a cruel blow to Bury players and fans alike and another heart-breaking result for the Shakers players, many of whom were left flat on their backs at the final whistle and yet more frustration for new boss Blackwell and the Shakers fans as they faced the long haul home from West Sussex.
Final score Crawley Town 3 – 2 Bury FC.
Bury FC: Trevor Carson, Matt Doherty, Joe Skarz, Mark Hughes, Adam Lockwood, Mark Carrington, Steven Schumacher (c), Marcus Marshall, Andy Bishop, Mark Cullen, Tom Hopper.
Subs: Cameron Belford, Shane Byrne, Andrai Jones, David Worrall, Efe Sodje, Peter Sweeney, Craig Jones
Crawley Town: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Kyle McFazdean, Hope Akpan, Gary Alexander, Josh Simpson, Joe Walsh, Nicky Ajose, Nicky Adams, Nathan Byrne, Michael Jones.
Subs: Michel Kuipers, Mark Connolly, Billy Clarke, Sergio Torres, Jonathan Forte, David Hunt, Dannie Bulman
Attendance: 3300 (242 Bury)