The Shakers maybe lacking in numbers with only four players on the bench at StadiumMK, but they certainly showed no lack of passion or desire as they clawed their way back into the game, and could have, maybe should have, taken all three points with a superb performance.
Bury’s afternoon started some six minutes into the game. A foul on Izale Mcleod by Efe Sodje brought an obvious free kick deep in the Shakers half, but the Bury defence quickly broke down the attacking free kick and moved the ball forward quickly.
A Steven Schumacher cross from the middle of the MK Dons half found Tom Soares out wide. He did well in taking the ball and moving it into the corner, but his cross into the box drifted harmlessly out of play.
Moments later, Ethan Ebanks-Landell delivered a peach of a ball into the corner of the box for Lenell John-Lewis, again the Shakers striker took the ball superbly but his cross into the box was lacking, however he was to get a second chance as the clearance by the home defence was lacking in quality and it rolled back to John-Lewis. This time a better cross was pushed away for the first in a succession of Bury corners.
From a Joe Skarz corner, the ball found the head of Tom Soares at the far post, but his looping ball back into the middle saw Zac Thompson foul Adam Chicksen, giving the home side the advantage.
A long Trevor Carson goal kick on 11 minutes was well flicked on by Ebanks-Landell to find the right foot of John-Lewis on the corner of the MK box, his first time shot although appeared to be on target, took a tight deflection and rolled out of play for another Bury corner. MK Dons quickly broke down the corner and moved the ball forward at pace, only for Mark Hughes to fire a crisp back pass back to Carson. With McLeod bearing down the Shakers keeper was forced to get rid of the ball quickly by smashing it out of play.
MK Dons took the lead on 14 minutes when Den Bowditch was given the room to bring the ball down and shoot at goal from outside the area; his crisp drive went under a diving Trevor Carson and flew into the back of the Shakers goal.
GOAL: MK Dons 1 Bury 0 (Bowditch 14)
Bury restarted the game and within 30 seconds Zac Thompson had taken a shot on goal, though his effort went straight at keeper David Martin. The shot lacked that pace and direction allowing for an easy save.
A Ryan Harley shot on 18 minutes, again from outside the box was similar to Thompson’s effort. Though struck more powerfully, his effort produced a good save from Carson.
Bury had a good shout for a penalty on 19 minutes when John-Lewis jumped for the ball with the MK Dons keeper. With David Martin dragging John-Lewis down by the neck, the 224 Bury fans waited for the expected penalty; however referee Fred Graham ruled the decision against the Bury striker and awarded an MK Dons free kick.
Former Shaker Ryan Lowe laid the ball off to strike partner McLeod on 20 minutes, and his shot from just inside the area was again well stopped by Trevor Carson. Moments later another quick succession of corners saw Bury test the home defence.
Bury’s best chance to get back into the game came on 25 minutes when a Tom Hopper cross fell to Steve Schumacher on the six yard line. Although stretching, he still managed to divert the goal towards goal – though his effort lacked power, it still took Shaun Williams to glance the ball away from the target and out for another Bury corner.
From the resulting deep Joe Skarz corner, Ebanks-Landell looped a header towards Efe Sodje. He rose above the MK Dons defence and powered a header on target that keeper Martin somehow tipped over the bar for another Bury corner.
MK’s Dean Bowditch collected the first yellow card of the afternoon on 32 minutes when he burst into the Bury box, with several Bury players looking to make a challenge, Bowditch suddenly crumpled to the floor – bringing referee graham rushing into the box with yellow card at the ready.
A robust Steven Schumacher challenge on 34 minutes saw Bury raise their game as they sought a way back into the game. Schumacher took the ball forward and drove at goal, but his effort lacked both power and direction.
Moments later Lenell John-Lewis stood on the edge of the box, waiting for a ball to drop that he looked to volley at goal, but as he pulled the trigger, Dons skipper Dean Lewington – making his 400th appearance for the club, stole the ball away, making John-Lewis look slightly comical as he kicked air.
Mark Hughes was brought into action moments later by blocking a Dean Powell shot on the line, before Adam Chicksen fired a crisp shot at goal that was again well held by Trevor Carson. Seconds later Izale McLeod had their best chance to double the lead but could only fire his effort onto the post.
Half time: MK Dons 1 Bury 0
The second period started brightly for the home side with McLeod doing everything correctly – but put the ball in the back of the net. His shot when it came was extremely wide of the target and looked like it might damage the corner flag.
Craig Jones replaced Tom Hopper on 54 minutes, though the change looked enforced rather than a tactical move.
Lenell John-Lewis continued to annoy the home defence and won two free kicks within a few minutes, though both deliveries into the box could have been better as the home defence cleared both deliveries.
Daniel Powell received another yellow card on 65 minutes. As the Shakers broke down an MK Dons corner, Zac Thompson sprinted with the ball and looked to counter the home move, but a cynical trip from Powell killed the chance dead.
Bury did however get back into the game on 66 minutes. From the free kick, Carson delivered the ball long into the MK Dons box. Steven Schumacher played a quick one two with Tom Soares, and with his back to goal he took the ball on his chest, swivelled and fired a stunning volley into the back of the MK Dons net to make it all square.
GOAL: MK Dons 1 Bury 1 (Schumacher 66)
Moments later, MK Dons should have restored their lead. Izale McLeod collected the ball on the six yard line. With the goal gaping and the home fans expecting the ball in the back of the net, he somehow failed to connect with the ball, allowing Sodje to smash the ball down the field.
Bury could have won the game on 72 minutes, or rather Bury should have won the game on 72 minutes. Tom Soares slipped a delightful ball into the home area for Lenell John-Lewis to chase, with only the keeper to beat, he fired the ball at goal, only for Lewington to get a touch. The referee awarded a goal kick, but the Shop later protested that the shot deserved a Bury corner.
David Worrall burst away from his right back position on 75 minutes and stormed into the MK Dons half chasing a good ball from Thompson, he somehow got his shot away, bit his effort drifted well wide of the target.
With minutes of the game remaining, the home side shifted gear and injected some intensity into their game. From passing the ball across their back four, they were suddenly launching balls forward at every opportunity, but the Shakers defence more than matched their efforts.
Bury had another penalty shout turned down deep in injury time, this time for a foul on Craig Jones, but again any protest fell on deaf ears. Finally with the home side looking to launch the ball forward again, the referee brought the afternoon to a close, handing the Shakers a stunning point.
Bury: Trevor Carson, Joe Skarz, David Worrall, Steven Schumacher, Lenell John-Lewis, Efe Sodje, Mark Hughes, Tom Hopper, Zac Thompson, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Tom Soares
Subs: Craig Jones, Mark Carrington, Christian Dibble, Gregg Wylde
MK Dons: David Martin, Dean Lewington, Shaun Williams, Darren Potter, Dean Bowditch, Adam Chicksen, Izale McLeod, Ryan Lowe, Daniel Powell, Ryan Harley, Anthony Kay
Subs: Jon Otsemobor, Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, Gary Mackenzie, Alan Smith, Dele Ali, Giorgio Rasulo, Zeli Ismail
Gate: 7,384 (224)