The Shakers begin life in League One with a stalemate after a very unusual end to the game.
After an unbeaten pre-season campaign The Shakers finally got to business with a trip to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium. The club as a whole had devastating news 24 hours before after the confirmation of club stalwart Neville Neville’s passing. As a sign of respect the fans sung his name with pride!
Flitcroft had plenty of options to choose from, and was further boosted with the addition of defender Reece Brown to the ranks this week. New signings Christian Walton, Peter Clarke, Leon Clarke, Tom Pope and Danny Pugh all made their competitive debuts for The Shakers after being named in the starting line-up.
Bury got the game underway and it was Chris Hussey who had the first chance in the opening minutes. A shot across goal from the left wing was held well by former Preston keeper, Thorsten Stuckmann.
The Shakers kept the excellent start up when Danny Mayor picked the ball up on the left, running across the edge of the box he dinked a cross towards the back post, only for Tom Pope to miss with a diving header on the 3rd minute.
It was Paul Dickov’s Donny side that had the next chance of the game a minute later. Harry Forrester got onto a loose pass, running towards the Bury goal his curling shot was held by Walton to prevent any blushes in front of the strong away following.
Bury were sporting their new Blue & Grey away kit for the first time and continued their exciting high-intensity start we have come accustomed to over pre-season when on the 10-minute mark Leon Clarke’s cross in the penalty box was blocked at close range, any penalty appeals were waved away though.
The home side had a glorious chance to take the lead on 18-minutes when Forrester ran clear on the left wing after Nathan Cameron slipped. As he set himself to flash a cross his left foot got a touch, comically falling over in the process as the ball rolled out for a goal kick.
Two-minutes later and Leon Clarke collected the ball in Doncaster’s half, wriggled off a few challenges before curling his shot agonisingly wide of the right post.
Pope then had a header clawed away at the back post after another well worked attacking move on the left. Stuckmann saved the home side again as Soares found Clarke in the box from the right; his scuffed effort wasn’t strong enough. Seconds later and Doncaster fired well wide of the goal after being put clean through on 25-minutes.
The next notable effort came 10-minutes later as Walton came out once again to catch a dangerous cross from Richard Chaplow after a spell of pressure from The Rovers.
The game then came to halt for a few minutes after Danny Mayor was on the end of a nasty collision from James Coppinger. Both got back up and picked up where they left from after some treatment.
Moments later and Walton miss-hit a punch as he charged towards the left-hand side of his box. Luckily the shot was taken from a narrow angle as it swerved behind the goal five minutes before time.
Chris Hussey’s cutback cross from the left was hit well over by Clarke just before the break, which was probably the best chance of the half to open the scoring.
HALF-TIME: DONCASTER ROVERS 0-0 THE SHAKERS
The glorious sun continued well into the second-half, as both sides remained unchanged after the break. After a brief spell of pressure from Doncaster, Clarke had another chance to score. Mayor ran with the ball, releasing Leon, whose chip shot was pushed away for a corner. From that another shot was saved on the line, before Walton caught another effort on the counter attack from Forrester.
On 48-minutes Clarke’s thunderous left-foot shot in the box cannoned off the crossbar, as Bury came the closest to scoring.
Both teams continued to attack with pace, keeping the fans on the edge of their seat as they traded blows. Forrester then appealed for a penalty on 53-minutes, but the referee was in an excellent position to see Cameron didn’t touch the winger.
David Flitcroft made his first changes of the game on 55-minutes, Pope and Pugh coming off for Mellis and Tutte. Meaning Leon Clarke was the lone striker.
On the hour mark Clarke flashed his header just wide after Hussey whipped in a cross from the left.
As another mark of respect for Neville Neville, the Bury fans clapped and sung his name for 60-seconds on 65-minutes as Doncaster made their first change soon after.
Leon Clarke received the first caution of the game for repeated encroachment and seconds later Jacob Mellis picked one up too, his for a late challenge.
Mellis then nearly opened the scoring 15-minutes before the end, Clarke found him unchallenged in the box, as he shot a Doncaster player stuck his leg in the air preventing the goal in acrobatic fashion as Stuckmann punched clear afterwards.
Paul Dickov made his final two substitutions on 82-minutes as they looked to step it up a gear. Two successive penalty appeals were then waved away for the home side as the Donny fans roared in frustration. The ball was in the back of Walton’s net moments later, only for it to be waved offside to round off a hectic five-minute spell.
As Bury got back on the ball Clarke’s volleyed effort at the back post bounced off Stuckmann’s nearside post after some great work by Hussey and Mayor on the left.
A moment of craziness happened in stoppage time as Doncaster’s Forrester scored after he was meant to kick the ball back to Walton in sporting behaviour due to the Bury keeper kicking the ball out for Cameron who was injured.
The home side then let Leon Clarke, who had been terrific throughout, walk the ball into the net from the kick-off to equalise after the referee had lengthy discussions with all involved. A sentiment that was applauded and appreciated by The Shakers after Dickov insisted that should happen as soon as the first goal was scored from the halfway line.
FULL-TIME: DONCASTER ROVERS 1-1 THE SHAKERS
After a heated affair that had plenty of attacking football, it was a great spectacle for all who attended and it looks like it’s going to be a great season for Bury after performing well against a strong outfit.
Next up for The Shakers is another away trip on Tuesday night (11th) to Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup First Round (7:45pm KO).
STARTING LINEUP: C. Walton (GK), J. Riley, C. Hussey, P. Clarke, K. Etuhu, L. Clarke, D. Mayor, T. Pope (OFF 55’), T. Soaes, D. Pugh (OFF 55’), N. Cameron (C).
BENCH: A. Tutte (ON 55’), H. Hope, J. Mellis (ON 55’), C. Sedgwick, R. Lainton (GK), D. Rose, R. Brown.
BOOKINGS: L. Clarke (72’), J. Mellis (73’).
REFEREE: E. Ilderton.
ATTENDANCE: 6,429 (1,101 Shakers fans)
Report by Michael Brown