Bury come from behind, but both teams have to settle for another draw, after a hectic second-half that had plenty of chances.
Bury were back in action at Gigg Lane, this time against fierce local rivals Oldham Athletic. With The Shakers still looking for their first win of the SkyBet League One season, after high-scoring games, and Latics currently unbeaten, the encounter was set to be a great occasion.
David Flitcroft named substitute keeper, Rob Lainton in goal in replace of Walton who wasn’t named in the squad. Danny Rose was brought back into the attack from the start after an energetic performance from the bench against Leicester City. On the bench there was a welcomed return to Ryan Lowe, with young keeper Jack Ruddy named after his trial at Aston Villa and Matty Foulds was included after his excellent second-half performance on Tuesday. Kelvin Etuhu and Leon Clarke remained absent.
Latics’ Darren Kelly named a side that had their captain, Liam Kelly absent due to knee surgery with Jake Cassidy and Brian Wilson also out with injuries. New acquisitions, Mark Yeates and Simonas Stankevicius were included on the bench, with marquee signing David Dunn and last season’s top scorer, Jonathan Forte starting.
The last meeting between the two sides was back in mid-April, 2013 when Oldham took a narrow 1-0 win away from Gigg Lane.
As the game got underway with an electric atmosphere, it was the visitors who had the first chance. David Dunn picked up the ball in midfield on 8-minutes, as he drove forward he played a through-ball to Forte in-between the centre-back pairing of Nathan Cameron and P. Clarke, Rob Lainton was quick off his line though and gathered before the Barbados International could get a shot away.
Oldham’s Timothee Dieng picked up the first booking in the 13thminute of the game after a foul on Danny Rose on the edge. The resulting free kick was deflected just wide as Hussey used his left-foot once again to whip the ball.
A minute later and Tom Soares picked up a yellow for a late challenge on the right wing.
With just short of 2,000 fans cheering on the Latics, they took the lead on the 24thminute through Lee Croft. Jonathan Forte, who got free on the left wing crossed the ball towards the back post and the former Norwich City player obliged with an effort that trickled into the net after the finest of touches from a Bury player.
With 10-minutes to go before the break, Bury had their first real spell of pressure on the Oldham goal. A succession of crosses were fed into the box, but the opposition dealt with the pressure, as The Shakers continued to keep possession.
The Shakers had a penalty appeal waved away just before half time as Danny Rose was felled in the box, the referee waving away any appeals.
Three minutes of additional time were indicated as the offside flag was raised again for a Bury attack.
HALF-TIME: THE SHAKERS 0-1 OLDHAM ATHLETIC
As both teams emerged for the second-half neither team made any changes. With Bury kicking off this half they were looking to build on their attacking pressure that grew as the game went on.
Chris Hussey had an early free kick from the right for Bury, but his effort was guided over the net.
On the 50thminute, Joe Riley did well to keep the ball after a strong challenge by Oldham’s Michael Jones, as he ran away his cross from the right was nudged just past the post by Rose, who was under extreme pressure. Flitcroft then made his first change for Bury as Danny Pugh came off for Craig Jones
As the visitors had their turn to put pressure on the goal, The Shakers did well to see out any danger from the frontman Forte. Oldham’s Dieng was then forced off for the third time to treat a bloody head.
Just before the hour mark Bury came so close to levelling things up. Tom Pope did superbly to control the ball on the edge of the box, as he touched into the path of Soares, who unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot that just went past Coleman’s right post.
Last year’s League Two ‘Player of the Year’ Danny Mayor kept up his eye-catching performances for Bury as his shot was blocked in the box, after he tried to guide it into the net.
Oldham’s Michael Jones then wasted a glorious chance to make matters worse, unchallenged in the box on the 62ndminute; his shot flew over the bar after Timothee Dieng did well to find him from the wing.
The Latics stand-in captain, James Wilson, then threw away another Oldham chance a minute later, which he would regret soon after. A poor pass in midfield by Andrew Tutte fell to Forte who ran with the ball and fed it to Wilson, who guided the ball wide as he entered the box.
Finally Bury were level on the 65thminute. Tom Pope squirmed his shot home, after Mayor played a defence-splitting pass to Rose who cut the ball back from the left. A well-worked team goal after the visitors wasted opportunities to extend their lead.
The game came to life again as Tom Soares put another well-taken shot just wide of the Oldham goal, to round off a hectic 10-minute end-to-end attacking spell.
The visitors made their first change 20-minutes before the end; their new signing Mark Yeates came on the left wing for defender, Jonathan Burn, as the Oldham manager looked to get his side back in front.
On 74-minutes Ryan Lowe was brought on for his first appearance of the season in replace of Danny Rose, both getting a terrific response from the Shakers faithful. Whilst Oldham also made a change, bringing on their other new signing, on loan from Leicester, Stankevicius for Forte, both players who were direct swaps in attack.
Going into the final ten minutes, Bury kept searching for that winning goal, sensing they were on top. Tutte’s free kick on the left, after a Connor Brown handball, was held well.
Bury’s Rob Lainton pulled off a terrific close-range save from substitute Simonas Stankevicius, who was gifted the ball on the left, after Oldham’s Lee Croft did well to go past numerous challenges in the box. The visitors made their final change on 83-minutes, Dunn coming off for the ex-Stockport County man, Rhys Turner.
Flitcroft brought on Jacob Mellis for the final few minutes, playing against his former employers, replacing Tutte in the centre of midfield. He immediately had a shot, but a lack of power and contact meant it was an easy take for the Oldham keeper.
With four minutes shown of extra-time, the win was there for the taking for both sides. But both had to settle for another point, which was probably the right result.
FULL-TIME: THE SHAKERS 1-1 OLDHAM ATHLETIC
Next up for The Shakers is a trip up to Accrington Stanley
’s Wham Stadium on Tuesday in the opening round of the ‘Northern Section’ for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
STARTING LINEUP: 26. R. Lainton (GK), 2. J. Riley, 3. C. Hussey, 4. A. Tutte (OFF 87’), 5. P. Clarke, 10. D. Mayor, 11. T. Pope, 19. T. Soares, 22. D. Pugh (OFF 51’), 27. N. Cameron (Capt.), 32. D. Rose (OFF 74’).
BENCH: 34. J. Ruddy (GK), 7. H. Hope, 8. J. Mellis (ON 87’), 12. C. Sedgwick, 14. C. Jones (ON 51’), 15. R. Lowe (ON 74’), 35. M. Foulds.
BURY BOOKINGS: Soares (14’)
BURY MAN OF THE MATCH: Tom Pope
REFEREE: Mr R. East
ATTENDANCE: 5,448 (1,988 Away Fans).
Report by Michael Brown