Bury put on a brilliant tactical masterclass with a hard fought 3-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Bury beat Sheffield United 3-1 at Bramall Lane to ensure their unbeaten September continued three games in. The Shakers went ahead through Tom Pope in the second half, the Blades got a goal back from the penalty spot, but the Shakers grabbed the lead again with a wonder goal by Joe Riley and Leon Clarke sealed the win in extra time.
Going into the match Bury Manager David Flitcroft named an unchanged team from last week’s win over Walsall, which was the Shakers’ first three points of the season. Flitcroft was also buoyed by the return of striker Danny Rose, who started on the bench after sitting out the last match.
After postponing last week’s match against Colchester United due to having a number of international call-ups, the Blades made one change from their 2-0 win over Swindon Town. Highly rated youngster Che Adams sat out the match after travelling with the England under-20s squad, with Martyn Woolford taking his place in the starting XI.
The game started well with both teams looking to attack, however the Blades had the first chance of the game with Billy Sharp whipping the ball in from the right, with Bury ‘keeper Rob Lainton doing well to get up high and stop the threat.
The game sparked to life on the 15th minute when Billy Sharp whipped another cross in to the Bury box this time from the left, but missed all United players and was headed away for a corner.
The corner resulted in Rob Lainton having to make a brilliant reaction save to deny Connor Sammon a headed opener.
On the 19th minute the Shakers had their first proper chance of the game when Joe Riley put a lovely long pass into the path of Leon Clarke in the box, however he couldn’t quite control it.
The Blades were given a free-kick after Craig Jones brought down Jay McEveley just outside the box, however Louis Reed smashed it over the bar.
The game turned feisty with several tackles flying in from both sides, Andrew Tutte became a casualty of this on the 38th minute when he was brought down close to the United box, being immediately replaced by Reece Brown.
Both teams went in at half-time tied at 0-0, with Sheffield United looking the more likely to score. Although credit to the Bury defence who did magnificently to calmly deal with everything United threw at them.
HALF-TIME: SHEFFIELD UNITED 0-0 THE SHAKERS
The Shakers got us underway in the second half, shooting towards the 868 Bury fans who made the trip to Bramall Lane.
Sheffield United started the half strongly with the Shakers forced to defend straight away, Rob Lainton made two excellent saves to deny firstly Connor Sammon who was one-on-one with the ‘keeper and then Martyn Woolford from outside the box.
David Flitcroft opted for a change in formation on the 54th minute with Tom Pope coming on for Craig Jones to give the Shakers two up front with a diamond in midfield.
This seemed to work straight away with Leon Clarke forcing a corner for Bury, which Chris Hussey whipped in from the left, but it was cleared away by United.
The Blades had a brilliant chance to put themselves ahead on the 60th minute when Kieran Freeman put a cross in to the box from the right, Billy Sharp found himself in space but his shot went sailing over the bar.
61 mins - GOAL - At the other end Danny Mayor had a shot blocked which fell nicely to substitute Tom Pope who calmly placed it past Mark Howard to put the Shakers ahead. 1-0.
Sheffield United looked to get back into the game straight away with two good headers both going over the bar, but Bury looked very strong defensively dealing with everything put to them with ease.
Leon Clarke had a chance after springing the offside trap to run free and looked to place a shot past Howard, but the keeper did brilliant to stick a foot out and keep the ball out of the net.
Jacob Mellis - who is still looking for full fitness after missing most of the Shakers’ pre-season - was replaced on the 69th minute by Danny Pugh.
72 mins – GOAL - Sheffield United were given a chance to get back into the game on the 72nd minute when Kieran Wallace was brought down in the box and a penalty was given. Billy Sharp converted from the spot to make it 1-1.
The equaliser gave the Blades a new found energy and they started probing the Shakers with several half chances, however Bury weathered the storm and forced more possession for themselves.
83 mins – GOAL – A brilliant individual effort by Joe Riley put the Shakers ahead for the second time of the game. The full-back raced forward from the back and placed a shot from 30 yards out into the net to make it 2-1 to the Shakers.
With tensions running high, a scuffle ensued between both teams on the 85th minute with United striker Billy Sharp getting booked for his part in it.
90 + 3 mins – GOAL - Five minutes of extra time were given with Sheffield United working tirelessly to grab the equaliser and get at least a point from the game. However, Leon Clarke chipped Mark Howard to make sure Bury went away with the three points.
This goal gave the Shakers a brilliant 3-1 win against a side that could have gone top of the League with a win today, but David Flitcroft’s strength in depth throughout the squad helped his side change their tactics halfway through the match to ensure the 3 points.
FULL-TIME: SHEFFIELD UNITED 1-3 THE SHAKERS
Next up for The Shakers is another tough test at home to striker Tom Pope’s old employees and hometown club, Port Vale, next Saturday.
STARTING LINEUP: Rob Lainton, Joe Riley, Chris Hussey, Andrew Tutte (OFF – 38), Peter Clarke, Jacob Mellis (OFF -69), Leon Clarke, Danny Mayor, Craig Jones">Craig Jones (OFF -54), Tom Soares, Nathan Cameron (c)
BENCH: Tom Pope (ON -54), Danny Pugh (ON – 69), Anthony Dudley, Danny Rose, Jack Ruddy, Matty Foulds, Reece Brown (ON – 38)
BURY BOOKINGS: Tom Soares (5), Danny Mayor (45), Reece Brown (71),
REFEREE: Mr D Webb (Lancashire).
ATTENDANCE: 20,708 (868 Shakers Fans).