A Valentine’s Day point against a stubborn MK Dons side may, in the coming weeks, become an important point as the Shakers claimed a share of the spoils and, importantly, kept a second consecutive clean sheet.
The game, itself, was hardly an entertaining affair but, with the Shakers embroiled in the EFL Sky Bet
League One relegation scrap, it’s the time of the season where the entertaining type of football is forgotten and results matter, no matter how they come.
With one defeat in the last five games, Chris Brass elected to retain the three centre halves with the wingback system. Some will call it five at the back, others will say its good use of wingbacks – no matter what you call it, four points from two games is a decent return for any side.
It was the visitors who had the first half chance of the game with ten minutes gone, an under-hit back pass to ‘keeper Joe Murphy, from a returning Andy Tutte, was seized upon by Kieran Agard, after Tutte had attempted to dribble to ball clear of danger, thankfully, Murphy’s reaction was a fraction quicker than Agard and he managed to smash the ball clear, though he took a painful boot to the shin in the process.
Bury got the ball into the MK Dons box some five minutes later when Tom Pope
collected the ball deep in the corner and, after holding off his man, managed to feed the ball to Taylor Moore further up the wing. A quick interchange of passes involving four players saw the ball return to Moore, who whipped in a curling effort to the near post that Dons ‘keeper Martin managed to collect as James Vaughan charged in.
Moments later a quick burst forward, from Jacob Mellis
, almost paid off for the Shakers, a quick one-two pass with James Vaughan had the ball back at the feet of Mellis, but his quick shot on goal drifted harmlessly across the face of goal and away for a goal kick.
MK Dons created the next effort with the ball being passed across the park, involving three players, before full back George Baldock collected the ball some 20 yards out. With the goal his only target, his weak shot drifted well off target and out for a Bury goal kick.
Half time: Bury 0 – 0 MK Dons
Bury were forced to remove James Vaughan from the game at half time. Vaughan had pulled up clutching the back of his thigh some 10 minutes before the break and George Miller
replaced the Shakers leading scorer as the side emerged for the second half. It later emerged that Vaughan was feeling cramped and was only replaced as a preventative measure.
Miller added a bit of energy to the front of the Shakers line up and was soon chasing balls across and down the field and one such through ball, from Leigh, saw Miller chase the ball to the touchline, with defenders in pursuit. The long ball forward fell perfectly for the young Shakers striker but his shot, from a very acute angle, was easily parried away by visiting ‘keeper David Martin.
Bury stepped up the pace for a spell on the hour and another Shakers raid saw Leigh delivering a curling ball into the MK Dons box, but the cross was just a fraction too high as it dropped for Tom Pope
and all he could do, whilst under pressure from the Dons defence, was to head the ball high over Martin’s cross bar.
With both sides closing each other down quickly, and neither side allowed time on the ball, there seemed to be a lot of ‘cancelling each other out’ during the game, which although it failed to entertain the 2,005 crowd, did result in both sides having limited chances on goal.
One such chance, which fell for MK Dons late on in the second half when they managed to string a collection of passes together before eventually finding Stuart O’Keefe whose quick snap shot from the edge of the box was no match though for the Shakers ‘keeper Joe Murphy – who was probably the Bury Man of the Match - and his quick dive saw the ball in safe hands.
O’Keefe could, and probably should, have claimed all three points late in the game. A clever run to the bye-line from Barnes saw him cut the ball back to O’Keefe, who was standing, unmarked, on the penalty spot, but he chose to place the ball rather than put his foot through it and, thankfully for the Shakers, his shot rose high over the crossbar and out of play for a goal kick.
Though it was a game with few, real, clear cut chances, a clean sheet and a point – that could prove to be extremely valuable later in the season, was claimed by the Shakers who will now concentrate their efforts on Chesterfield, over at the ProAct Stadium on Saturday – the next big game for Bury.
Final Score: Bury 0 MK Dons 0
Attendance: 2,005 (113)
Bury: J Murphy, A Kay, C Burgess, G Leigh, T Moore, L Barnett, A Tutte, S Burgess (J Pennant, 70),
J Mellis, J Vaughan (G Miller, 45), T Pope (R Lowe, 79)
Subs not used: H Hope, S Deslandes, T Beadling, R Lainton
MK Dons: D Martin, P Downing, G Williams, B Tilney, G Baldock, S O'Keefe, H Barnes, C Aneke (D Powell, 82), E Upson, D Bowditch, K Agard (M Ngombo, 74)
Subs not used: G Rasulo, R Muirhead, L Nicholls, B Thomas-Asante, C Brittain