The Shakers suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Mansfield Town as CJ Hamilton and Tyler Walker’s second half goals were enough to leave the Shakers going home with nothing from the Boxing Day fixture, despite a late goal by Jay O’Shea from the penalty spot.
Ryan Lowe made five changes to his side that beat Tranmere Rovers 2-1 at the weekend, as Adams, Moore, McFadzean, Danns, and Maynard had to settle for a place on the bench. Adam Thompson took the armband, while Lavery’s recent goalscoring exploits earnt him a place in the starting eleven.
Eoghan O’Connell almost fired the Shakers ahead inside the opening two minutes. A long throw from Miller caused problems for the Mansfield defence as O’Connell’s header was somehow tipped over by Conrad Logan.
Jay O’Shea almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion. He picked the ball up on the halfway line, spotting Logan off his line. The midfielder looked to chip the ball over the Mansfield ‘keeper from distance, and he wasn’t far off, as Logan just got a hand to the ball to ensure it didn’t find the back of the net.
The resulting corner saw a ball played into O’Connell, who dummied the ball to Styles who saw a low effort blocked, allowing the hosts to clear the danger.
Mellis fashioned the first proper chance for the hosts. A short corner saw him drive towards the box, before seeing a powerful strike blocked by the Bury defence.
A cross from the right-hand-side gave Mal Benning an excellent opportunity to fire the home side ahead. His glancing header was wide of the mark as he needed more of a connection to trouble Murphy.
A counter-attack was threatening the Bury backline; a heroic block from Dawson kept the scores level as Neal Bishop couldn’t capitalise on the chance.
Conrad Logan was again called into action as Lavery’s brilliant pressure won the ball back in the area. He laid the ball off to O’Shea, and he almost found the bottom corner of Logan’s net with a low, driven strike.
Joe Murphy had to be on hand to stop Tyler Walker. Jacob Mellis dinked a header across goal to Walker who was thwarted by the Bury shot-stopper, who was quick to react and race off his line.
Jay O’Shea was again close to putting his side in the lead. He found space in the Mansfield box, before looking to rifle a strike into the roof of the net; unfortunately, the attempt was over the bar and not testing Logan.
A smart move from the home side had them in behind on the right-hand side. White looked to slip the ball across goal, but a brilliant block from Adam Thompson intercepted the pass. The ball rebounded to White who hit the side netting with his follow-up strike.
The home side had the Shakers on the back foot towards the end of the opening period. A string of defensive blocks and last-ditch interceptions kept the scores level as both sides were still looking for the breakthrough.
Murphy’s reactions and concentration were vital to the Shakers. A long-range effort deflected through to CJ Hamilton who looked to slot the ball beyond the Bury ‘keeper, thankfully though he was able to close the angle down quick enough to keep Hamilton at bay.
Jacob Mellis almost broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time. His strike from 30-yards was fierce, but just wide of the post as the half drew to a close.
HALF-TIME: Mansfield Town 0-0 Bury
It was almost a perfect start for the hosts as it took O’Connell flicking the ball onto the bar and then Murphy clawing the ball away to deny Mansfield, as the hosts continued to threaten the Bury goal.
O’Connell was again involved in important defensive work. He raced back to intercept a dangerous cross from the left, poking the ball behind and away from the Bury goal.
The hosts were looking very dangerous after the break. A whipped delivery from the right by Bishop was straight across the face of goal. Thankfully for the Shakers, no one made a connection as the ball travelled to the opposite side of the pitch.
Just after the hour mark, the hosts were ahead. A fantastic dinked ball from Mellis took the Bury defence out of the game. CJ Hamilton was found, and although Murphy kept his first effort out, the forward headed the rebound into an open net.
Not for the first time during the match, Murphy had to be alert to stop Hamilton. The forward was played in down the left before the Bury ‘keeper was there to block the shot.
The hosts continued to get shots away at Murphy. A quick double save to deny Walker then Rose kept the deficit to just the one goal as the final 10 minutes were approaching.
The hosts doubled their advantage in the 79th minute as Tyler Walker converted a spot-kick, sending Murphy the wrong way. Sweeney won the penalty for Mansfield after being pulled down in the box as a corner came in.
Will Atkinson almost made an instant impact for Mansfield. He was played in one-on-one with Murphy. He tried to lift his effort beyond the ‘keeper, but his effort was off target.
Nicky Maynard won a late penalty for the Shakers as he was brought down in the box by Matt Preston. Jay O’Shea stepped up and slotted the ball home for a consolation goal for Bury.
FULL-TIME: Mansfield 2-1 Bury
Mansfield Town: Logan (GK), White, Benning, Preston, Pearce (C), Bishop, Mellis (85’ Atkinson), Sweeney, Walker (88’ Graham), Elsnik (69’ Rose), Hamilton
Unused Subs: Kean (GK), Khan, Butcher, Law
Bury: Murphy (GK), Miller (52’ Adams), Stokes, Aimson, Thompson (C), O’Connell, Dawson (58’ Danns), Styles (71’ Maynard), Telford, O’Shea, Lavery
Unused Subs: Hudson (GK), Dagnall, Moore, McFadzean
Attendance: 4959 with 516 Shakers making the trip, thanks for your brilliant support this afternoon.