Plenty of positives, but Shakers bow out of the Capital One Cup
The Shakers met Middlesbrough at Gigg Lane for the first time since December 1997 and for the first time in the League Cup since 1975 when they met in the old Football League Division One (now the Championship) and after a fairly traumatic week during which manager Richie Barker departed for the South Coast and the Crawley Town job saw the Shakers Assistant Manager Peter Shirtliff and Coach Ben Futcher taking charge of the team whilst the Board of Directors search for a new manager.
Watched by more Scouts than an Annual Jamboree and host of potential new managers from the stands including Jamie Hoyland, David Unsworth, Alan Stubbs and Dean Kiely amongst others it was Boro’, roared on by well over 1000 travelling fans who got the game under way.
The first real chance of the game came on two minutes when Andy Bishop burst through to get onto a pass from Elford-Alliyu but he dithered over the shot and Jonathan Woodgate making his second debut for the Boro’ was able to take it off his foot and scramble it clear.
Boro’s first chance arrived when Grant Leadbitter got on the end of a cross from Ledesma on six minutes but his shot from 15 yards was well blocked by the legs of Trevor Carson and cleared by Joe Skarz.
Boro almost got a lucky break on ten minutes when a cross from Carayol was met by Mark Hughes but the big Scouser’s clearance cannoned off Bailey, who knew nothing about it, and into the arms of Carson.
The visitor’s were putting together some decent attacks and a couple of minutes later Ledesma’s shot from the edge of the box was gathered at the second attempt by the Shakers custodian.
Peter Sweeney had the next effort on goal as his shot curled over Steele’s crossbar after good work down the right by Elford-Alliyu and Worrall on 14 minutes.
Bury were getting more and more into the game and Shakers Skipper Steven Schumacher fired just over from twenty yards following more good work down the right wing from Jones and Worrall with the Boro’ back four retreating at pace.
Andrai Jones saved the Shakers bacon on 25 minutes when he turned away a dangerous cross from Justin Hoyte after the former Arsenal man had exchanged passes with Thomson and burst into the box. The resulting corner was cleared but as the ball was played back into the box by Carayol, Marvin Emnes stole in on the near post and really should have converted from inside the six yard area but his fluffed his shot and the Shakers goal remained unbreached.
Mark Carrington was the next Bury player to try his luck, again from distance, but whilst his strike was a good low effort it was wide of the Boro’ goal and immediately after, a hotly disputed free kick in the middle of the park, awarded to the visitors, was taken quickly and Emnes burst through to fire a low drive form twenty five yards past Carson for the opening goal. It was a fine effort by the Dutchman but it was a tough break for the Shakers who were adamant that the free kick should have gone their way but the referee, Mr Russell, waved away their protests.
GOAL: Bury 0 – 1 Middlesbrough (Emnes 32)
The Shakers came close to an equalizer on 42 minutes when, after good control by Andy Bishop on the edge of the area, Peter Sweeney’s goal bound effort was deflected by Woodgate away for a corner and after a bit of head tennis in the box Schumacher tried a spectacular overhead kick but the ball was wide of Jason Steele’s goal.
Half time: Bury 0 – 1 Middlesbrough.
The Shakers got the second half underway but it was Middlesbrough who had the first effort on goal when the tricky Ledesma twisted and turned Hughes before firing in a shot from the edge of the box which Trevor Carson gathered easily.
On 50 minutes Andy Bishop tried his luck from distance and was unlucky to see his effort deflect off Woodgate, away for a corner, with Steele flailing in the visitor’s goal and the big Boro’ keeper was lucky to palm away the resulting corner as Hughes came in to get on the end of it and the danger was cleared by Friend.
In the 54th minute Boro were awarded a free kick on the right hand side, just on the edge of the box, after a foul on Emnes by Schumacher but Ledesma’s curling attempt was woefully high over the bar.
Bury were now beginning to get the measure of their opposition, especially in midfield, where Carrington and Sweeney in particular were becoming influential and they were certainly not looking as outclassed as they had when they met Championship opponents in Birmingham City in pre-season.
However, it was Middlesbrough who increased their lead on the hour when Emmanuel Ledesma, with his final touch of the game, made it 2 – 0 when he tapped home from inside the six yard box after Carson couldn’t hold onto a fierce drive from Emnes.
GOAL: Bury 0 – 2 Middlesbrough. Ledesma (60 mins)
Middlesbrough SUB: Ledesma off. Williams on
The Shakers pulled a goal back almost immediately when Mark Hughes crashed home a towering header from the edge of the six yard box following a Schumacher corner on 62 minutes.
GOAL: Bury 1 – 2 Middlesbrough. Hughes (62 mins)
Bury SUB: Carrington off. Marshall on (63 mins).
The Shakers now looked well up for the fight and despite the dangerous Emnes crashing an effort off Carson’s post, began to search for the equalizer and the Shakers faithful in a crowd of 2964 roared them on and matched their Boro’ counterparts in volume and effort. The caretaker management duo of Shirtliff and Futcher made another attacking change bringing on the returning Mark Cullen, here for a second six month loan spell from Hull City, for the tiring Lateef Elford-Alliyu.
Bury SUB: Elford-Alliyu off. Cullen on (67 mins)
The visitor’s stepped up the pressure and two quick efforts from Hoyte and Leadbitter, on 72 and 73 minutes respectively, were comfortably dealt with by Trevor Carson in the Shakers goal.
The Shakers made their final change of the afternoon on 76 minutes when Lenell John-Lewis replaced Andy Bishop, who’d given Woodgate and Williams a tough game, up front.
Bury SUB: Bishop off. John-Lewis (76 mins)
Mark Cullen’s first effort on goal on 78 minutes was a glorious curling effort from twenty yards which Jason Steele had to fingertip away for a corner, which eventually came to nothing, but the youngster, wearing the number 19 shirt, was unlucky.
On 81 a free kick, five yards out from the edge of the Shakers box was driven high over the bar by the impressive Emnes who, in my opinion, was Boro’s best player on the day and the shakers were still in with a shout...
With a couple of minutes remaining Steven Schumacher came close to levelling the match and forcing extra time when he fired in a trademark thunderbolt free kick from twenty five yards out but it flew just wide of Steele’s left hand post and Tony Mowbray’s men heaved a sigh of relief and it was the Shakers skipper again who curled in another free kick in the dying seconds but Steele clung on to the ball before Sodje could get on the end of it.
In injury time Efe Sodje saw red for what Mr Russell adjudges to have been an elbow on Boro’ sub Luke Williams which will see the big Nigerian miss the first three games of the Shakers League campaign.
SENT OFF: Sodje (Bury). Violent conduct 90+1
There was still time for Boro’s Williams to fire another shot wide of Trevor Carson’s goal but the Shakers exited the field with their heads held high and Mr Russell left to a cacophony of boo’s for some questionable decisions and we finished with a repeat of the 1975 League Cup meeting of Bury 1 – 2 Middlesbrough.
Final Score: Bury 1 Middlesbrough 2
Bury FC: Trevor Carson, Andrai Jones, Joe Skarz, Efetobore Sodje, Mark Hughes, Mark Carrington, David Worrall, Steven Schumacher (c), Peter Sweeney, Andy Bishop, Lateef Elford Alliyu
Subs: Cameron Belford, Phil Picken, Adam Lockwood, Marcus Marshall, Craig Jones, Mark Cullen, Lenell John-Lewis
Middlesbrough FC: Jason Steele, Justin Hoyte, George Friend, Grant Leadbitter, Kevin Thomson, Marvin Emnes, Nicky Bailey, Emmanuel Ledesma, Rhys Williams (c), Mustapha Carayol, Jonathan Woodgate
Subs: Stephen McManus, Andy Halliday, Luke Williams, Curtis Main, Cameron Park, Adam Reach, Conor Ripley
Referee: Mr Mick Russell
Assistants: Mr D Benton and Mr I Hussin
Fourth Offical: Mr I Siddall
Attendance: 2,964 (1,121 visitors)