Defensively sound Shakers take a point and a clean sheet
Bury’s biggest problem thus far has been both boxes, defensive wise and goal scoring wise. Kevin Blackwell has made major strides on correcting one of the problems and the introduction of Ashley Eastham and Stephane Zubar has certainly strengthened the defensive capabilities of his side – however, the attacking side of the game still needs work
Bury, playing in last seasons all black away kit, started slowly on a cold afternoon in Shropshire, though Joe Skarz certainly raised a few eye brows with a second minute hard challenge on Salop’s Jon Taylor. The crunching challenge didn’t bring an expected card, not even a talking too from referee Gibbs, but the home side were awarded a free kick.
A Bury attack on five minutes brought some swift movement down the flank from Worrall and Soares, Steven Schumacher’s clever movement inside the box saw Yado Mambo quickly react and moved to poke the ball away for a Bury corner. Joe Skarz took the resulting corner and whipped in a stunning delivery that looked to be heading into the far corner of the goal, as keeper Weale reacted to the pace on the ball, referee Gibbs suddenly stopped play following a challenge by Tom Soares on the keeper.
Within a minute Bury were causing problems again, and again it appeared to be skipper and leading goal scorer Steven Schumacher crafting himself a good chance? He took the ball into the box, but took just a slightly heavier touch than he wanted, allowing Mambo to poke the ball clear.
Shakers won a succession of two corners on nine minutes. The initial ball into the box from Tom Soares saw Darren Jones head out for a corner. The first – a short corner involving Skarz and Worrall was quickly pushed back out of play, the second delivery from Skarz again brought a good catch from keeper Weale.
Shrewsbury surged forward on 15 minutes though the affective Jon Taylor by taking the ball down the flank, his ball into the Bury box though was easily dealt with by debutant Zubar, whose display impressed many.
The home fans showed their frustration for the first time on 18 minutes when an awful ball from Jones at the back, sailed over every player on the field straight to the feet of Trevor Carson on the edge of the Bury box.
Bury won a free kick on 24 minutes following a foul on John-Lewis. With many expecting Schumacher to just ‘smash’ the usual free kick into the corner, Joe Skarz cleverly curled the ball around the Salop wall and brought an excellent diving save from Chris Weale.
On 30 minutes, John-Lewis took the ball into the corner from a David Worrall pass, his quick turn and cross looking for Nicky Ajose, saw the former Manchester United youngster stretch to head the ball, but he seemed to have left his go go gadget neck at London Road and the ball sailed away to safety.
Bury’s defence looked strong and they easily dealt with a free kick on the half hour with movement and a touch challenge, from the resulting clearance, Bury burst forward with Ajose, before Schumacher fired at goal from distance that unfortunately rose over the bar.
Shrewsbury’s Marvin Morgan battled to win balls and control the ball, but virtually every time he touched the ball he found the diminutive David Worrall snapping away at his feet, and usually winning the ball before clearing.
Half Time: Shrewsbury Town 0 Bury 0
Neither side made any changes at the break, and it was the home side that came out with all guns blazing for a moment or two. A quick delivery into the box from Taylor was easily dealt with by Zubar heading away for a corner. The resulting delivery saw Carson quickly scamper off his line to punch clear, allowing Worrall to burst forward quickly. His quick ball down the field found Ajose who crossed for John-Lewis to head the ball just wide of the target.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell was shown a yellow card for a cynical foul on Marvin Morgan on 57 minutes. As Morgan looked set to burst through, Ebanks-Landell took one for the team with the challenge, though the resulting free kick was quickly cleared by the strong Bury back line.
Andy Bishop replaced Lenell John-Lewis on 64 minutes, and his first touch of the ball almost put the Shakers in front. A Bury corner was dropped onto the edge of the six yard box by Skarz, and Bishop – with his back to goal – produced a good overhead kick that just flashed over the bar.
A foul on Nicky Ajose three minutes later brought a free kick from an acute angle. Schumacher took the free kick and went for power at goal, but his effort had just too much power and flew across the box and out of play.
The closest we came to a goal came moments later when Dave McAllister fired a rasping drive at goal; his shot flew off the crossbar and away to safety. Bury attempted to get the ball forward again by showing their passing prowess, but Schumacher’s final effort on goal lacked power with Weale saving easily.
Stephane Zubar produced another good challenge on Marvin Morgan on 73 minutes to hand the home side a corner. The corner when delivered was half cleared to Taylor and his shot on target brought a first save of the game for Trevor Carson.
Marvin Morgan continued to threaten and burst into the Bury box on 76 minutes, as he was about to pull the trigger, his nemesis struck again – David Worrall produced a game saving challenge to take the ball and set up another Bury attack on goal.
With time running out, another Bury corner pinged into the Shrewsbury box; Ebanks-Landell fired the ball at goal and looked set to celebrate his first goal for the Shakers until McAllister somehow blocked the effort on the line, denying a certain goal.
The final moment of the game came inside the three minutes of injury time, as Ajose burst towards the Shrewsbury box, a challenge from behind had the Bury management screaming and dancing with rage as they expected a penalty. The referee waved play on, though video evidence later showed that although it was a late challenge, it was some distance outside the area.
With plenty of positives to take from the game – the point, the clean sheet, the strong defence just three, Kevin Blackwell heads into next week’s game knowing that a striker is very much wanted at Gigg Lane.
Final Score: Shrewsbury Town 0 Bury 0
Attendance: 4,795 (254)