A game of two halves in the Gigg Lane sun
Some of the bigger clubs go abroad looking for the kind of weather that hovered above Gigg Lane this afternoon. A very hot afternoon, bright sunshine and the type of climate that doesn’t usually bring the football flowing.
This though was a game of two halves – with the Shakers showing plenty to impress in the opening half, and on into the first 15 minutes of the second half – though the usual pre-season introduction of substitutes by the fistful killed the game for Bury, and brought the game to the visitors.
The game almost started with the worst possible scenario for trialist Mark Randall. A slip on the ball halfway inside the Bury half allowed Joe Ironside to take the ball, he burst forward with pace, played a quick one-two before firing the ball at goal, though thankfully Nathan Cameron was on hand to throw his body at the ball and block
Bury’s first chance came on 3 minutes when a good ball into the middle released Harrad; he took a touch but could not put the ball beyond keeper Mark Howard. Howard’s touch saw the ball spill loose and Ashley Grimes had to turn quickly but in doing so, could not get enough power behind his shot and the united keeper recovered quickly to clear.
Shakers produced a string of excellent passes two minutes later, with Harrad and Grimes in particular linking up well. Harrad fizzed the ball wide to Euan Holden who delivered a stunning in-swinging ball high into the box, and Mark Randall swung for the spectacular volley but missed the ball completely allowing the visitors to smash the ball clear.
A 13th minute foul by Euan Holden on a charging Michael Doyle brought a free kick ten yards outside the Shakers area, though Danny Higginbotham’s shot from the free kick curled around the Bury wall and post into safety.
Bury took the lead on 20 minutes when Shaun Harrad collected the ball centrally, he took the ball across the centre half and fired a crisp shot across keeper Howard and into the back of the net with a crisp neat finish.
GOAL: Bury 1 Sheff United 0 (Harrad 20)
Shaun Harrad and Ashley Grimes look lively and began stringing some excellent passes and quick flicks between each other, though a half chance on 26 minutes produced one touch too many, with Grimes lunging to control the ball and handing the visitors a free kick on the edge of their own area.
Shaun Harrad produced a stunning flick on the half hour to release the ball to Ashley Grimes, his quick pass wide to Chippendale brought an excellent cross into the box, though this time just too high for a leaping Craig Jones to get underneath.
Harrad then attempted to re-create his goal on 40 minutes, by dragging the ball across the centre half and shooting for the opposite corner, though this time he failed to find the target and pushed his effort wide of the mark.
Another chance came just before the break with Harrad and Grimes again combining well. Harrad took the shot but the effort was blocked, if flew high back towards him and the overhead kick, although on target, was easily saved by keeper Howard.
Half time: Bury 1 Sheffield United 0
Bury started the second period with trialist Keeper Andrea Guatelli, his second trial spell with Bury after spending last summer at Gigg Lane, replacing new addition Rob Lainton.
Sheff United keeper Mark Howard made a terrible mistake with the first half just seconds old. A loose kick out fell straight to Ashley Grimes, though his returned shot on goal flew wide of the mark.
The game changed on the hour with Sheffield United making nine changes and Bury making six changes. The new look for both sides seemed to change the shift in power as the Blades stepped up looking to get back in the game.
Within minutes of getting going again, a John Rooney shot on goal was pushed away for a Bury corner. Aiden Chippendale’s delivery looked to be sailing for the top opposite corner until keeper Howard stretched to collect.
Within second the visitors were level. McDonald delivered a deep cross from the right and JOHNS would have scored with his first ever Blades touch had his original effort not been cleared off the line by Hinds Jasper Johns managed to poke home
Goal: Bury 1 Sheffield United 1 (Johns 61)
A 68th minute Chippendale short corner played to Chris Sedgwick brought a floated delivery to the back post. Tom Soares did manage to connect with the delivery but his effort looped inches over the crossbar.
Sheff United took the lead on 78 minutes. McDonald's accurate ball to the right found Murphy, who got the better of Shane Byrne and chipped over the advancing goalkeeper, although he was helped by a large deflection.
Goal: Bury 1 Sheffield United 2 (Murphy 78)
The visitors made it three just before the final whistle. Williams delivered a deep cross from the left and Stephen McGinn sidefooted a volley into the top corner, giving Bury substitute goalkeeper Guatelli little chance
Goal: Bury 1 Sheffield United 3 (McGinn 88)
Final Score: Bury 1 Sheffield United 3
Bury: 1. Rob Lainton, 2. Clevid Dikamona (Trialist), 3. Gareth Roberts, 4. Euan Holden, 5. Richard Hinds (Trialist), 6. Nathan Cameron, 7. Craig Jones, 8. Mark Randall (Trialist), 9. Shaun Harrad, 10. Ashley Grimes, 11. Aiden Chippendale (Trialist)
Substitutes: 12. Adam Lockwood, 14. Chris Sedgwick, 15. Andy Procter, 16. John Rooney, 17. Shane Byrne, 18. Tom Pratt, 19. Tom Soares, 20. Andrea Guatelli (Trialist)
Sheffield United: 1. Mark Howard, 4. Danny Higginbotham, 6. Matt Hill, 8. Michael Doyle, 10. Joe Ironside, 11. Febian Brandy, 16. Callum McFadzean, 18. Sean McGinty, 20. Elliott Whitehouse, 21. Terry Kennedy, 22. Jahmal Smith
Substitutes: 13. George Willis, 2. Darryl Westlake, 3. Marcus Williams, 5. Harry Maguire, 7. Ryan Flynn, 9. Chris Porter, 12. Jamie Murphy, 14. Stephen McMinn, 15. Neill Collins, 17. Kevin McDonald, 19. Jasper Johns
Referee: Mr Paul Tierney
Assistant Referee’s: Mr A Clayton & Mr J Mainwaring
Fourth Official: Mr N Gibbons
Gate: 1,044 (230)