Dominant shakers return North with nothing to show for their efforts
Ronnie Jepson's caretaker managerial debut ended in disappointment at Portsmouth with the Shakers making the long trip home empty handed after conceding an early goal.
The game saw a return to the first team for Shaun Harrad who had been side-lined over recent weeks and on loan striker Danny Hylton was given his debut for the Shakers to partner Harrad up front. Chris Sedgwick was also making his full league debut for Bury.
Bury had their best chance of the half in the opening minute. Shaun Beeley played a quick cross into the box finding the head of Shaun Harrad but his diving header from the centre of the box was finely saved by Phil Smith.
Portsmouth responded to Bury's threatening start with a quick goal after just the 3rd minute from the game’s first corner. Giant centre-back Bondz N'Gala rose the highest to guide Ricky Holmes' corner into the net to bag his third goal of the season.
Portsmouth 1 – Bury 0
Bury had a penalty shout 25 minutes in when debutant Hylton looked to be brought down by an unfair challenge in the box. The surrounding white shirts were calling for the spot kick but the fourth official deemed no foul play.
Bury looked convincing pushing forward at any opportunity with the likes of Andy Procter and Chris Sedgwick covering a lot of ground.
N'Gala almost found himself going from hero to zero on 28 minutes after a very high late challenge on Danny Hylton but referee Carl Berry only deemed the challenge worthy of a yellow card.
Tom Soares was presented with a good opportunity on 33 minutes when Jordan Mustoe whipped in the ball from the right corner. William Edjenguélé rose from the crowded Portsmouth box and flicked the ball down to the feet of Soares who from 16 yards drove the shot at goal, only to see his effort fly over the bar.
The first-half proved to be a very even affair. Only the early goal from N'Gala was the difference between the two sides. Both Harrad and Soares would have been disappointed to not have had their names on the scoresheet.
Harrad came close to levelling the game on 54 minutes. Chris Sedgwick swung a good ball from the left wing into the box. Harrad stepped up with an excellent diving header from the centre of the box but his shot was evaded by a point blank reaction save by Smith in bottom right corner of goal. The shot would have given the Shakers a well-deserved equaliser.
Hylton was close to bagging a debut goal when he struck a powerful right footed dipping volley on the left of the box but once again the effort was kept out by Smith the keeper.
Portsmouth were hanging on to their short lead in the second-half with Bury continuing to pressurise the Portsmouth back men, in search of the equaliser. Bury had proved to be the dominant force, threatening the Portsmouth goal more than several occasions.
A good cross into the box saw a failed headed attempt by Edjenguélé with the ball floating high over the bar.
Bury looked certain to bag the equaliser when Danny Hylton played a stunning through ball to advancing sub Anton Forrester. Forrester was on course for his 6th goal of the season, with few blue shirts in the box to stop him and with only the goalkeeper he lined up his shot but he knocked the ball wide to the left of the goal.
Portsmouth left the Shakers with their hearts in their mouths with just 2 minutes to go when against the run of play Portsmouth midfielder Jed Wallace's well taken right footed effort bounced off Brian Jensen's right post, but 'the Beast' was quick to his feet cradling the ball to ensure Wallace didn't meet with the rebound.
The last chance of the game fell to Bury in extra-time. Sedgwick played a low cross into the box, sub Danny Mayor managed to get a foot to the ball driving a shot at goal but the shot fell wide of the right post.
As the home management staff let out a huge sigh of relief at claiming three points, the disappointment was shown by all Shakers but the standing ovation from the 497 shakers travelling supporters lifted spirits slightly. Despite taking the game to Pompey, Bury left for the trip North with nothing to show for their sterling efforts.
Attendance 15,434 (497 Shakers)