A hard fought point at the JD Stadium
After a hard fought home win against Wycombe at the weekend, an unchanged Shakers line up faced a promotion chasing Oxford United who were unbeaten away from home, in the re-arranged fixture that was 4 weeks later than the original date of the 4th January.
The first clear opportunity of the half came in the 9th minute when Andrew Tutte made a charging run down the right by line and delivered a perfect ball into the box which found the head of a lingering Anton Forrester, but Forrester was unable to get enough power behind the downward headed effort, never the less the effort forced a good save at the left hand post from keeper Ryan Clarke.
Bury had started the game well. A Pablo Mills cross from up field was brought down well by Akpa Akpro, who managed to create enough room in between two yellow shirts to produce a curling effort on goal. The effort didn't trouble Clarke who scooped the ball up with ease.
Moments later The U's countered when forward Callum O'Dowda almost found the net as he side-footed Deane Smalley's low cross just wide of the near post.
A late challenge by Tom Newey on Craig Jones brought the first yellow card of the game on the 14th minute.
The first-half had been a good tactical performance from the Shakers with them holding possession well and playing large spells of attractive one touch football. It had also proved to be an even affair in terms of clear cut goal opportunities with no real chances having been created by either side.
Just before the break Craig Jones swung in a near perfect ball from the right by line deep into the box at the far post. Anton Forrester was ready to pounce but just couldn't stretch himself far enough to make contact to give the Shakers the lead going into the break.
Half – Time: Bury 0 – Oxford United 0
Bury came back onto the pitch for the second – half full of confidence and ready to take the game by the scruff of the neck by capitalising on their impressive first – half performance.
The opening action of the half came in the form of an early substitution on the 49th minute, which saw Ashley Grimes replaced by Danny Nardiello, making his return from a mild injury.
Bury’s first chance of the second – half fell to Akpa Akpro, after a smart flick through David Hunt's legs had set him free to make an advance on goal. Akpa Akpro took his time before delivering a cross, unfortunately the chance was good but the cross was evaded by the side netting.
Bury's hard work persevered in the 55th minute when Tommy Miller's inch perfect cross into the Oxford box found captain Craig Jones. Oxford keeper Ryan Clarke had attempted intercept the cross, but as he jumped the ball evaded him coming loose and falling to the feet of Jones. Jones wasted no time in smashing the ball home to gain his first goal of the season and take the Shakers in front.
Bury 1 – Oxford United 0 (55 minutes – Craig Jones)
Moments after the elation of going a goal to the good the Shakers joy was brought to an abrupt end when Oxford countered and a curling cross into the box from Nicky Rose connected with a unmarked Josh Ruffles who headed the ball straight down the middle and into the back of the net to bring The U's back into the game.
Bury 1 – Oxford United 1 (57 minutes - Josh Ruffles)
Substitution: James Constable off for David Connolly, Callum O'Dowda off for Dave Kitson (64 minutes)
Bury came close to regaining the lead when Andrew Tutte rolled low cross into the middle of box. Danny Nardiello stepped up and struck the ball with some power. The shot took a deflection off a yellow shirt sending it into the path of Ryan Clarke who managed to claw the deflected shot around the post.
Substitution: Akpa Akpro off for Clive Platt (73 minutes)
Substitution: Tom Soares off for Anton Forrester (79 minutes)
Andrew Tutte came close to bagging his first goal for the Shakers 10 minutes before full – time, after making a good run from deep inside the Oxford half. Tutte lined up the shot from 20 yards out and struck the ball with power. His effort looked to be on target but Clarke was quick off his line to palm Tutte's sterling effort out to safety.
There was a lengthy amount of stoppage added upon the stroke of 90 minutes due to a head injury to Brian Jensen, with referee Graham Horwood deeming 7 minutes an adequate amount of time. Unfortunately for the Shakers nothing was made of the 7 minutes despite plenty of pressure being applied within the final third.
The Shakers may have come away a little frustrated after not having capitalised on their solid performance, but once again they had displayed further progression and had put in another strong and creative performance against Sky Bet League Two high flyers - a well fought point for the Shakers.
Full – Time: Bury 1 – Oxford United 1
Sponsors Man of the Match: Jimmy McNulty
Attendance: 2303 (Visitors 204).