The Shakers were going into their first home game of 2014 looking to bounce back from the 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield last weekend. The game had extra meaning for the club and fans alike and emotion poured out of the JD Stadium with a fantastic minute’s applause for supporter Keith Freeman and former player Bobby Collins, who had both sadly passed away during the week.
David Flitcroft gave both new signings Jimmy McNulty and Pablo Mills their debuts. James Burke and Andy Procter were all dropped to the sub bench after starting against Chesterfield. The game also saw the return of skipper Craig Jones who came back from injury to retain the captain’s armband from stand in Tommy Miller.
Bury started the game the much better of the two sides holding the ball up well, dominating possession and playing some attractive one touch football, it was only their efforts on goal that fell short. Albion were forced to remain solid under pressure and the Shakers were unlucky not to be awarded a free kick just outside of the Bury box when Damien McCrory appeared to block off an advancing Tommy Miller.
After getting through Bury's early onslaught Albion came close to opening the scoring when Zander Diamond's header from a Matty Palmer corner was blocked on the line by skipper Craig Jones, with Jensen beaten by the pace, the Shakers skipper managed to scoop the ball clear. The visitors pressed from the rebound which led to the scrambled ball falling to the feet of Billy Kee just on the edge of the box who struck a powerful right footed shot goal that rolled just wide of the left post.
Moments later after a break in midfield, Anton Forrester was given the chance to take the Shakers in front with an effort on the edge of the box, but it was well handled by Albion keeper Dean Lyness.
Zeli Ismail should have put the Brewers in front on the 25th minutes. A well timed pass from the left wing from Jimmy Phillips met the head of Robbie Weir inside the box, but his header fell to the feet of Ismail whose right footed effort flew just over the bar.
Bury responded with some good passing football across the park. Tommy Miller did well to pick out an advancing Ashley Grimes who was sat on the 18 yards line with a perfect long ball. Grimes found room to turn and strike the ball but his shot fell straight into the hands of Lyness after failing to get enough power and leverage behind the shot, but the one touch football displayed by the Shakers lifted the crowd on many occasions throughout the afternoon.
Craig Jones showed his skill with a magnificent run up the left wing leaving Albion's midfield and defence stunned. Jones threaded a long ball into the box which looked to be heading out for a goal-kick but some quick thinking and play from Anton Forrester kept the ball alive, despite the cross from Jones bounce off the bottom of the near post.
The best move of the first half came from Chris Sedgwick who made a spritely advancing run down the wing, manoeuvring past his man to play an expert ball into the middle of the box, but the ball eluded the heads of the advancing Nardiello and Grimes, who came within a few inches of contact before the visitors cleared.
The first half proved to be a very even affair with both sides creating chances at each end and each having bright, dominating spells of play within the half.
Half time: Bury 0 Burton Albion 0
Bury were awarded a corner in the opening minutes of the second-half, which Albion managed to clear and salvage an attack from. Brian Jensen was forced into saving Jimmy Phillip's curling effort. Shortly after the Dane was relieved to see centre half Pablo Mills make an important block on Billy Kees' close range effort.
Bury responded with the best chance of the half, when Anton Forrester was played through on goal by Ashley Grimes inside the box. It was a good effort from Forrester with the ball falling to his weaker left foot, but as he struck the ball it began to rise which saw the ball sail over Lyness' crossbar.
More good one touch passing from Bury saw them spring a strong attack on Burton's back four with Danny Nardiello leading the way, but his final touch of the ball failed to trouble Lyness in between the sticks.
Just past the hour mark Danny Nardiello managed to evade a challenge outside the Burton box to forge a scoring opportunity but as he advanced on goal the angle of opportunity narrowed and keeper Lyness was able to block the effort at his near post.
Danny Nardiello looked to be through on goal after jinking and turn his covering defenders inside out and looked certain to claim his 6th goal of the season for the Shakers, but as he pulled the trigger, Albion defender Phil Edwards was quick to throw in a vital block to prevent Nardiello from earning the Shakers a deserved three points.
Bury had piled pressure on the visitors in the second – half and had held the ball well when needed, remaining solid at the back when pushed by the Albion, but it was not to be for the Shakers on the day in which they had hoped to claim all three points in memory of both Keith and Bobby. The performance and quality of football on offer from the Shakers is certainly the main talking point from supporters on a cold Saturday evening
Final Score: Bury 0 Burton Albion 0
Attendance: 2910 (Burton Albion 319)
Sponsors Man of the Match: Craig Jones