Friday night at the JD Stadium was a case of the best of friends becoming the best of enemies for the evening with Rochdale’s Keith Hill and his former assistant David Flitcroft coming head to head for the first time since their spell together at Barnsley, in what was the hotly anticipated local derby against high flying rivals Rochdale who would have gone top of Sky Bet League 2 with a win.
It was also a case of Sky Bet League 2 Manager of the Month vs Sky Bet League 2 Player of the Month, with David Flitcroft and Rochdale's on form striker Scott Hogan having been awarded the accolades just hours prior to Kick Off; both were hoping to not fall victim to the dreaded 'Manager/Player of the Month' curse....
The Shakers were left without skipper Craig Jones who suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Cheltenham; Sky Bet League 2 Player of the Month nominee Jim McNulty stepped in to take the armband in his absence.
Bury had the first chance of the game after just 2 minute when Clive Platt found himself on the end of Josh Lillis' block from a free-kick. The former Dale striker fired a right footed shot from close range inside the box, but Lillis was quick to react with a well-timed one handed stop to knock the ball out for the first corner of the game.
Two minutes later, Jamie Allen tested the 'Beast' with a curling effort, after getting on the end of a Joe Rafferty cross into the box. Allen did well to find space to get his shot away, but in the end it was comfortable save from Jensen.
Soon after, Ian Henderson found himself on the end of a Peter Vincenti corner. He fired a sharp header from an unmarked position in the centre of the box but he could only head it over the bar.
On the 17 minute mark Rochdale suffered a major blow when star striker Scott Hogan was replaced by George Donnelly, after limping off with a suspected knee injury that he had sustained earlier in the half.
Almost immediately after the substitution Jamie Allen had the opportunity to take Rochdale in front with a header from the centre of the box, but his effort had too much behind it sending the ball high and wide of Jensen's goal.
Ian Henderson was awarded the first yellow card of the game by Darren Drysdale, for handling the ball inside the Bury box.
With just 2 minutes to go before half – time Rochdale faced a second major blow when Ian Henderson was awarded a second yellow card for what looked to be a push in the Bury half on an advancing Jake Carroll. This meant that for the second time this season the Shakers were left to face a 10 man Rochdale for the remainder of a game.
The best chance of the half fell to Danny Nardiello who fired a scorching effort from distance straight at Rochdale's goal, but his top class effort was evaded by the crossbar much to his dismay.
The first – half had proved to be a very even affair with both sides enjoying a good amount of possession, both having passed the ball around well and whilst remaining solid. But neither side had done enough to create what was evidently lacking from the first half – a goal.
Half – Time: Bury 0 – Rochdale 0
Half – Time Substitution: Tom Soares on for Danny Mayor and Lewis Young replaces Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro.
As with the first – half Bury were the ones who found themselves with the half's opening chance when Pablo Mills was denied by the crossbar after latching onto Chris Sedgwick's free-kick.
Michael Rose came close to taking the visitors in front when Rochdale were awarded a free – kick 20 yards out after Jim McNulty's foul on Jamie Allen, which resulted in a yellow card for the Bury captain. Rose stepped up to take the kick and struck the ball with some power, but to the relief of the Shakers his effort rolled just wide of Jensen's' left post.
5 minutes after the hour mark, Rochdale captain Peter Cavanagh drove a powerful shot from just outside the Bury box, much to the relief of the Shakers the ball rolled just wide of the goal mouth.
Shortly after Lillis was forced into making one of many outstanding late saves, denying substitute Tom Soares with his foot.
Substitution, 70 minutes: Tommy Miller off for former Rochdale striker Ashley Grimes
Danny Nardiello was quick to latch onto the end of a fantastic ball from Clive Platt. Nardiello turned on the ball to make room to take his a close range effort in the centre of the box, but Lillis was quick to react with another exceptional save to tip the ball out to safety.
Brian Jensen was forced into making a similar athletic save with full-back Matt Done's blazing effort from outside the box, which stung the palms of the great Dane.
With 5 minutes to go Nadiello looked to be certain to give the Shakers bragging rights with a fierce shot on the Rochdale goal, but his sterling effort was evaded by a fantastic quick reaction save from Lillis.
The Shakers were presented with the final chance of the game in the dying minutes when Man of the Match Jake Carroll rose highest in the box and headed the ball straight down towards goal, but once again keeper Lillis was on hand to prevent the Shakers from taking all three points.
The game had been an entertaining one with the second – half proving to be much livieler than the first. Bury had enjoyed the majority of possession and had matched Rochdale's every move, but for all their efforts the Shakers were left disappointed that they just didn't have enough in their locker to break the goalless deadlock and beat a strong 10 man Rochdale.
Attendance: 6,295 (2,027)