Joe Riley's thunderbolt does the job for Bury
Bury continued to keep the pressure on the automatic promotion places with a 1-0 win against fellow promotion rivals Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday evening.
Joe Riley’s second half 30 yard thunderbolt secured the three points for the Shakers, as well as confirming a place in the SkyBet League Two play-offs.
David Flitcroft made two changes to the side that beat Newport County at the weekend with Joe Riley and Danny Nardiello coming in for Ryan Lowe and Tom Eaves.
The first half was a high tempo affair but didn’t have many clear cut chances for either side. Shrewsbury came close in the 20th minute after Nick Pope spilled a free kick and Mark Ellis got a shot away, but Joe Riley was in the right place at the right time to clear from danger.
Bury’s best chance of the first forty-five minutes came seven minutes later and Riley was involved again. He showed great determination to win the ball off Shrewsbury’s Jermaine Grandison before sending a teasing cross into the six yard area that forced Ellis to head away from only a few yards out.
The second half brought with it more chances as both sides look to take the lead early on. Bobby Grant forced Nick Pope into an early save as he tipped over his effort from 20 yards before Bury took the lead through a goal of the season contender from Joe Riley.
The former Bolton full back received the ball around 30 yards from goal, played it out of his feet with his first touch before hammering the ball into the top corner past the despairing dive of Shrewsbury goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler to lift the roof off the JD Stadium.
Micky Mellon introduced Tyrone Barnett into the game in the 60th minute and he almost had an immediate impact on the game. His presence in the box caused confusion to allow Ellis a chance at the back post but his header trickled across the goal line before being cleared by the Bury defence.
The 4,277 fans at the JD Stadium were being treated to a fantastic game of football and it was Bury who created the next chance of the game as they looked to kill the game off later on. Midfielder Kelvin Etuhu managed to make some room for himself on the edge of the area to get a shot away, only to see his shot flash wide of Leutwiler’s right hand post.
The away side continued to push for an equaliser and thought they had one in the 82nd minute as two former Shakers combined. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro burst down the left hand wing and cut back for Andy Mangan, who side footing the ball into the back of the net. However, the celebrations were cut short as the linesman had his flag up for the ball going out for a goal kick prior to Mangan’s finish and the goal was ruled out.
Five minutes of additional time were indicated at the second half and, once again, Shrewsbury threw bodies forward in an attempt to level the scores with Micky Mellon opting for a 3-2-5 formation. Their attempts were constantly thwarted by the Bury defence, who were excellent all night, before referee Dean Whitestone’s full time whistle sparked jubilant celebrations both on the pitch and in the stands as the three points were confirmed.
The result sees Bury keep the pressure on the top three and confirm a play-off place and David Flitcroft’s side will be looking to close the gap on Saturday as they travel to Fratton Park to take on Portsmouth.