The Shakers ended 2015 with a battling 1-0 defeat to Port Vale, but still had a lot of positives to look back on throughout the year.
The Shakers will go into 2016 knowing that they have made a solid start to their first season back in Sky Bet League One, with a lot to build on in the second half of the season. However, they will still be disappointed to have lost their last game of the year to a hard battling Port Vale side at Vale Park.
David Flitcroft made two changes to the side that travelled to Southend United on Friday 18thDec, with Danny Rose and Tom Soares making way for Tom Pope and Craig Jones.
With a number of injuries in the camp, the Shakers named Youth Team star George Miller on the bench for the first time after the youngster impressed for the under-18s over recent months.
Tom Pope made his first return to Vale Park, after leaving his childhood side in the summer to join the Shakers, with this in mind he was handed the captains armband for the game and was given a rapturous applause by the Port Vale fans.
The game started with the Shakers carving out an early chance within the first minute as Leon Clarke found himself on the edge of the box with a great chance of firing past Jak Alnwick in the Vale net, however the ex-Newcastle United keeper managed to rush out and dispossess Leon before he could cause damage.
Byron Moore had a chance for Vale minutes later when he broke through the Bury defence and blasted a shot onto the crossbar to the disbelieve of the Vale faithful.
The game soon became an end-to-end affair with both teams having plenty of chances to break the deadlock, but they were both unable to turn these chances into goal scoring opportunities.
Port Vale however soon got on top having the better chances to go ahead, but the Shakers’ defence stood tall to deny the Vale wave which soon petered down going into the last 15 minutes of the half.
This gave the Shakers a chance to start pushing their hosts and went very close to an opener on the 31stminute when Craig Jones flicked a cross goal wards which went narrowly wide.
Both teams went into half time on an equal footing with all still to play for.
HALF TIME: PORT VALE 0 – 0 BURY
In an attempt to shake the game up, Vale manager Rob Page made a change at half-time replacing ever present striker Ajay Leitch Smith with ex-Everton younger Sam Kelly taking his place.
The Second Half started with both teams again on an equal par, with neither team really able to carve out a real goal scoring opportunity.
Both sides had early chances from a far with Kelvin Etuhu having a good shot from 20 yards out saved by Jak Alnwick after good play around the box by the Shakers. Michael O’Connor then saw his 20 yard shot calmly claimed by goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann, currently on-loan from Vale rivals Stoke City.
On the 56thminute Port Vale nearly went 1-0 up as Richard Duffy looked to have slipped a Michael O’Connor corner just over the line before Daniel Bachmann could smother it, however the linesman ruled that the ball had not gone over the line and play carried on.
This gave Port Vale a verve to their play which resulted in the opener for Vale on the 58thminute with Sam Kelly scoring an excellent goal after skipping past a number of Bury players and smashing the ball into the back of the net. 1-0.
David Flitcroft soon opted for a double change with Danny Rose and Reece Brown coming on for Tom Pope and Danny Pugh.
Both teams kept trying to penetrate their respective final thirds, however with no luck. David Flitcroft soon made Bury’s last change of the game on the 71stminute with youngster Anthony Dudley coming on for Joe Riley.
These changes gave the Shakers more drive gaining more of the possession, but still unable to really test the opposition goalkeeper, although they did have several good chances to do so. The best came from a Chris Hussey corner with a header goal wards from a crowd of players going just over the crossbar.
Seven minutes of added time were given, allowing the Shakers plenty of time to gain at least a point from the game, however Port Vale stayed strong at the back and the whistle was soon blown with the Shakers heading back to Bury with nothing to show for the amount of chances they created.
FULL-TIME: PORT VALE 1 – 0 BURY
Next-up for the Shakers is an away trip to the Lancastrian coast to take on Fleetwood Town on Saturday 2ndJanuary 2016, 3pm kick-off.