Shakers suffer defeat at the hand of Millwall
Ryan Lowe’s 200th career goal proved not to be enough for a positive outcome as the Shakers suffered only their fifth home defeat of the season at the hands of play-off pushing Millwall.
David Flitcroft made three changes to the side that lost at Scunthorpe on Tuesday evening. Kelvin Etuhu was serving a one match suspension following his sending off for two yellow cards at Glanford Park, Leon Clarke was out with injury and Dan Gardner was recalled by his parent club Chesterfield on Thursday. In their stead came Ryan Lowe, Tom Pope and Danny Pugh.
A first minute free kick for the visitors, following a foul by Tom Pope, saw ‘keeper Jordan Archer pump the ball forward but it was quickly dealt with, via the head of Peter Clarke, the ball was then quickly fed down the flank for Onyedinma to chase into the corner, but Danny Pugh got there before the Millwall man and fired the ball out for a throw by the corner flag.
Moments later, a Chris Neal goal kick was pushed wide by Ryan Lowe to John O’Sullivan and, following a cleared cross from the on-loan Blackburn Rovers man, the ball fell to Danny Pugh some 30 yards out and he took one touch and fired a fierce drive at goal that stung the palms of Archer in the Lions net but the loose ball fell kindly for Ryan Lowe and his looping cross to the back post was met by his strike partner, Tom Pope, who manged to direct an equally looping header at goal, but it was headed off the line by one of the Millwall defenders before Taylor got his foot under the ball and smashed it back up the park.
Craig Jones was the victim of a robust challenge moments later which allowed Millwall to break forward, at pace, down the flank with Aiden O’Brien. His short pass found Chris Taylor who shot weakly at goal from around 25 yards but it took a deflection on the way through and away for a Millwall corner. Taylor took the resulting corner and, to everyone’s surprise, and with Chris Neal being crowded out on his line, the ball sailed over everyone’s head and nestled into the bottom corner of the Shakers goal to give the visitors an early lead.
Goal: Bury 0 Millwall 1 (Taylor 3)
Referee Stephen Martin brought protests from the Shakers, on seven minutes, when a Chris Hussey free kick, from in front of the Millwall dugout, was flicked on by the head of Clarke, on to a Millwall defender and out for what the Shakers claimed was a corner, however, Mr Martin stunned both players and supporters and gave the visitors a goal kick.
Bury continued to press and worked the ball forward using both flanks and some neat cross-field passes before they eventually found Craig Jones on the right hand flank but his cross to the back post was too close to Lions ‘keeper Archer who leapt to claim the ball under his crossbar.
A high cross into the Millwall box on 13 minutes from Chris Hussey saw John O’Sullivan get enough of a touch to find Ryan Lowe, but the Shakers veteran striker could not get the ball down quick enough for a shot on goal before a defender managed to poke the ball clear.
Millwall should have doubled their lead on 17 minutes when a cross into the box ball found Fred Onyedinma and his first time shot looked to have beaten Chris Neal for pace but, thankfully, a headed clearance off the line from Peter Clarke saw the Shakers clear the ball from danger.
The next half chance fell to the Shakers when Craig Jones fired an exquisite long ball down the wing for Ryan Lowe whose first touch was to drive the ball across the box but a quick reaction by Archer saw him dive for the ball just as Tom Pope arrived in the area looking to connect with Lowe’s cross.
A 25th minute cross from Chris Hussey presented Lowe with another half chance and, with his back to goal, Lowe managed to flick the ball at goal, but again he found Archer equal to the effort with a dive to push the ball away. Bury came straight back at Millwall in search of the equaliser and the ball fell to Danny Mayor some 20 yards out but his firm drive at goal was straight at the keeper, who held the shot well.
Millwall almost doubled their lead on the half hour. An attempted clearance from Chris Hussey sliced off his boot and went astray but, luckily, it fell to Bury’s Craig Jones however, his quick attempt at a clearance smashed off the backside of Millwall’s Chris Taylor and thankfully went out of play for a goal kick.
The Lions did double their lead four minutes later though. Chris Taylor took the ball and was heading towards the corner and out of the box, but a clever back heeled pass fed the ball to Steve Morison who took one touch and fired the ball across Neal and into the opposite corner of the Shakers goal.
Goal: Bury 0 Millwall 2 (Morison 33)
The Shakers attempted to get back in the game on 38 minutes when they won a series of four corners, each time though the Millwall defence dealt with deliveries from Chris Hussey with the final corner being kept on the pitch and cleared up into the Bury half.
With half time approaching, the Shakers needed a goal to get back in the game and, when it did come; it was worth the wait and not only for the personal accomplishment for Ryan Lowe. Craig Jones held the ball well whilst John O’Sullivan made the over-lapping run don the flank. When the ball was delivered to O’Sullivan, his stunning cross dropped at the feet of Ryan Lowe who gleefully struck it with power onto the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net from around 12 yards out. Not only was it a goal for the Shakers and a foothold back in the game but, for Lowe, it was his 200th career League goal and it was fitting that he should score his landmark goal in front of his adoring fans at Gigg Lane.
Goal and Half-time: Bury 1 – 2 Millwall (Lowe 45+1)
A sluggish start to the second half saw the ball being contested in the middle of the park with the visitors managing to hold off the Shakers and retain their slender lead. It took the Shakers a good seven minutes to produce their first telling raid on the Lions box and it came from a Ryan Lowe cross, his looping ball to the back post was just a little too high for Tom Pope. Lowe then made a challenge for a loose ball in the box but referee Martin deemed the challenge unfair and awarded a free kick to the visitors.
Millwall made another raid down the Shakers flank on 56 minutes with Pugh smashing the cross into the box out for a corner. When the set piece was delivered it fell nicely to Aiden O’Brien but his close range effort looped over the bar and into the visiting crowd.
A 64th minute free kick from Chris Hussey, from almost the exact spot where he scored against Blackpool earlier in the season, saw the Shakers left back looking for a similar result, but a firm header from Mark Beevers saw the ball out for a Bury corner. The corner, when it came in from Hussey, was too high though and despite Pope managing to connect with his head, the big striker saw it glance behind for a throw to the visitors.
Substitute Sean Clare then stung Jordan Archer’s palms on 78 minutes with a ferocious drive from outside the box, with the ball travelling at pace and on target, but Archer did well to palm the ball away from danger and allowed his defence to clear the danger.
The visitors stretched their lead again on 82 minutes. A Bury attack was quickly broken down by the visitors. The ball was knocked forward to Morison and whilst the Shakers defence claimed an offside decision, Morison strode on. He took the ball to the touchline before cutting it back across the six-yard box to Taylor who drove it home from eight yards to secure the points for the visitors.
Goal: Bury 1 Millwall 3 (Taylor 82)
The final attempt of note came deep into injury time when Chris Hussey lofted a telling ball into the Millwall box but Archer produced an acrobatic display to punch the ball out of play for a Bury throw. Jones took the throw and received the ball back from Pugh before playing the ball back into the box for Archer to claim again and, as the keeper cleared the ball up the field, referee Martin brought the game to a close.
Final Score: Bury 1 Millwall 3