Shakers run of defeats is extended at the Memorial Stadium
Injuries and suspensions brought enforced changes for Chris Brass with 16-year-old youngster Jacob Bedeau making the first start of his professional career at centre half, alongside Tom Soares, again, who was also skipper for the afternoon. With Antony Kay, Niall Maher and Jacob Mellis all suspended, along with the raft of injuries, this was most definitely a makeshift side.
With Greg Leigh, back from suspension, at left back and Craig Jones in at right back, the Shakers set about the Gas with only two recognised defenders in the starting eleven. Young midfielder Scott Burgess retained his placed in the side and would go on to score his first career goal for the Shakers.
Craig Jones showed no sign of the injury problems to his groin, twice in two minutes, with two quick raids down the flanks, both resulting in early corners for the Shakers and both showing speed and aggression on the ball, though both corners brought clearances by the Bristol Rovers defence.
It was the Shakers that took the lead on 25 minutes in a move started and finished by the impressive Scott Burgess. Winning a tackle on the edge of the centre circle, he quickly slipped the ball wide to Danny Mayor on the flank. Mayor took his usual two touches before delivering the ball into the box, only to see a Rovers defender head the ball clear, but straight to Burgess on the edge of the box where the Shakers youngster took one touch to control the ball then he unleashed an unstoppable half volley into the bottom left hand corner of the Bristol Rovers goal.
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 0 Bury 1 (Scott Burgess 25)
The lead though was to last just six minutes. A long ball into the corner saw Colkett chase the ball to the corner flag before whipping it into the six-yard area. The attempted clearances from the Shakers defence was reminiscent of a Keystone Cops adventure with the ball spinning off the knee of Greg Leigh, then Tom Soares’ attempted overhead kick only glanced the ball to the feet of Gaffney, his first shot was blocked by young Jacob Bedeau but Gaffney recovered the quicker of the two to get a toe onto the ball to stab it beyond Ben Williams for the equalising goal.
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 1 Bury 1 (Rory Gaffney 31)
Sadly, for the Shakers, their defensive woes continued as, with the game drifting into first half injury time and both sides seemingly heading into the break all square, a telling cross was delivered into the Bury six yard area, where ‘keeper Ben Williams came to collect the cross, as Tom Soares also moved for the same cross. Williams seemed to have his hands on the ball but, somehow, it squirmed free and under his falling body allowing Matt Taylor the easiest of chances to stab the ball home from six yards.
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 2 Bury 1 (Matt Taylor 45+2)
Half time: Bristol Rovers 2 Bury 1
Neither side made any chances at the break but it would take the home side a further 20 minutes to increase their lead. A free kick on the half way line was taken short by Rovers, with the ball worked across to the opposite flank. A series of short passes eventually fell to Boateng on the edge of the Bury box and his quick pass to Ollie Clarke outside the area saw him take a wild swing at the ball and although his effort lacked power and pace and whether the shot took a slight deflection of Tom Soares could be debated, but the result saw Ben Williams rooted to the spot as the ball flew past him and into the bottom corner of his goal.
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 3 Bury 1 (Ollie Clarke 67)
Bury though were to get back on the score sheet some eight minutes later when George Miller, who had replaced Craig Jones on 72 minutes, got his name on the scoresheet for the third time this season. A Danny Mayor free kick from the corner of the box found Tom Soares on the edge of the six-yard box where he did enough to the ball to kill any momentum and it dropped perfectly for young Miller to lash it home from close range.
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 3 Bury 2 (George Miller 75)
Bristol Rovers extended their lead with eight minutes of the game remaining. A corner delivered into the box found the head of Taylor, his effort was initially, superbly, stopped by Ben Williams though he failed to hold the ball, allowing Peter Hartley to ram the ball home at full stretch from two yards
GOAL: Bristol Rovers 4 Bury 2 (Peter Hartley 82)
It would get much worse for the Shakers before the game finished, although no more goals were scored as the Shakers were, yet again, reduced to ten men with two minutes of the game remaining. Neil Danns clashed with Charlie Colkett on the corner of the Bury box. As Bury prepared to take a throw, Colkett seemed to catch Danns with his elbow as they both tracked the ball. Danns turned to give Colkett a playful slap on the head, though stood rooted to the spot as Colkett fell to the floor. Referee Jones only saw the latter of the two incidents though and it could only bring one outcome, a straight red card for the Shakers midfielder and the clubs seventh such card of the season.
Final Score: Bristol Rovers 4 Bury 2
Bury: Williams, Jones, Leigh, Soares ©, Bedeau, Burgess, Danns, Etuhu, Mayor, Pope, Vaughan.
Subs: Rachubka, Miller, Styles, Cooney, Hope, Walker, Dudley
Bristol Rovers: Puddy, J Clarke, Brown, Lockyer ©, Hartley, O Clarke, Colkett, Boateng, Sinclair, Gaffney, Taylor.
Subs: Roos, Leadbitter, Harrison, Mansell, Easter, Bodin, James
Attendance: 7,843 (166 Bury)