Shakers claim a point and keep a clean sheet at a windswept Fleetwood
Head coach Chris Brass gave the Shakers a surprise Christmas present ahead of this game with the sudden appearance of Rob Lainton’s name on the team sheet at Fleetwood. Lainton, who was released at the end of last season by the Shakers, has returned to the club on a short-term deal and started the game at Highbury Stadium ahead of Ben Williams and Paul Rachubka.
Just as Bury were hoping their injury situation was about to clear up, it emerged that Danny Mayor’s groin problem had relegated him to the bench and Niall Maher, who was down to start the game, had pulled up in the warm up, which brought a hasty reshuffle with sixteen year old Callum Styles moved off the bench to start the game.
With an average age of just 24, the Shakers set about the home side who, themselves, were looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine games, whilst Bury were looking to stop the rot after a dismal run, without a win, since September, having lost the vast majority of those games.
The first chance of the game fell to the home side within minutes of the game starting, a ball back to Tom Soares was under hit and Fleetwood snatched on the ball quickly, eventually feeding it to David Ball. He took the ball along the edge of the box before shooting weakly at goal, giving Lainton the easiest of tasks to drop to collect the ball.
With the Shakers fielding four players aged 19 or under, it was one of those youngsters that carved out the first chance for the Shakers. George Miller collected the ball wide from a Soares through ball and led former Shakers defender Cian Bolger on a merry dance to the corner, before delivering the ball into the box for Hallam Hope. A challenge from long term skipper Nathan Pond though saw the ball pushed away for an early Bury corner.
Another chance came Bury’s way moments later when young Callum Styles was hacked down half way inside the Cod Army’s half. The resulting free kick from Burgess brought a headed clearance from Pond, but only as far as Etuhu whose first time shot across ‘keeper Alex Cairns looked to be heading for the bottom corner, until an outstretched leg from McLaughlin saw the ball deflected away and out for another Bury corner.
In a game of few chances for either side, the next chance came the Shakers way when a long, measured, clearance from Tom Soares released George Miller. The youngster took the ball down and twisted the Fleetwood defenders every which way but loose, but the end shot on goal lacked the pace and direction before McLaughlin was forced to hack the ball out of play following pressure from Hope.
Moments later another measured long distance pass, this time from Greg Leigh, down the opposite flank, released Callum Styles into the box, this time though McLaughlin was quickly across to block Styles effort as he unleashed a hard drive at goal and pushed the ball away for another Bury corner.
Bury had another half chance soon after when an Antony Kay free kick was lofted into the box. The header from Tom Pope was heading towards Miller but with his back to goal and slightly off balance, the youngster could not connect with the ball allowing the home side to smash the ball clear.
A 36th minute Fleetwood Town free kick from the half way line was lofted into the Bury box by Bolger where Pond got his head to the ball and knocked it high into the six-yard box but Rob Lainton, making his second Shakers debut, rose high to collect the ball and landed on top of Jacob Bedeau – who simply walked both man and ball away from the edge of the six-yard box, with the ball clamped firmly in the hands of Lainton.
Half time: Fleetwood Town 0 Bury 0
Hosts Fleetwood made two chances at the break, and it was one of those changes – Ashley Hunter – who would cause plenty of problems in the second period of the game with his constant running and trickery on the ball. Once such chance came within ten minutes of the game recommencing when, after playing a quick one – two with Ball, he snapped a shot across the face of the Bury goal that Lainton left to run out of play at the far post.
Antony Kay was shown a yellow card on 55 minutes for his obstruction on Chris Long, half way inside the Bury half, and the resulting free kick saw Glendon loop the ball into the box for Bedeau to head clear, but only as far as Bobby Grant but his first time shot though flew high over the bar and into the Fleetwood fans behind the goal.
The next chance came to the Shakers with Bury bursting out of their box quickly. A ball down the flank from Greg Leigh fell superbly to George Miller and he raced for goal. Having taken the ball into the box, he fired across Cairns looking to slip the ball into the opposite corner, but Cairns was equal to the effort and got a fingertip to the ball pushing it clear of the target before Nirennold hacked the ball away from danger.
Moments later a long-range effort from Scott Burgess failed to test Alex Cairns, with the Shakers youngster smashing the ball, from distance, high over the bar. From the resulting goal kick, Cairns fed the ball up the field to Ball. His quick cross into the Bury box fell to Cian Bolger, who struck his foot through the ball with some venom from close range, only for Lainton to be more than equal to the effort and produced a smart save to keep the Shakers in the game.
Town’s final sub, Devante Cole, was the next to test Lainton after taking the ball down the flank, he played a very quick one-two with Ball on the edge of the six-yard goal and fired a very sharp effort at goal from an acute angle, but again, the chance failed to get past the Shakers ‘keeper as Lainton held the ball on the line.
Bury could have won the game in the dying seconds when a long ball from the back fell to George Miller on the edge of the box. With Cairns racing off his line, Miller got the first touch but could not get enough purchase on the ball to lift the ball over Cairns who got a hand to the ball and pushed it away from danger.
The final chance of the game came deep in injury time when a George Glendon free kick was curled over the Bury wall and cannoned back into play off the post, before Soares cleared his lines and cleared the ball upfield.
After three minutes of added time, Nigel Miller’s final whistle blew and the home side had failed to score for the first time this season, but extended their unbeaten run to nine games, whilst the Shakers had finally put an end to an awful run of 12 straight league defeats and claimed a point.
Final Score: Fleetwood Town 0 Bury 0
Bury: Lainton, Maher, Hope, Kay, Soares, Styles, Burgess, Leigh, Etuhu, Miller, Pope, Bedeau
Subs not used: Mayor, Dudley, Walker, Williams, Cooney
Fleetwood Town: Cairns, Davis (Nirennold, 45), Pond, Bolger, Grant, Bell, Glendon, McLaughlin, Long (Cole, 69), Ball, Holloway (Hunter, 45)
Subs Not Used: Neal, Jakubiak, Jonsson, Sowerby
Gate: 4,017 (785 - Bury)