A 10-man Shakers side stayed resilient to book their place in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round for the first time in 8 years.
Both teams started the game with a desire to get a result in 90 minutes, however it wasn’t meant to be. Both sides then showed a real dogged fight to take the game through 120 minutes and into penalties.
This was even more impressive on the Shakers’ part due to the fact club captain and key defensive player Nathan Cameron was sent off on the 41stminute after receiving two yellow cards, meaning the away side played 90 minutes of the match with only 10 men.
On-loan goalkeeper Ian Lawlor became a fan favourite during the match with a fantastic performance throughout the match making some key saves, and this was added to with the Man City youngster saving two Bradford City penalties in the shootout to get the side the victory with a 2-4 win on penalties.
David Flitcroft made a number of changes to the starting eleven that lined up against Walsall at the weekend, with Danny Pugh and Tom Pope coming into the fold for Joe Riley and Jacob Mellis, who were both given a place on the bench.
Through the absence of right-back Joe Riley, who was rested for the match, Tom Soares took his place in the full back position with central midfielder Andrew Tutte moving out wide on the right. Flitcroft also made the decision to go back to two up-front – a formation which was fruitful for the Shakers at the start of the season.
The game started in a lively fashion with both teams looking to push forward and cause damage, which made for a very entertaining opening 20minutes. The Bantams however, had the better of the chances during this period.
The first chance came their way through a corner which was headed across goal from the near post by Luke James into the path of Christopher Routis who scrambled to get a shot off which looked like it could sneak in, however Bury ‘keeper Ian Lawlor was there to sweep it up.
Minutes later Bradford again had a golden chance to get the opener with Mark Marshall and Luke James rampaging down the left, the former passed it into the box for the on-running Devante Cole, but the son of Man United legend Andy Cole was unable to get enough on it to cause any damage and it bumbled out for a goal-kick.
The game became a battle going into the last 15 minutes of the half, with both sides looking to dominate the other side. This meant for plenty of free-kicks for either side, it also resulted in a yellow card for Nathan Cameron after he brought down Luke James on the right side of the pitch.
This came back to haunt the Bury captain minutes later when he was deemed to handle the ball in the centre of the park and was sent for an early bath with his second yellow of the game.
David Flitcroft was soon forced to make his first change of the match on the 42ndminute with Peter Clarke coming on for Tom Pope to fill void that Cameron’s dismissal made in the centre of defence.
The two sides soon went in for half time on an equal footing, with a Fourth Round place in the FA Cup still up for grabs for both sides.
The second half started as the first finished, with both teams looking lively, however with very few chances being made for either side, the best coming on the 56thminute when Luke James was given a great chances to put the Bantams ahead when Devante Cole played the winger into a good position in the box, but before he could take a shot Peter Clarke showed desire to dispossess him after being initially beaten.
The game soon became stuck in the middle with both sides putting more emphasis on defending, especially the Shakers due to being a man down, this made the game feel like a game of chess.
It however sprung to life with 20 minutes left on the clock, with neither side wanting the game to go to extra time.
The Bantams had a superb chance on the 72ndminute when Josh Morris slammed a corner against the post, the rebound forced panic, but the Shakers defence showed grit and determination to get it away.
Although on the back foot, defending brilliantly, Danny Mayor had a good chance for the Shakers after Leon Clarke found the playmaker in good position, he cut inside, but his shot was deflected wide.
The Shakers put on a masterclass in defending during the closing period of the game, forcing both teams to play at least another 30 minutes in pursuit of a tie against Championship side Hull City at home.
The defensive masterclass continued in extra-time with the Bantams taking full advantage of their extra man, throwing everything at the Shakers, but with the visitors defending admirably denying chance after chance after chance from Bradford.
Danny Pugh held his head in his hands on the 109thminute when he volleyed an inch perfect Chris Hussey cross straight onto the post after beating Bantams keeper Ben Williams.
The Bantams had possibly the best chance of extra time when they had two massive chances in the space of a second from a corner, the first saw James Meredith take a shot which was superbly parried by Ian Lawlor, the ball fell for Billy Clarke whose shot was brilliantly blocked by Peter Clarke to the despair of the home fans.
The game carried on bringing chance after chance for both sides making for a nervy affair for every fan in stadium before referee Geoff Eltringham blew his whistle sending the game to penalties.
The toss was soon done, and to the advantage of Bury, the penalties were to be taken in front of an empty TL Dallas Stand.
Tony McMahon was first up for Bradford City, smashing the ball past Ian Lawlor to make it 1-0, Andrew Tutte then stepped up to put the Shakers back on an equal footing 1-1, Ian Lawlor then gave Bury an advantage guessing the direction of Steven Davies’ shot correctly to keep the score at 1-1.
Bury legend Ryan Lowe then stepped up riding on the wave of Bradford’s miss to put Bury ahead 2-1, Lee Evans however had the determination to keep the Bantams in the game sending Lawlor the wrong way, Bury’s top scorer Leon Clarke was next-up and coolly made it 2-3.
Ian Lawlor then put Bury one penalty away from a Fourth Round tie against Hull city after again guessing the correct direction of ex-Man City teammate Devante Coles penalty.
Up stepped Jacob Mellis, with the pressure on his shoulders not showing, calmly placing the ball into the back of the net to cause celebration from all involved with the Shakers.
Bury will now face Hull City at Gigg Lane in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 30thJanuary, 3pm kick-off.