The Shakers gave everything in the second half against Walsall after going in at half-time 3-0 down to pull it back to 3-2, but it unfortunately wasn't their day.
“A game of two halves” could be one way to describe the game as the Shakers were left disappointed but encouraged by a courageous second half performance at Gigg Lane as Bury lost 2-3 to a high flying Walsall side.
The first half belonged to the visitors as they raced into a 3-0 lead in the first 45 minutes. An own goal from Chris Hussey and goals by Tom Bradshaw and Anthony Forde were the scorers when the shakers didn’t really get going.
The second half saw a reinvigorated Shakers side come out of the blocks and two goals in as many minutes from striker Leon Clarke put Bury right back into the contest.
Bury could’ve snatched at least a point in the last 10 minutes as the man of the second half Leon Clarke had a shot which bounced back off the post and fell to Danny Mayor who fired high over the bar.
Bury continued to press and create chances towards the end of the half but it was too little too late for the Shakers who fell to a 3-2 defeat.
David Flitcroft gave loan signing from Manchester City Ian Lawlor his first league start for Bury with Rob Lainton and Jack Ruddy out injured also Reece Brown kept his place at center back alongside Nathan Cameron with Peter Clarke back on the bench. Jacob Mellis also gained a place in the starting 11.
The first half started slowly with the two teams battling for possession of the ball in midfield with only a few half chances crated between the two teams.
The first chance of the half fell to Bury after Tom Soares played a fantastic ball through to Leon Clarke who went onto goal but was only to be flagged offside in the 8th minute.
Sixteen minutes in the deadlock was broken as Walsall exploited the left flank by playing the ball to left back Andrew Taylor who fizzed in a fantastic cross which flew across the box with striker Tom Bradshaw waiting to touch it in but instead the ball was touched in by Bury’s Chris Hussey who gave Walsall the lead with an own goal.
Just a minute later Bury looked to equalise with Reece Brown wriggling through the Saddlers defence but his shot was easily saved and straight at Saddlers keeper Neil Etheridge.
Walsall again threatened with a fantastic switch from Andrew Taylor to Jason Demetriou who played in striker Romaine Sawyers who’s shot was fired high and wide over Ian Lawlors goal.
Bury then had their best chance of the game so far as a great turn by Soares followed by an equally good pass to Danny Mayor gave the winger the chance to score but his shot curled away from goal and into the travelling Saddlers fans.
Just before the half hour mark Walsall doubled their lead with Anthony Forde bombing forward from the center of midfield and keeping his calm to play a nice ball to striker Tom Bradshaw who fired the ball into the back of the net for 2-0.
Three minutes after a free kick to Bury was whipped in from Chris Hussey towards the penalty spot where skipper Nathan Cameron challenged for the ball only for Etheridge to punch it out towards kelvin Etuhu who’ shot but was fired way over the bar.
Walsall continued to look like a threat down both flanks with Romaine Sawyers and Demetriou who’s one – two football created a chance for Sawyers who ran through on goal only for Chris Hussey to make an inch perfect tackle to keep the score at 2-0 and win a goal kick.
3 minutes before half time Walsall found themselves 3-0 up with a fantastic individual effort from their number 12 Anthony Forde. He picked up the ball on the right wing ran in on goal turned defender Reece Brown bombed into the box and curled a shot right past Ian Lawlor into the far side of the goal leaving Lawlor with no chance.
At the end of the half Bury did threaten winning two corners from attempted crosses but they came to nothing and the half time whistle went with the score Bury 0 Walsall 3.
Before the second half started David Flitcroft changed the formation by bringing on striker Danny Rose for midfielder Jacob Mellis giving the Shakers two strikers to try and change their fortunes around.
The first chance of the second half came on the hour mark for the Saddlers, some neat footwork from Sawyers opened up the pass to the lively Anthony Forde but he drilled his shot wide.
64 minutes on the clock and Bury were back into the game brilliant play from Kelvin Etuhu who played the ball to the right to debutant John O’Sullivan who drilled the ball into the box where predatory striker Leon Clarke followed in to tap the ball into the goal.
An incredible couple of minutes at Gigg Lane saw the Shakers thrown right back into the mix and again Clarke was the scorer. Danny Mayor this time used his quick feet to get a shot on goal which was hard and low and could only be parried by keeper Neil Etheridge but Leon Clarke again ran in and fired the ball home from a tight angle to make it 3-2.
83 minutes on the clock was when the next real chance came around and it fell to Bury again who had dominated the second half. Leon Clarke was fed the ball and great feet from the number 9 opened up the opportunity to take a shot on, he stabbed it toward goal but the ball bounced right back off the post to Danny Mayor who’s follow up shot was hit over the bar.
For the rest of the game Bury kept on pressing and pushing more and more players forward but the attacks were continually cleared away by a resilient Walsall defence and on a very snowy day at Gigg Lane the referee blew the final whistle and the game finished 2-3 with the Saddlers taking all three points.
Written by The Football College at Gigg Lane student Andrew Gate.