Shakers pegged back at the death in their final pre-season game
Maurice Dickson reporting from Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
The Shakers travelled over to the Fylde coast for their final pre-season game against Blackpool who are now under the stewardship of ex-Blackburn Rovers boss, Gary Bowyer who took over the Tangerines hot-seat on June 1st.
Bury, sporting their new all black with yellow trim away kit which was so new they still didn’t have numbers on the backs of their shirts, were put under pressure as their hosts started brightly and had the Shakers pinned back in their own half for the opening few minutes.
It took the Shakers nine minutes to threaten the Blackpool goal when Kelvin Etuhu hit a superb ball a full sixty yards into the path of Hallam Hope but the former Everton man was crowded out by three defenders as he tried to get his shot off from the left hand side of the box.
At the other end the Bury defence was coping with everything that the Blackpool attack had to offer and when they did push through they found a defence ably marshalled by, a very vocal, Antony Kay who was making his first start in a Shakers shirt.
On 12 minutes Blackpool, despite their possession, got a shot on target when Mark Yeates got away from his marker and drilled in a shot from the edge of the box but Ben Williams was able to get right behind it to make the save.
Blackpool continued to push forward and won a corner but Craig Jones rose above everyone to head clear and as the Shakers broke forward they were awarded a free kick for a foul on Nicky Clark but, sadly, the free kick came to nothing.
The Seasiders threatened again when Kelvin Mellor fired over from the edge of the area after good work down the left by Bright Osayi-Samuel.
Shakers new boy Nicky Clark was denied a first goal for the club when his excellent, goal bound, volley was met with a superb block by Will Aimson and shortly after a magnificent ball down the right hand flank by Tom Pope almost found Clark again but the Seasiders ‘keeper, Sam Slocombe, came charging out of his area to clear the ball high into the stand.
Bury were now beginning to push forward and the Shakers saw good efforts from Tom Pope and Jacob Mellis fly narrowly wide and Kelvin Etuhu saw a great shot from the edge of the area well blocked by Aldred.
The last action of the first half saw Etuhu, again, come close to open the scoring when the ball fell to him in space and from 25 yards he crashed a great shot off the base of Slocombe’s left hand post before the defence scrambled the ball cleared and the referee brought the first half to a close.
Half time: Blackpool 0 – 0 Bury FC
Bury FC subs: Ismail and Triallist on. Mellis and Clark off.
Blackpool, as they did at the start of the game, came flying out of the traps as the second half got under way and it took a magnificent block from skipper Nathan Cameron to deny Osayi-Samuel from the edge of the area.
The Shakers finally took the lead when Kelvin Etuhu intercepted a misplaced pass from Tom Aldred and the big fella burst through to the edge of the box and struck a sweet finish across Slocombe and into the far corner. It was an opportunist strike but it was a great finish from the midfielder.
GOAL: Blackpool 0 – 1 Bury FC (Etuhu) 51 minutes.
Bury almost doubled their lead when Craig Jones made another fine run down the Shakers right hand flank and his excellent cross was met by the head of Tom Pope but his effort was blocked by Aldred and the Tangerines defence cleared.
Bury’s midfield triallist – later identified as former Shrewsbury player Jordan Clark – was the next Shaker to try his luck, this time from distance, but his effort was blocked by Aimson and this was closely followed by Hallam Hope, who was causing problems all afternoon for the ‘Pool right back, but his shot flew just over the cross bar.
Shakers boss David Flitcroft made a second double change when Danny Mayor and Niall Maher replaced Kelvin Etuhu and Antony Kay.
Bury FC subs: Kay and Etuhu off. Maher and Mayor on.
Blackpool almost equalized on the hour when a free kick from the left hand side flew across the face of goal but the final touch was off Greg Leigh and the resulting corner was well cleared by Maher.
Blackpool were now enjoying a good spell of possession and Osayi-Samuel tried his luck from twenty yards but, again, Ben Williams was equal to it and the Shakers lead held firm.
Osayi-Samuel almost got through again when he wriggled free of Leigh and charged towards the left hand side of the box but a magnificent tackle from Tom Soares saw the ball rebound off the Blackpool winger and out for a Shakers goal kick.
Blackpool subs: Daniel and Triallist off. Herron and Robertson on.
The Shakers new left back, Greg Leigh, then produced the move of the match when he took control of the ball, deep in his own half, on the left hand side before proceeding to charge through the heart of the Tangerine’s midfield, holding off three challenges, to the edge of their box before firing in a shot at goal which was deflected out for a corner by Aimson.
Blackpool sub: Osayi-Samuel off. Cameron on.
Bury FC subs: Hope and Pope off. Dudley and Burgess on.
Anthony Dudley made an immediate impact on the game following his introduction to the game as he burst through onto a lovely weighted pass down the left hand side from Greg Leigh but the youngster just couldn’t get the ball under control enough to get his shot away and the ball went out for a goal kick.
Blackpool subs: Yeates, Vassell and Mellor off. Wilson, Cullen and Roache on.
Greg Leigh, who was becoming more and more influential down the left hand side, combined well with Scott Burgess and won a corner. Zeli Ismail delivered an excellent set piece into the box but it was just a fraction too high for Cameron who came charging in from deep.
Ismail, who had begun to drift into the middle to support Dudley, was showing some real pace and causing problems for the Seasiders defenders but it was at the other end that the Shakers defence was caught napping somewhat as a great through ball from Roache found Potts who found the net with a crisp finish past Williams.
It was a little harsh on the Shakers who had dominated the second half overall but the match was later described by Shakers manager David Flitcroft as “a good run out” and he declared himself happy with his sides pre-season saying that it was more about “minutes on the field rather than results as everything is being geared towards the opening league fixture next Saturday at home to Charlton Athletic”.
Full time: Blackpool 1 – 1 Bury FC