Goals from George Miller and Zeli Ismail, in a late Shakers fightback, were not enough to prevent a seventh straight defeat
Goals from George Miller and Zeli Ismail, in a late Shakers fightback, were not enough to prevent a seventh straight defeat in what manager David Flitcroft called a horrendous month following the game.
Forced into shuffling the pack again following a re-occurrence to Leon Barnett’s calf injury, the Shakers started the game with Tom Soares at right back and Tom Walker sitting in just behind lone striker James Vaughan.
It was the Shakers though that created the first half chance of the game with a Jacob Mellis curling ball towards the back of the area, James Vaughan rose to loop a header across the area towards Andrew Tutte, but as he attempted to create a little space for himself he found himself stretching to connect with the ball and looped his effort onto the roof of the Cobblers goal.
Neil Danns was the next to test keeper Adam Smith. A short pass from Danny Mayor on the corner of the box fell kindly to Danns, and his long range effort brought an acrobatic diving save to palm the ball away from the goal. Tom Walker raced to the touchline to get the ball back into play but over hit the cross into the area and allowed the home side to build from the back.
Northampton’s first effort came as a result of Bury moving forward with Danns on the far side, his ball into the box was quickly cleared by Smith who found striker Marc Richards charging across the field to receive the ball, he laid it wide to former Shaker David Buchanan. Taking one touch, Buchanan curled the ball towards the back post where Kay managed to get above a Northampton clear to head clear, but only as far as McCourt who hammered the ball at goal on the volley, but wide of the target.
The first goal for the Cobblers came as a result of a free kick following a challenge by Greg Leigh. As Paul Anderson attempted to get past the Shakers full back, Leigh clipped his ankle sending his man sprawling to the ground. Matt Taylor delivered the curling free kick into the six-yard box and as keeper Ben Williams stood waiting for the ball to drop into his hands, striker Mark Richards simply walked in front of him and toe poked the ball into the opposite corner.
Goal: Northampton Town 1 Bury 0 (Richards 36)
Northampton should have doubled their lead moments later when McCourt smashed a long ball from the back and up the field. His clearance saw the tricky Sam Hoskins beat the Shakers off side trap leaving him one on one with keeper Ben Williams. Hoskins chose to shoot rather than take the ball around the Bury keeper and Williams managed to get a foot on the ball allowing the Shakers to clear the ball
Another good chance came the Cobblers way just before the break. Again with some quick balls down the flank, McCourt fed the ball to Maloney, he cut into the Shakers box and fired the ball across the six-yard area. Richards seemed to connect with the ball with a cheeky back heel that saw the ball fly away from Williams and towards the open goal, but with no pace on the ball, Williams managed to dive onto the loose ball as JJ Hooper stole into the six-yard area.
The Cobblers still had time for another effort before half time and it was McCourt and Maloney again causing the problems down into Greg Leigh’s corner. Maloney eventually fed the ball into the box where Hoskins got a shot off, but watched as his effort flew inches wide of the goal.
Half Time: Northampton Town 1 Bury 0
David Flitcroft made two changes at the break with Tutte and Walker both replaced. Zeli Ismail and Hallam Hope were brought on with a hope of introducing pace and more of a threat up front, but it was the home side that produced the first telling effort. Hoskins again causing the problems with a surging run through the middle before he dragged the ball wide of Kay and shooting at goal. Thankfully Williams was more than a match to the effort and stopped the ball with both hands.
More injury problems fell on the Shakers after 54 minutes when Tom Soares limped off with what looked like a calf problem. With the Shakers faithful expecting Kelvin Etuhu to come into the game, the manager sent on young George Miller and he immediately ran to the Sharp end of the Shakers attack, with Neil Danns dropping into the right back slot.
Moments after coming on, Miller was presented with an excellent chance. A sloppy back pass from McCourt saw Miller charge for the ball, but keeper Smith and Anderson were both quickly onto Miller and managed to clear the ball to the far side and away from immediate danger.
From that clearance up the field, the ball fell to Sam Hoskins, who had been a thorn in the Shakers side all afternoon. He again took the ball wide before charging into the box. Niall Maher came across to cover Hoskins and somehow managed to bring the midfielder down. Referee Carl Boyeson immediately pointed to the spot and awarded the penalty. Marc Richards drove the penalty straight down the middle and into the roof of the goal to double their lead.
Goal: Northampton Town 2 Bury 0 (Richards 64 (Pen))
The Cobblers made it three goals nine minutes later when Hallam Hope fouled Hoskins on the edge of the area. The incident took place in the corner and from a very acute angle. Matt Taylor had one thing on his mind when taking the free kick and somehow achieved his aim by firing the ball straight into the net at the near post, leaving Williams floundering as he attempted to stop the effort.
Goal: Northampton Town 3 Bury 0 (Taylor 71)
Bury suddenly found an extra gear and got themselves back into the game. A strong run from Hallam Hope saw the former Everton man foulded, and form the resulting free kick, Mellis delivered the ball to the back post. Zeli Ismail played the ball back out wide to Neil Danns who delivered a curling cross into the box to find the head of George Miller. Miller’s accuracy saw the ball drop into the back of the net to collect his first career goal.
Goal: Northampton Town 3 Bury 1 (G Miller 74)
Bury grabbed themselves a second goal some six minutes later when a Northampton attack was broken down. Mellis played the ball long from the edge of his area and found Hallam Hope around half way inside the Cobblers half. He held the ball up before slotting it into the feel of Ismail. The second half substitute ran along the front of the area looking for a shot on goal, he momentarily checked his run and created that space and shot the ball into the bottom corner to give the Shakers a half chance of getting back into the game and thoughts of another Walsall comeback were on the cards.
Goal: Northampton Town 3 Bury 2 (Ismail 82)
With neither side creating the chances to score more goals, and after some six minutes of injury time played, referee Carl Boyeson brought the game to a close to record the Shakers seventh straight defeat in the month and another six yellow cards in the book for the Shakers.
Final Score: Northampton Town 3 Bury 2