Bury 0 Bradford City 2
A baking hot day at Gigg Lane, a large and noisey crowd and the end of the season is now just four games away – sadly, that’s where the positives end for the Shakers after results elsewhere and a 2-0 defeat against Bradford City, saw Bury dragged right back into relegation problems with just a one point gap between them and a relegation spot and the three teams on 46 points.
There was a buoyant atmosphere around the stadium around 2pm when news broke that Craig Jones had returned to the starting eleven following four months out injured but, sadly for Craig, his return was to last just 29 minutes as a new, fresh, injury saw him replaced by Taylor Moore.
It was the visitors with the first half chance, playing one touch football from the back and zipping the ball around the pitch. Eventually a ball, towards the edge of the box, saw Meredith charge for the ball, with Bury ‘keeper Joe Murphy coming in the opposite direction. Murphy won the race for the ball but, in doing so, also collected a knock to the elbow. His injury brought treatment from the Shakers medical team and a warm round of applause from the visiting supporters as Ben Williams emerged from the bench for a quick warm up session in case he was needed to replace Murphy.
Moments after restarting the game, a Bradford corner was clipped into the Bury box. James Vaughan won the header for Bury and quickly released another former Bradford City player in Greg Leigh. Leigh charged hard up the field before playing a quick ball to Mellis, via George Miller and, as Mellis delivered the ball into the box though, he put far too much weight behind the cross allowing ‘keeper Colin Doyle to collect the ball unchallenged in his six yard area.
Doyle bowled the ball out to his defence and the visitors, again, came forward with the ball quickly using the same one touch football that had previously carved the Bury side apart. Mark Marshall, who was causing problems for the Shakers down either flank, sent a cross into the box which found the head of Jones, but his looping header flew high over the Shakers crossbar from close range.
Joe Murphy was called into action again on 22 minutes when a misplaced pass from Craig Jones saw Bradford, again, surge forward with their one-touch football. A ball whipped into the box from Meredith found Charlie Wyke, his quick turn and shot on target forced a diving save from the Shakers ‘keeper, who managed to palm the ball around the post for a corner.
The best chance of the game, for the Shakers, fell to James Vaughan when a good challenge from Scott Burgess deep in the Bury half saw the ball moved quickly to young Callum Styles. His quick turn and charge forward caught the Bantams defence napping, he quickly delivered the ball to the feet of Vaughan on the edge of the box whose first time shot brought a fine save from Doyle, however the officials awarded a goal kick when the correct decision was a corner. Vaughan eventually received a yellow card for his protest at the incorrect decision.
Vaughan’s shot seemed to inject some belief into the Shakers, as moments later, and following a determined run from Greg Leigh in the corner, where he held off several challenges, he managed to find Jacob Mellis outside the area. Mellis fired at goal from an acute angle and although Doyle was forced to dive to cover his goal, the ball flashed inches wide of the post and out of play.
Another surging movement forward from Bury collapsed on the edge of the Bradford box when a strong challenge on Mellis saw the ball moved up the park by the visitors. Mark Marshall, on the edge of the Shakers box, took one touch before driving the ball at goal, though, thankfully, straight at Joe Murphy who managed to beat the ball away from goal.
Half time: Bury 0 Bradford City 0
Bradford came out for the second half the stronger of the two sides and it took them just 11 minutes to take the lead. Another move down the field, again using one touch football, saw the ball fed to Marshall on the right hand side of the pitch, as the Bantams attacked a packed Cemetery End. He managed to bring the ball into the middle on the edge of the box before shooting at goal and, with Joe Murphy unsighted by his own defence, the ball flew unchallenged into the bottom corner of the Shakers goal.
GOAL: Bury 0 Bradford City 1 (Marshall 56)
Callum Styles forced a save from Doyle, just after the hour, with a long range drive from outside the area, Doyle though, was equal to the shot and managed to palm the ball away from goal before Nicky Law drove the ball downfield.
As the Shakers chased a vital equaliser, Bradford doubled their lead with four minutes of the game remaining when a ball across the Shakers box was simply tapped home from close range by Charlie Wyke to seal the points and drag the Shakers further into trouble, a point above the drop zone, with just four games remaining.
GOAL and Final score: Bury 0 Bradford City 2 (Wyke 86)
BURY: Murphy, C Burgess, Kay, Jones (Moore 29 (Lowe 71)), Leigh, Barnett, Mellis (S Burgess 81), Caddis, Styles, Miller, Vaughan
Subs not used: B Williams, J Pennant, T Pope, K Bryan
BRADFORD CITY: Doyle, Meredith, Knight-Percival, McMahon, McArdle, Cullen, Clarke (Law, 62), Marshall (Dieng 75), Vincelot, Jones (Hiwula-Mayifuila 70), Wyke
Subs not used: K Toner, R Sattelmaier, S Darby, D Devine
GATE: 5,268 (2,537)