Bury 0 Rochdale 1
With three tough games to go, safety is still in our own hands but with nervous glances being made at other results throughout the weekend. With most other clubs playing twice before the team take to the field again, most Shakers fans will be anxiously watching their televisions and listening intently to their radio’s hoping that one or two other clubs can do us a few favours over the weekend.
A change in personnel and shape saw skipper Antony Kay dropped to the bench and, with the lack of a recognised right back, following injuries to Craig Jones and Taylor Moore, the Shakers took to the field with Paul Caddis slotting in at right back and Reece Brown return from his own knee injury to centre midfield.
Without a win in four games, the threat of the drop loomed large over the stadium ahead of the game, which created a night of tension for Bury fans.
The game, however, began quite brightly for Bury with the lads passing the ball around the pitch with ease as they attempted to get into visitors Rochdale. One such passing move came on four minutes with around 15 passes completed as the Shakers looked to move the ball in and around the Rochdale box, but a heavy challenge on Caddis, half way inside the Dale half, brought the first free kick of the evening. Reece Brown, back on free kick duties, curled a stunning ball into the box that brought several attempts to get a touch, but it only resulted in the ball sailing straight through the box, untouched, and out for a goal kick.
Another quickly taken free kick, following a foul on Vaughan, was quickly worked out to Caddis on the far side and, after a little close ball control, he managed to whip the ball into the Dale box looking for James Vaughan, the Shakers striker got a touch but his momentum saw him land on his backside inside the area, though he quickly managed to regain his feet and, in one swift motion, turn and hit the ball as he rose only to fire it straight at Conrad Logan in the Rochdale goal.
The Shakers should have taken the lead early in the game when a corner delivered into the box found Tom Pope’s forehead. His effort looked certain to be heading into the back of the net after leaving Logan floundering, but Dale winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, back defending the near-post, managed to head the ball clear off the goal line.
Rochdale’s first raid on the Bury goal came on 11 minutes with Keane playing the ball down the flank for Mendez-Laing, his initial ball into the box saw Henderson head the ball into the chest of Caddis, who quickly cleared, but the ball was quickly fed back out wide to Mendez-Laing, who took a touch to control before firing the ball at goal from an acute angle but his effort brought a stunning close range save from Joe Murphy as he tipped the shot over the bar.
With neither side breaking down each other’s defence, the match defining moment came on the stroke of half time. A run, across the middle of the park, from Keane brought a challenge from Reece Brown. The challenge looked to have been a successful one until referee Darren Bond astonished everyone in the ground by awarding Rochdale a free kick. Dale midfielder Callum Camps took the resulting free kick, from around 35 yards out, and fired the ball past the Bury wall and into the back of the net although Shakers ‘keeper Joe Murphy later apologised to his team mates stating that he should have done better with the shot.
GOAL and Half time: Bury 0 Rochdale 1 (Camps 45)
The late goal not only changed Lee Clark’s team talk, but also raised the tension levels considerably within the ground as the Shakers looked to get back into the game.
As the second half began Greg Leigh was soon called into action. On Saturday, Leigh was closed down as soon as he touched the ball but this game, however, saw more space provided for the Shakers wing back, and he found that space with several raids down the left as he attempted to get the ball into the box. On 49 minutes, he delivered another excellent cross that the visitors headed clear, but only as far as Reece Brown who hit the ball on the half volley, his effort though, perhaps, showed the tension more than anything as it sailed high over the crossbar.
Bury were spending large parts of the second half, on the ball, and inside the Rochdale half, but struggled to get it into that final third and on target and it’s unlikely that Dale ‘keeper Conrad Logan will have an easier second half as raid after raid into the box brought negative results with poor crosses or hastily cleared balls from the visitors.
A Paul Caddis throw-in, on 75 minutes, saw the ball delivered to the feet of Jacob Mellis whose only thought was to get the ball into the box, which he did with a good half volley, sending the ball looping into the area and although Tom Pope did get a connection he saw his effort loop over the bar.
As the game approached the 90 minute mark the frustration and tension clearly rose throughout the stadium, none more so than on the field. James Vaughan charged back to make a rash challenge on Camps but, again, Mr Bond only gave the visitors possession with a free kick in virtually the same position as his earlier goal. This time though his effort struck the Bury wall and deflected out for a Dale corner.
The frustration and tension must now move to several games over the weekend as anyone connected with the club will be looking for other clubs to do the Shakers some favours and although snookers are not needed at this stage, results elsewhere could still have a dramatic effect on the outcome of this season.
Final score: Bury 0 Rochdale 1
Bury: Murphy, Barnett, Bryan (Hope 54), Leigh, Mellis (Walker 84), Caddis, Styles, Burgess, Brown, Vaughan, Pope (Miller 71)
Subs not used: R Lowe, B Williams, J Pennant, A Kay
Rochdale: Logan, Bunney, McNulty, Rafferty (Cannon 77), McGahey, Camps, Keane (Davies 89), Allen (Rathbone 83), Mendez-Laing, Henderson, Andrew
Subs not used: A Morley, B Wilson, P Vincenti, M Kitching
Attendance: 4,850 (1,361)