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Match Reports

Report: Shakers make the perfect start

Jermaine Beckford's first half goal was enough to secure all three points on the opening day of the season

5 August 2017

Bury began the season with an opening-day victory after overcoming Walsall despite having two penalties saved.

Jermaine Beckford’s early spot-kick was saved by Mark Gillespie, but the forward made amends by heading the Shakers in front on the edge of half-time.
 
Gillespie then pushed away Chris Maguire’s second-half penalty, but the Shakers held on to take all three points.
 
The new-look Shakers side featured eight debutants following a busy summer of transfer activity at Gigg Lane.
 
Lee Clark’s side were presented with the perfect opportunity to make a dream start to the new League One campaign when Stephen Dawson was tripped inside the penalty area after just three minutes.
 
Beckford, a summer signing from Preston North End, stepped up to take the penalty, but his effort was tipped around the post by Gillespie.
 
The Shakers’ wastefulness was almost punished on 16 minutes when Simeon Jackson’s shot deflected off Stephen Dawson and skimmed just wide of Joe Murphy’s right-hand post following a neat passing move from the visitors.
 
After an electric start, a feeling of restlessness was palpable among the home support as Bury struggled to impose themselves on the game.
 
With a drab first half drawing to a close, the Shakers were awarded a free-kick on the right-hand side.
 
Maguire’s whipped cross was flicked on by a Walsall defender and Beckford made amends for his penalty miss by heading home from close range to send the Shakers into the break in front.
 
The Shakers returned for the second period looking to push on and add a second goal. They came close on 53 minutes when Maguire’s free-kick forced a save from Gillespie at his near post.
 
After creating the first goal, the Scottish forward appeared intent on getting his own name on the scoresheet, and came close again on 62 minutes when his rasping 25-yard drive was beaten away by Gillespie.
 
Maguire scored two free-kicks at Gigg Lane while playing for Oxford United last season, and gave the Shakers faithful a further glimpse of his set-piece ability on 69 minutes when his 30-yard free-kick drifted just wide of the left-hand post.
 
The home side had the opportunity to extend their lead when they were awarded yet another penalty after Jon Guthrie brought down Zeli Ismail.
 
After Beckford’s previous miss, it was Maguire’s turn to step up this time, however, the end result was the same, with Gillespie saving well down to his right.
 
Maz Kouhyar then spurned a fantastic opportunity to equalise for the visitors on 84 minutes, after Erhun Oztumer’s picked him out with a lobbed pass, but his tame volley was pushed behind by Murphy at his near post.
 
With the visitors pressing for a late equaliser, Ryan Lowe broke free and played Ismail through on goal, but the winger’s low shot was saved comfortably by Gillespie as the Shakers held on to wrap up an important three points in the August sunshine.
 
The Shakers will be in action again on Thursday night when they host Sunderland in the Carabao Cup.
 
Attendance: 4,240 (681 visitors)
 
Bury starting line-up: Murphy, Jones, Leigh, Thompson, Aldred, Dawson, Reilly, O’Shea (Ismail 54), Maguire (Lowe 88), Ajose (Dai 60), Beckford
 
Unused subs: Edward-Williams, Whitmore, Tutte, Humphrey
 
Walsall starting line-up: Gillespie, Kinsella, Wilson, Guthrie, Leahy, Chambers, Cuvelier (Kouhyar 74), Edwards, Morris, Oztumer, Jackson (Bakayoko 74)
 
Unused subs: L Roberts, K Roberts, Cockerill-Mollett, Flanagan, Candlin
 
Referee: Mark Heywood
 

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